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"I want every girl to know that her voice can change the world": An interview with Girls Empowerment Network

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"I want every girl to know that her voice can change the world": An interview with Girls Empowerment Network

We spoke with Ami Kane, Deputy Director at the Girls Empowerment Network, to discuss how the Spark Change Project is empowering girls to become advocates for the issues that matter the most to them and strengthening critical supports for their students with help from the New York Life Foundation’s Aim High grant program. Aim High grants are awarded to afterschool, summer, or expanded learning programs that help economically disadvantaged middle school students successfully transition to high school. Research has shown that for disadvantaged students, more learning time in the form of high-quality afterschool, expanded-day, and summer programs leads to greater achievement, better school attendance, and more engaged students. The Girls Empowerment Network was one of the 36 grantees of the 2021 Aim High awards program.

What is the Spark Change Project?

Our project is the Spark Change Project, and it is delivered in a strategic collaboration with the Excellence and Advancement Foundation. The Spark Change Project's mission is to center girls of color as leaders in advocacy, who discover their activist voices, and galvanize their peers to engage in their own passions for positive social change.

For the team of paid Peer Facilitators who help design and run the program, this opportunity helps them see themselves in this field in the future and gather those personal references and experiences that we hope will enrich their professional paths for years to come. When younger girls come into the program, they see someone that looks just like them that is in charge and leading the programming. They don’t have to wait until they are much older or have special training. Their ideas and views are valid and worthy of being heard exactly as they are.

What difference has the Aim High grant made in your program?

The grant was able to go towards our Peer Facilitators, the teen girls of color who become the heart and the soul of the Spark Change Project. The idea behind this program is that we want to give girls of color the opportunity to have a platform and receive training to analyze their community needs and advocate to decision makers in all different spaces. The adult staff become the trainers and the support for introducing these Peer Facilitators into the realm of policy and advocacy, but it is those peer facilitators that actually take the microphone to share out their ideas. The Aim High grant helped us pay these girls for their time in this professional role. The grant went towards our second cohort of teen girls who stepped into those roles and were able to work 5-10 hours a week. We match them to female mentors of color and help them build confidence for them to then turn towards their peers and become that key mentor for others.

For us to be able to pay these teen girls for their ideas and for their leadership helps create that strong commitment on their part and makes it feasible for them to participate in this program. Otherwise, many of these girls would need to have a part-time job—for them to be working in the non-profit space, aligned directly with their passions, is a game-changer.

What are your takeaways from serving these youth with help from the Aim High grant?

Girls are ready to lead. We do an activity called Power Chats, which are designed to put girls into small groups and make it much less intimidating to talk to elected officials, policymakers, and local leaders. Often, one of the Peer Facilitators will sit with a group of younger girls and make sure everyone is comfortable having those conversations. What blew us away was that we saw so many of the younger girls jumping in and participating. They showed us that girls are very interested in being listened to when that space is created for them.

How can youth serving organizations better amplify youth voice?

We have multiple ongoing ways that youth can get involved in the organization, whether informal or formal. We established a Youth Ambassador Council where we create a formal space for youth to help us be the best and most accessible program we can be. This gives them the chance to apply their leadership skills and make a real impact in their organization. When we have big questions about the organization, plans for the future, or strategic planning, we ask our students directly. Our Program Department asks the girls directly about what is most important to them and what matters to them when they are in the program. This may seem very simple, but it is very important for us to not lose that connection to our youth.

What challenges are you seeing amongst your students right now?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), adolescent girls are in a particular mental health crisis right now. We realize this from the data, but also from being in direct service to these adolescent youth every day. Girls who spent their middle school transition years in the virtual space are returning to in-person learning and all of the challenges they face are amplified. For example, I have had parents and staff share that some girls were experiencing bullying amongst their peers when they returned to in-person learning because they had only been seen from the shoulders up for a year. Their bodies had changed, their bodies had done a very natural thing during that time—but these types of negative comments hit adolescent girls in an extremely difficult way. There hasn’t been a generation before that has experienced this kind of situation.

Between the sadness, the disconnect, and the big feelings, there have been a lot more requests for the services we provide. There has never been a time where we’ve felt that supports for adolescent girls are so strongly needed.

How are you meeting these needs?

