Archives:

Select:

Culturally responsive STEM programming: Aim High awardee Geeking Out Kids of Color

READ FULL STORY

Culturally responsive STEM programming: Aim High awardee Geeking Out Kids of Color

This blog is part of a series covering the work of New York Life Foundation Aim High grantees. Awardees receive support for their outstanding out-of-school time programs serving underserved middle school youth. The Aim High grant request for proposals is open now through February 1, 2024 — read the RFP and start your proposal on SurveyMonkey Apply, and join us for our webinar on January 11, 2024. To see more spotlights on Aim High grantees, check out the Afterschool Awards page

In today’s blog, Executive Director Pedro Perez and Program Director Lidia Sanchez discuss how Geeking Out Kids of Color (GOKiC) is empowering Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) youth and redefining what it means to be a STEM leader through culturally responsive curricula and mentorship. In 2022, GOKiC was a recipient of an Aim High grant from the New York Life Foundation. Aim High grants are awarded to afterschool, summer, or expanded learning programs that help middle school students successfully transition to high school. Of the 40 Aim High grants awarded in 2022, 20 focused on supporting social justice and racial equity efforts in out-of-school-time programs.

What is Geeking Out Kids of Color?

GOKiC was founded by Black, Indigenous, and people of color in 2017 in response to a gap in culturally responsive science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) programming for BIPOC youth living in King County in Washington State. GOKiC's mission is to expand the possibilities and opportunities for BIPOC youth by creating STEM curriculum, tech education, and providing mentorship to nurture leaders of change. We are a BIPOC-led and serving organization centered on race and gender.

How did the Aim High grant make a difference in your program?

We serve an area called White Center, an unincorporated part of King County, and there aren't many grants that reach youth here. Being able to keep the uniqueness of what GOKiC does through the Aim High grant has been extremely helpful. When we build a curriculum, we build it uniquely based on the youth that we’re serving. A lot of the youth that we serve are either immigrants from Latin America and East Africa or Black students. When we think about what tech education looks like in comparison to programming in affluent neighborhoods, [tech programs] have state-of-the-art, up-to-date equipment and robots and high-quality educators, so our goal is not only to make sure our students are equal but ahead. We’re always having to update our equipment because we want our youth to be leading and on top of the changes in the field.

What benefits do you see in your students by connecting them to BIPOC STEM professionals and mentors?

STEM has always seemed like an out-of-reach concept to me because I did not have that in my scope as a child. What GOKiC is trying to do is make that within reach for BIPOC children. In Seattle is a hub for STEM careers, yet our youth further south don’t have the same access. The STEM programming and the relationships we build with students aren't because we want every child to go into the STEM field if that's not what they want to do. We want to help them discover their own abilities and there is a GOKiC family to hold their hand if they choose to pursue that. It is incredibly eye-opening for our youth to work with someone who speaks their language and looks like they do. This all boils down to the concept of mentorship–having an adult in the field that is relatable to you and who is in your corner.

How does having BIPOC representation in leadership influence the students' perceptions of their own potential and career aspirations?

When our board President Fernando Sanchez, principal engineer manager at Microsoft, came to speak to the students, he introduced himself, "Hi, my name is Fernando, I work for Microsoft, and I’m from Mexico, and Microsoft went to Mexico to find smart folks to bring over here.” And the students were shocked. He flipped the script, saying that as Mexicanos, we are smart enough to be working at Microsoft. We always think that we have to leave Mexico because it is “less than.” When they look at Fernando, he looks like one of their tios/uncles or primos/cousins, because here you have this dark-skinned Mexicano with a beard who looks just like someone from their family, working for Microsoft. After his presentation, students started saying that they wanted to be software engineers, and it became a reality for them. We’ve seen our high school students go from wanting to be doctors or lawyers to changing directions and pursuing computer science in college and are now working at Microsoft. We’ve seen the transition that happens when we connect students to mentors who look like them.

Having served middle school youth, why is it important for youth to have access to the safe spaces and connections that afterschool provides?