Girls are constantly trying to understand and balance the messages they hear from the news, their schools, their parents, and their peers. I am very proud that my colleagues in the Program Department are able to create spaces where girls are allowed to freely process these things and that this is something that we’re able to offer. One of our areas of expertise is around coping skills, whether it’s a breathing exercise or mindfulness and meditation.

Stress management does feel like our biggest need. Our current curriculum is a 20-module curriculum and some of the modules are entirely around self-care and stress management. But I know that isn’t going to be enough, so we were thinking about how we can offer a new spin on a coping skill or self-care activity. No matter what we learn that week, our girls would still get those tools in their toolkit.

What are the most important things youth serving organizations can do right now for youth?

The isolation and disconnect that is occurring right now is disproportionately impacting girls, but it is also impacting all students. It has never been more important to allow every youth the space to talk about their feelings. So many out-of-school time partners, including the Girls Empowerment Network, focus on those skills. The more we tend to every student’s social emotional health, the stronger long-term outcomes they are going to have. All of us in youth services have a big charge in front of us to meet that need.

What are you looking forward to in your program?

For the Spark Change project, we are very excited to launch our 2023 legislative year. In Texas, the legislature meets every other year, so only in those years do our girls work on their state level policy work and see what policies are coming through that are relevant to them. In 2021, one of our girls was able to testify to the education subcommittee in favor of expanding mental health supports, increasing funding for mental health professionals in schools, and training teachers to identify mental health challenges in youth.

When I think about getting our third cohort of peer facilitators and preparing them to speak about what matters to them, we get so excited to imagine what that will look like. The girls get to share out what matters to them, from access to menstrual products to supports for youth experiencing homelessness.

Do you have any final thoughts?

We are excited to see our services grow. For example, in our school-based program, Girl Connect, we are going to be reaching 2,000 girls in weekly, out-of-school time programming statewide this year, compared to 1,000 to 1,500 girls served on average in previous years. We are also hiring new team members to help deliver this programming. I can’t wait to see how this school year unfolds. It is very important timing where we are able to be responsive in a much larger bandwidth at the same time that it feels like the needs are so much larger.

Learn more about the Girls Empowerment Network and the Spark Change Project here. Learn more about Aim High and find updates on the next Aim High grant competition here.

"I want every girl to know that her voice can change the world": An interview with Girls Empowerment Network

We spoke with Ami Kane, Deputy Director at the Girls Empowerment Network, to discuss how the Spark Change Project is empowering girls to become advocates for the issues that matter the most to them and strengthening critical supports for their students with help from the New York Life...

BY: Maria Rizo      10/24/22

Resources to help you Engage Every Student from wherever you sit

New parent data shows that for every child in an afterschool program, there are now four more who are waiting for an available program. It is more important than ever to amplify ways for programs, communities, districts, and states to connect every student to an afterschool program that wants...

BY: Maria Rizo      09/08/22

Guest blog: Foundations, Inc.'s REACH model accelerates learning recovery in afterschool

By Elizabeth Cieri and Paula Houghton of Foundations, Inc.  Educators across the nation are dealing with academic losses due to the pandemic -- mitigating those losses requires inventive thinking and better practices. “Coming out of the pandemic, we knew all kids suffered learning...

BY: Guest Blogger      08/29/22

Ensuring access to school meals this fall

As we approach the upcoming school year, school nutrition programs are increasingly important in ensuring children are fed during the hours they are in and out of school and addressing food insecurity exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Last week, the Afterschool Alliance participated in the...

BY: Maria Rizo      08/11/22

From afterschool to the White House: A conversation with Life Pieces to Masterpieces alum Cateo Hilton

In February of this year, soon-to-be-high-school-graduate Cateo Hilton of Washington, D.C.’s Life Pieces to Masterpieces afterschool program was asked to speak at the White House at an event marking the end of Black History Month. Life Pieces to Masterpieces’ Andrew Blickle serves as an...

BY: Matt Freeman      07/12/22

Investing ARP in afterschool & summer: Overview of trends, opportunities, challenges

We’ve released a new overview looking at the trends, opportunities, and challenges around investing American Rescue Plan (ARP) dollars in afterschool and summer programs. Use this overview to help educate partners, policymakers, local leaders, and educators on the opportunity to support youth...

BY: Ursula Helminski      06/06/22

New resources to plan for summer learning and make the case for afterschool

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BY: Charlotte Steinecke      04/28/22

MAP: Where are COVID funds supporting afterschool & summer programs?

If you’ve been following our COVID work, you know we’ve been working to track how and where federal COVID relief funding has been tapped to support young people with comprehensive afterschool and summer enrichment programs. Three major funding bills – the Coronavirus Aid, Relief,...

BY: Ursula Helminski      04/19/22

Giving a big #AmeriThanks to AmeriCorps VISTA members!

It’s AmeriCorps Week! Organizations around the country are taking this opportunity to acknowledge the work of national service members that participate in programs such as AmeriCorps, AmeriCorps VISTA, Senior Corps, and National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC). In that spirit, we want to...

BY: Alexis Steines      03/18/22

Understanding “comprehensive afterschool” in the American Rescue Plan

In the American Rescue Plan, funds are allocated specifically for “the implementation of evidence-based interventions aimed specifically at addressing learning loss, such as summer learning or summer enrichment, extended day, comprehensive afterschool programs, or extended school year...

BY: Charlotte Steinecke      01/21/22

Afterschool supports LGBTQ students

By Tran Tonnu, marketing manager at School's Out Washington, and Janell Jordan, King County program manager. This article originally appeared on School's Out Washington's blog on June 17, 2021. It has been republished here with their permission. For LGBTQ folks, June...

BY: Guest Blogger      06/28/22

$1.8M awarded to middle school out-of-school time programs

The New York Life Foundation and the Afterschool Alliance are pleased to announce the 2022 Aim High grant recipients. In its sixth year, the Aim High grant has provided a total of $7.95 million dollars to help fund afterschool, summer and expanded learning programs as they help middle school...

BY: Dan Gilbert      06/14/22

Guest blog: Social and emotional learning in the spotlight

By Jenna Tomasello, associate director at The Hatcher Group. This blog post was originally published on the Wallace Foundation blog on March 11, 2022.  The social isolation students experienced because of the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent school closures has shined a spotlight on unmet...

BY: Guest Blogger      04/21/22

Afterschool field creates resources to help support the mental health of young people

With year 3 of the COVID-19 pandemic now underway, mental health is recognized as one of the largest issues among youth today. The ways in which young people have suffered during the pandemic are heartbreaking - from increased anxiety and social isolation to coping with grief and loss. Fortunately,...

BY: Christopher Echevarria      03/15/22

Celebrating Black History 365 with Howard University Television

By Keisha Nelson, Education and Outreach Manager WHUT- Howard University Television. Black History Month may only last 28 days, but opportunities for learning don’t end in February. There are many ways to celebrate the past and present contributions of Black people to U.S. history,...

BY: Guest Blogger      02/28/22

Slowing down while playing catch-up: The educator Catch-22!

By Carlos Santini, CEO of Mizzen by Mott. If you’re an educator, mentor, coach or administrative staff member working in education, you’re most likely hearing of or reading about priorities such as accelerated learning, learning recovery, and historic investments at the federal level...

BY: Guest Blogger      02/22/22

Tips for afterschool to support trans and gender non-conforming young people

Photo courtesy of The Gender Spectrum Collection. Thanks to a growing number of supports for transgender and nonbinary youth to feel safe within their school settings, afterschool programs have more resources than ever to ensure that every young person who enters their doors between the hours of...

BY: Shaun Gray      02/14/22

Mentorship "show[ed] me my self-worth... the value that I have as a human."

Photo by Josh Sorenson on Unsplash The impact of afterschool and summer programs last well beyond a student’s formative years. The relationships that afterschool youth build with the adults in their programs often lead to academic success and future leadership opportunities. Mentored youth...

BY: Tierra Easter      01/25/22

Why afterschool programs need social and emotional learning now

This article was originally published on The Wallace Foundation blog on January 19, 2022. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, educators around the country are seeing an increasing need to support young people who may be struggling with anxiety, depression, fear, trauma, food insecurity or...