Middle school is a confusing place where students still want to be kids from elementary school but don’t know if they’re supposed to be acting like high schoolers, so we recognize that must give our students a more support and utilize social and emotional learning approach, making sure that the curriculum we build reflects what middle schoolers are looking for and what they want to learn. We also push for that support when they transition from eighth grade to ninth grade by recruiting students in middle school to serve as mentors and establishing that deeper-level connection with them so that they have support outside of their usual network of school-day teachers and counselors that is all BIPOC-led.

How does the organization prioritize and incorporate youth voice in program design?

Listen, empower, advocate, and acknowledge youth. What we do in the classroom should be focused on what the youth want to learn. It’s easy to get wrapped up in your own agendas, but take the time to listen to those youth voices within the afterschool space. We obtain feedback through surveys, and afterwards we add in the social justice aspect to the tech education piece.

What did you take away from serving middle school youth?

Eighth to ninth grade is a big transition for youth, and they need additional support, and it is that much more impactful when it comes from people in your own culture, your own ethnicity, and your own language. They talk in ways that you may understand better. It’s about creating programming that meets them in a space where they can learn big concepts that affect their community, their identity, and their heritage, and intertwining that with fun activities like Roblox. Specifically serving middle school youth, it’s about making programming understandable and fun while also giving them the knowledge and tools that they need to succeed now and in the future.

What do you want students to feel when they leave your program?

“Si se puede,”/Yes we can is the first thing that comes to mind when I'm in the classroom with our students. Some of our concepts are hard–coding a game is hard; building robots is hard. I want students to feel safe, happy, and empowered in our spaces until they feel open to different concepts. If our students are safe, supported, and uplifted, then we are doing our job. But at the end of the day, if they are able to say, “Yes, I can do this,” that's sufficient.

What advice do you have for programs right now?

We need more programs like ours; we are not enough. One of our long-term goals is to create GOKiC in a box, and send this kit to afterschool programs across the country. Our goal is to have programs teach a curriculum that is already built, but is flexible enough for them to cater it to the cultures that they are serving. Until then, train your educators to teach STEM so that students can start to build their computational thinking and competencies.

In afterschool, I had amazing experiences and got to meet amazing people

By Gabrielle Haynes, Afterschool Youth Ambassador, class of 2024. Throughout middle school, I loved going to the Boys and Girls Club afterschool, and I especially loved the staff. Being at the club felt like home to me; it just felt normal and comfortable. Every day, at about 2:15 pm, we would...

BY: Guest Blogger      03/19/24

In afterschool, we're building community and celebrating progress

By Edgar Euceda, Afterschool Youth Ambassador, class of 2024. One meaningful lesson I've learned in the Elsik Afterschool Debate Club, particularly as president of the club, is the importance of having a community that's not only supportive but also celebrates progress.  A few...

BY: Guest Blogger      03/14/24

In afterschool, I discovered that my voice could make a difference, in my life and the lives of others.

By Jully Myrthil, Afterschool Youth Ambassador, class of 2024. Being a project leader and board member for Young Voices (YV), a youth organization advocating for policies affecting youth and their communities, has been a life-changing experience. Young Voices has allowed me to use my voice to...

BY: Guest Blogger      03/05/24

It’s important for everyone to feel equal and important. I feel that way in afterschool.

By Willany Sayles, Afterschool Youth Ambassador, class of 2024. Even though I participated in afterschool programs all of my elementary years, my middle school did not have an afterschool program my 6th and 7th grade years because of the pandemic. However, my elementary school was right down the...

BY: Guest Blogger      02/20/24

My view on the importance of afterschool

By Jay'Len Clark-Carr, Afterschool Youth Ambassador, class of 2024. I’ve been in the IGNITE Afterschool Program for as long as I can remember. It’s been a very welcoming community and has opened up different opportunities for me in the future. But sadly, not everyone has the...

BY: Guest Blogger      02/13/24

Never giving up is the key to opening doors that have traditionally locked out disadvantaged children.

By Ava Havidic, Afterschool Youth Ambassador, class of 2024.  As a shy eighth grader, I yearned to step outside my comfort zone. However, I did not know where to start. As soon as I attended an online webinar from Broward Youth Coalition (BYC) in the summer before ninth grade, I felt...

BY: Guest Blogger      01/30/24

My afterschool program helped me become an advocate for myself and my peers.