BY: Guest Blogger      01/24/22

Understanding “comprehensive afterschool” in the American Rescue Plan

In the American Rescue Plan, funds are allocated specifically for “the implementation of evidence-based interventions aimed specifically at addressing learning loss, such as summer learning or summer enrichment, extended day, comprehensive afterschool programs, or extended school year...

BY: Charlotte Steinecke      01/21/22

The future of learning

Photo: Courtesy of YMCA of Honolulu at Herton Branch By Ridgway White, president and CEO of the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation. This article originally was published as a Mott Perspectives piece on the Foundation’s website. It has been reposted here with permission. This is a...

BY: Guest Blogger      06/21/22

Philanthropists MacKenzie Scott and Dan Jewett invest in a host of afterschool programs

As part of a larger series of gifts to nonprofit organizations, this spring, philanthropists MacKenzie Scott and Dan Jewett announced the contribution of a combined investment of more than $500 million towards at least 29 afterschool, summer learning, and positive youth development organizations....

BY: Erik Peterson      04/18/22

Afterschool community mourns passing of Rep. Don Young

Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska), who passed away this weekend, was a tireless and powerful champion for children and families in Alaska and across the country, and one of Congress’ most ardent and dedicated supporters of the afterschool and summer learning programs that help children and youth...

BY: Erik Peterson      03/24/22

Giving a big #AmeriThanks to AmeriCorps VISTA members!

It’s AmeriCorps Week! Organizations around the country are taking this opportunity to acknowledge the work of national service members that participate in programs such as AmeriCorps, AmeriCorps VISTA, Senior Corps, and National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC). In that spirit, we want to...

BY: Alexis Steines      03/18/22

Announcing winners of the afterschool staff gratitude campaign

As 2021 came to a close, the Afterschool Alliance launched a gratitude campaign across social media to encourage the field to recognize the amazing work of afterschool professionals. From teaching critical life skills outside of the classroom to “shaping the next generation of leaders,”...

BY: Maria Rizo      02/01/22

Mentorship "show[ed] me my self-worth... the value that I have as a human."

Photo by Josh Sorenson on Unsplash The impact of afterschool and summer programs last well beyond a student’s formative years. The relationships that afterschool youth build with the adults in their programs often lead to academic success and future leadership opportunities. Mentored youth...

BY: Tierra Easter      01/25/22

Understanding “comprehensive afterschool” in the American Rescue Plan

In the American Rescue Plan, funds are allocated specifically for “the implementation of evidence-based interventions aimed specifically at addressing learning loss, such as summer learning or summer enrichment, extended day, comprehensive afterschool programs, or extended school year...

BY: Charlotte Steinecke      01/21/22

Afterschool as a teacher pathway

By Sam Piha, founder and co-director of Temescal Associates and The How Kids Learn Foundation, both organizations dedicated to promoting the learning and healthy development of youth. Our national teacher shortage predated COVID-19, however there is growing evidence that suggests that the...

BY: Guest Blogger      01/20/22

How to make universal afterschool a reality in your state

By Holly Morehouse, Executive Director, Vermont Afterschool. Across the country, afterschool programs have been chronically underfunded for decades, and the unmet demand among families has reached an all-time high. In Vermont, more than 26,000 youth are waiting for an available program. This...

BY: Guest Blogger      01/11/22

👏 Meeting the crisis: Afterschool leaders rise to the challenge

As part of our campaign this holiday season to show our gratitude for afterschool professionals, we are sharing some of the extraordinary efforts undertaken by our Afterschool Ambassadors and their programs to support kids and families throughout the pandemic. We thank them, and the many...

BY: Matt Freeman      12/16/21

Creating a path for career exploration and readiness at L.E.A.D. Afterschool

Welcome back to our series on credit for learning in afterschool programs! Afterschool programs can provide older youth opportunities to find their inspiration and gain skills that will benefit them in and outside of the classroom while allowing them to earn school credits. Credit-for-learning...

BY: Charlotte Steinecke      08/23/22

Celebrating Juneteenth in afterschool programs

Image by William Adams from Pixabay Juneteenth National Independence Day also known as Freedom Day, or Jubilee day honors the emancipation of slaves in the United States. More than 150 years after its first celebration, the Juneteenth holiday provides an opportunity to learn and teach about the...

BY: Tierra Easter      06/17/22

Youth mental health is top of mind for voters

By Olivia Allen, strategy director at Children’s Funding Project. Public opinion polling during the COVID-19 pandemic shows that voters feel intense concern about youth mental health and are willing to prioritize public investment in programs that support young people. In fact, 79...

BY: Guest Blogger      05/26/22

Arts education and training program at Riverzedge Arts helps students earn credit

Welcome to our series on credit for learning in afterschool programs! Afterschool programs can provide older youth opportunities to find their inspiration and gain skills that will benefit them in and outside of the classroom while allowing them to earn school credits. Credit-for-learning programs...

BY: Charlotte Steinecke      05/06/22

You're invited: Help amplify youth voices in afterschool!

Join us next week for Youth Voice Week! We want to hear from, and amplify, the perspectives and experiences of young people.  From Monday, March 28 to Friday, April 1, we will be sharing pieces by youth about their afterschool experiences, and what youth need after school. Afterschool...

BY: Maria Rizo      03/21/22

YouthForce NOLA: Creating a path for career exploration and readiness

Welcome to our new series on credit for learning in afterschool programs! Afterschool programs can provide older youth opportunities to find their inspiration and gain skills that will benefit them in and outside of the classroom while allowing them to earn school credits. Credit-for-learning...

BY: Charlotte Steinecke      02/25/22

Tips for afterschool to support trans and gender non-conforming young people

Photo courtesy of The Gender Spectrum Collection. Thanks to a growing number of supports for transgender and nonbinary youth to feel safe within their school settings, afterschool programs have more resources than ever to ensure that every young person who enters their doors between the hours of...

BY: Shaun Gray      02/14/22

Meet our 2022 Youth Afterschool Ambassadors

We're thrilled to introduce the 2022 class of Youth Afterschool Ambassadors—our largest group ever! Nine students from across the country were chosen on the basis of their essays and video submissions in a competition held in 2021. The Youth Ambassadors promote the value of...

BY: Charlotte Steinecke      01/04/22

Ohio Afterschool Network is unleashing student creativity, and fostering pandemic recovery, through entrepreneurship

At RISE Afterschool, which is expanding entrepreneurial education with help from the Ohio Afterschool Network and YEI, students are cultivating entrepreneurial skills as they create a garden business with raised beds. Photo: CBI Middletown, Inc. By Laurie Posner. Laurie Posner is a...

BY: Guest Blogger      12/14/21

Afterschool programs can help young people access vaccines

With the COVID-19 vaccine recommended by the CDC for everyone aged 5 and older, afterschool programs are positioned to help their communities’ young people access vaccines. The U.S. Secretary of Education, Miguel Cardona, has traveled to various schools, including afterschool programs, to...

BY: Nicole Pettenati      12/06/21

"I want every girl to know that her voice can change the world": An interview with Girls Empowerment Network

We spoke with Ami Kane, Deputy Director at the Girls Empowerment Network, to discuss how the Spark Change Project is empowering girls to become advocates for the issues that matter the most to them and strengthening critical supports for their students with help from the New York Life...

BY: Maria Rizo      10/24/22

Expanding possibilities for students with The Wooden Floor, a New York Life Foundation Aim High grantee

In a follow-up conversation with 2021 New York Life Foundation Aim High grantee The Wooden Floor, we spoke with Chief Executive Officer Dawn S. Reese to discuss more on how the Aim High grant has continued to support the program in the past year and what she is seeing among youth today. Read our...

BY: Maria Rizo      09/29/22

Resources to help you Engage Every Student from wherever you sit

New parent data shows that for every child in an afterschool program, there are now four more who are waiting for an available program. It is more important than ever to amplify ways for programs, communities, districts, and states to connect every student to an afterschool program that wants...

BY: Maria Rizo      09/08/22

Guest blog: Foundations, Inc.'s REACH model accelerates learning recovery in afterschool

By Elizabeth Cieri and Paula Houghton of Foundations, Inc.  Educators across the nation are dealing with academic losses due to the pandemic -- mitigating those losses requires inventive thinking and better practices. “Coming out of the pandemic, we knew all kids suffered learning...

BY: Guest Blogger      08/29/22

Ensuring access to school meals this fall

As we approach the upcoming school year, school nutrition programs are increasingly important in ensuring children are fed during the hours they are in and out of school and addressing food insecurity exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Last week, the Afterschool Alliance participated in the...