By Aurie-Anne Vixama, Afterschool Youth Ambassador, class of 2024. For the past two years, I’ve had the honor to participate as the youth advisory board president for South Florida After-School All-Stars. Being a part of an afterschool program has truly changed my life. At the young age of...

BY: Guest Blogger      01/26/24

My afterschool program always believed in me. We help each other become the best versions of ourselves.

By Issa Ouarid, Youth Afterschool Ambassador, class of 2024. I started Life Pieces in October 2011 at the age of three. I was very shy and struggled to make friends, but Life Pieces provided an environment for me to open up. In 2013, I lost my grandmother and my form of grieving caused me to...

BY: Guest Blogger      01/16/24

My afterschool program has evolved in amazing ways. I have, too.

By James Tonetti, Youth Afterschool Ambassador, class of 2024.  My exposure to afterschool programs came at an early age. I was just six years old when the note went home that I was to stay after school two days a week to work on reading. Snacks would be provided. I loved my afterschool...

BY: Guest Blogger      01/11/24

Meet our 2024 cohort of Youth Afterschool Ambassadors!

“We are so proud to announce the 2024 class of Youth Afterschool Ambassadors,” said Afterschool Alliance Executive Director Jodi Grant. “In their applications, youth shared powerful perspectives about their afterschool experiences, and we can’t wait to help them share...

BY: Elizabeth Bannan      10/13/23

In afterschool, I had amazing experiences and got to meet amazing people

By Gabrielle Haynes, Afterschool Youth Ambassador, class of 2024. Throughout middle school, I loved going to the Boys and Girls Club afterschool, and I especially loved the staff. Being at the club felt like home to me; it just felt normal and comfortable. Every day, at about 2:15 pm, we would...

BY: Guest Blogger      03/19/24

In afterschool, we're building community and celebrating progress

By Edgar Euceda, Afterschool Youth Ambassador, class of 2024. One meaningful lesson I've learned in the Elsik Afterschool Debate Club, particularly as president of the club, is the importance of having a community that's not only supportive but also celebrates progress.  A few...

BY: Guest Blogger      03/14/24

In afterschool, I discovered that my voice could make a difference, in my life and the lives of others.

By Jully Myrthil, Afterschool Youth Ambassador, class of 2024. Being a project leader and board member for Young Voices (YV), a youth organization advocating for policies affecting youth and their communities, has been a life-changing experience. Young Voices has allowed me to use my voice to...

BY: Guest Blogger      03/05/24

It’s important for everyone to feel equal and important. I feel that way in afterschool.

By Willany Sayles, Afterschool Youth Ambassador, class of 2024. Even though I participated in afterschool programs all of my elementary years, my middle school did not have an afterschool program my 6th and 7th grade years because of the pandemic. However, my elementary school was right down the...

BY: Guest Blogger      02/20/24

My view on the importance of afterschool

By Jay'Len Clark-Carr, Afterschool Youth Ambassador, class of 2024. I’ve been in the IGNITE Afterschool Program for as long as I can remember. It’s been a very welcoming community and has opened up different opportunities for me in the future. But sadly, not everyone has the...

BY: Guest Blogger      02/13/24

Never giving up is the key to opening doors that have traditionally locked out disadvantaged children.

By Ava Havidic, Afterschool Youth Ambassador, class of 2024.  As a shy eighth grader, I yearned to step outside my comfort zone. However, I did not know where to start. As soon as I attended an online webinar from Broward Youth Coalition (BYC) in the summer before ninth grade, I felt...

BY: Guest Blogger      01/30/24

My afterschool program helped me become an advocate for myself and my peers.

By Aurie-Anne Vixama, Afterschool Youth Ambassador, class of 2024. For the past two years, I’ve had the honor to participate as the youth advisory board president for South Florida After-School All-Stars. Being a part of an afterschool program has truly changed my life. At the young age of...

BY: Guest Blogger      01/26/24

My afterschool program always believed in me. We help each other become the best versions of ourselves.

By Issa Ouarid, Youth Afterschool Ambassador, class of 2024. I started Life Pieces in October 2011 at the age of three. I was very shy and struggled to make friends, but Life Pieces provided an environment for me to open up. In 2013, I lost my grandmother and my form of grieving caused me to...

BY: Guest Blogger      01/16/24

My afterschool program has evolved in amazing ways. I have, too.