BY: Maria Rizo      08/11/22

Guest blog: Council for a Strong America identifies afterschool as key policy to help next generation succeed

By Barry Ford is the President & CEO of Council for a Strong America. Council for a Strong America has long advocated for high-quality afterschool programs as a way to strengthen communities and our country. Our organization is a national, bipartisan nonprofit that unites membership...

BY: Guest Blogger      08/08/22

Guest blog: Advancing equity and inclusion in hiring and staff development in OST

By Angelica Portillo, National AfterSchool Association’s Director of Advocacy and Workforce Initiatives, and Shawna Rosenweig, Camp Fire Chief Strategy Officer and member of the National AfterSchool Association's Board. For the last 20 years, out-of-school time (OST) has...

BY: Guest Blogger      07/28/22

US Dept. of Ed calls for afterschool & summer for all

Today marks an incredible moment for the afterschool and summer program movement. For the first time ever, federal leaders are calling for afterschool for all. Today, U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona launched the Engage Every Student Initiative, a bold new call to action to...

BY: Jodi Grant      07/14/22

The future of learning

Photo: Courtesy of YMCA of Honolulu at Herton Branch By Ridgway White, president and CEO of the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation. This article originally was published as a Mott Perspectives piece on the Foundation’s website. It has been reposted here with permission. This is a...

BY: Guest Blogger      06/21/22

$1.8M awarded to middle school out-of-school time programs

The New York Life Foundation and the Afterschool Alliance are pleased to announce the 2022 Aim High grant recipients. In its sixth year, the Aim High grant has provided a total of $7.95 million dollars to help fund afterschool, summer and expanded learning programs as they help middle school...

BY: Dan Gilbert      06/14/22

Guest blog: A book about everyday superheroes inspired Girlstart campers to pursue world-changing careers in STEM

By Alexa Brown and Hannah Winkler, coordinators at Girlstart. Girlstart aims to increase girls’ interest and engagement in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) — a mission accomplished through free summer camps and after-school programs across Texas,...

BY: Guest Blogger      09/12/22

Afterschool supports LGBTQ students

By Tran Tonnu, marketing manager at School's Out Washington, and Janell Jordan, King County program manager. This article originally appeared on School's Out Washington's blog on June 17, 2021. It has been republished here with their permission. For LGBTQ folks, June...

BY: Guest Blogger      06/28/22

Celebrating Juneteenth in afterschool programs

Image by William Adams from Pixabay Juneteenth National Independence Day also known as Freedom Day, or Jubilee day honors the emancipation of slaves in the United States. More than 150 years after its first celebration, the Juneteenth holiday provides an opportunity to learn and teach about the...

BY: Tierra Easter      06/17/22

$1.8M awarded to middle school out-of-school time programs

The New York Life Foundation and the Afterschool Alliance are pleased to announce the 2022 Aim High grant recipients. In its sixth year, the Aim High grant has provided a total of $7.95 million dollars to help fund afterschool, summer and expanded learning programs as they help middle school...

BY: Dan Gilbert      06/14/22

You're invited: Help amplify youth voices in afterschool!

Join us next week for Youth Voice Week! We want to hear from, and amplify, the perspectives and experiences of young people.  From Monday, March 28 to Friday, April 1, we will be sharing pieces by youth about their afterschool experiences, and what youth need after school. Afterschool...

BY: Maria Rizo      03/21/22

Celebrating Black History 365 with Howard University Television

By Keisha Nelson, Education and Outreach Manager WHUT- Howard University Television. Black History Month may only last 28 days, but opportunities for learning don’t end in February. There are many ways to celebrate the past and present contributions of Black people to U.S. history,...

BY: Guest Blogger      02/28/22

Tips for afterschool to support trans and gender non-conforming young people

Photo courtesy of The Gender Spectrum Collection. Thanks to a growing number of supports for transgender and nonbinary youth to feel safe within their school settings, afterschool programs have more resources than ever to ensure that every young person who enters their doors between the hours of...

BY: Shaun Gray      02/14/22

Anti-discrimination Take Action guides are available for free from Nickelodeon!

Sooner or later, most adults will find themselves needing to discuss big topics with young hearts and minds. While many parents and educators are comfortable acting as role models and guiding young people through certain aspects of their lives, issues like anti-racism and combatting LGBTQ+...

BY: Shaun Gray      01/18/22

Highlights from #AA3PM Rural Tweet chat

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BY: Tierra Easter      01/10/22

Racial equity: Learning for justice

Photo courtesy of Alyssa Sieb and nappy.co. By Dr. Jackie Thomspon. This blog post was originally published on the Utah Afterschool Network's blog on March 11, 2021. Langston Hughes, a great poet from the Harlem Renaissance, is one of my favorite poets. When I think about racial...

BY: Guest Blogger      01/06/22

Supporting young people to engage at the intersection of STEM & society

We are living through some challenging times—societies across the world have been battered by the COVID-19 pandemic, the climate is rapidly changing around us and making our planet less hospitable to human beings, technology is evolving at a dizzying rate with dramatic consequences, and a new...

BY: Anita Krishnamurthi      09/27/22

Guest blog: Advancing equity and inclusion in hiring and staff development in OST

By Angelica Portillo, National AfterSchool Association’s Director of Advocacy and Workforce Initiatives, and Shawna Rosenweig, Camp Fire Chief Strategy Officer and member of the National AfterSchool Association's Board. For the last 20 years, out-of-school time (OST) has...

BY: Guest Blogger      07/28/22

Afterschool supports LGBTQ students

By Tran Tonnu, marketing manager at School's Out Washington, and Janell Jordan, King County program manager. This article originally appeared on School's Out Washington's blog on June 17, 2021. It has been republished here with their permission. For LGBTQ folks, June...

BY: Guest Blogger      06/28/22

Celebrating Juneteenth in afterschool programs

Image by William Adams from Pixabay Juneteenth National Independence Day also known as Freedom Day, or Jubilee day honors the emancipation of slaves in the United States. More than 150 years after its first celebration, the Juneteenth holiday provides an opportunity to learn and teach about the...

BY: Tierra Easter      06/17/22

Meet Kaiya Jones, Afterschool Youth Ambassador

Welcome to Youth Voice Week 2022! All during the week, we'll be amplifying the voices of our Youth Ambassadors, as they share their stories and speak about the impact that afterschool has had on their lives.  Kaiya Jones is a 15-year-old student from Howard County Library System Teen...

BY: Charlotte Steinecke      04/01/22

Meet Zhonghui Zheng and Kyla Anderson, Afterschool Youth Ambassadors

Welcome to Youth Voice Week 2022! All during the week, we'll be amplifying the voices of our Youth Ambassadors, as they share their stories and speak about the impact that afterschool has had on their lives.  Zhonghui Zheng is a 17-year-old student at Global Kids Afterschool Program in...

BY: Christopher Echevarria      03/31/22

Meet Brock Brewer and Juliana Montell, Afterschool Youth Ambassadors

Welcome to Youth Voice Week 2022! All during the week, we'll be amplifying the voices of our Youth Ambassadors, as they share their stories and speak about the impact that afterschool has had on their lives.  Brock Brewer is a 16-year-old student at Youth and Family Link Afterschool...

BY: Leah Silverberg      03/30/22

Tips for afterschool to support trans and gender non-conforming young people

Photo courtesy of The Gender Spectrum Collection. Thanks to a growing number of supports for transgender and nonbinary youth to feel safe within their school settings, afterschool programs have more resources than ever to ensure that every young person who enters their doors between the hours of...

BY: Shaun Gray      02/14/22

Mentorship "show[ed] me my self-worth... the value that I have as a human."

Photo by Josh Sorenson on Unsplash The impact of afterschool and summer programs last well beyond a student’s formative years. The relationships that afterschool youth build with the adults in their programs often lead to academic success and future leadership opportunities. Mentored youth...

BY: Tierra Easter      01/25/22

Afterschool as a teacher pathway

By Sam Piha, founder and co-director of Temescal Associates and The How Kids Learn Foundation, both organizations dedicated to promoting the learning and healthy development of youth. Our national teacher shortage predated COVID-19, however there is growing evidence that suggests that the...

BY: Guest Blogger      01/20/22