By James Tonetti, Youth Afterschool Ambassador, class of 2024.  My exposure to afterschool programs came at an early age. I was just six years old when the note went home that I was to stay after school two days a week to work on reading. Snacks would be provided. I loved my afterschool...

BY: Guest Blogger      01/11/24

Meet our 2024 cohort of Youth Afterschool Ambassadors!

“We are so proud to announce the 2024 class of Youth Afterschool Ambassadors,” said Afterschool Alliance Executive Director Jodi Grant. “In their applications, youth shared powerful perspectives about their afterschool experiences, and we can’t wait to help them share...

BY: Elizabeth Bannan      10/13/23

Find essential OST research on the new Wallace Foundation website

Notice anything new? The Wallace Foundation has recently unveiled a new website. To help users navigate the new site, the foundation has provided an accompanying FAQ to address common questions about the site’s updated features. While steps were taken to ensure that former webpage links...

BY: Charlotte Steinecke      01/23/24

Culturally responsive STEM programming: Aim High awardee Geeking Out Kids of Color

This blog is part of a series covering the work of New York Life Foundation Aim High grantees. Awardees receive support for their outstanding out-of-school time programs serving underserved middle school youth. The Aim High grant request for proposals is open now through February 1, 2024...

BY: Maria Rizo      01/02/24

Promising practices and innovative responses for high-quality arts programming in OST

Welcome to the second part of our series unpacking The Wallace Foundation’s recent report, “Setting the Stage: Practical Ideas for Implementing High-Quality Afterschool Arts Programs.” In this blog post, we will discuss the Youth Arts Initiative’s efforts to connect youth...

BY: Elizabeth Bannan      10/17/23

Guest blog: Sparking joy… districtwide

By Laurie Posner, communications consultant. This article originally appeared on the Mizzen Minute on October 2, 2023. It is being shared here with permission. As an out-of-school time professional, having vetted education content at your fingertips — for free — can be a huge help....

BY: Guest Blogger      10/09/23

Connecting young people with high-quality arts programming in multipurpose OST settings

Welcome to our two-part series unpacking The Wallace Foundation’s recent report, “Setting the Stage: Practical Ideas for Implementing High-Quality Afterschool Arts Programs.” In this blog post, we will discuss the Youth Arts Initiative’s efforts to connect youth from...

BY: Elizabeth Bannan      10/03/23

New podcast discusses youth perspectives on program design

In March of 2023, The Wallace Foundation released a three-part podcast series titled Beyond the Classroom, where youth research team members, out-of-school time (OST) practitioners, and field experts discuss the findings of a 2022 student-led study commissioned by The Wallace Foundation,...

BY: Elizabeth Bannan      08/01/23

U.S. Dept. of Ed. calls for more afterschool and summer supports

The U.S. Department of Education’s Engage Every Student Initiative marked its one-year anniversary last week with the Raise the Bar Summit, a celebration of the progress made toward expanding afterschool and summer programs for youth across the nation and a platform to exchange...

BY: Ursula Helminski      07/17/23

21st CCLC youth gain life and work skills

Parents and youth alike value the opportunities that afterschool and summer programs offer to develop life and work skills, such as teamwork, problem-solving, decision-making, and communications, as well as exposure to career paths. In a fall 2022 survey, 88 percent of parents said that afterschool...

BY: Ursula Helminski      06/29/23

Building peer-to-peer relationships and taking "safe risks": Project Morry

In a conversation with Dawn Ewing, Executive Director of Project Morry, we sat down to discuss how the program is fostering a safe space for youth to re-engage during the summer and how youth are able to define success on their own terms. Project Morry was one of the 36 grantees of the 2021 Aim...

BY: Maria Rizo      01/19/23

Guest blog: Help your students share their thoughts with World’s Largest Lesson education survey

By Michelle Mann, Director, Social Impact, NetApp. Each year, the World’s Largest Lesson creates learning opportunities for educators across the globe to engage students in exploring and problem-solving around the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This school year, the lesson is...

BY: Guest Blogger      11/21/22

New podcast discusses youth perspectives on program design

In March of 2023, The Wallace Foundation released a three-part podcast series titled Beyond the Classroom, where youth research team members, out-of-school time (OST) practitioners, and field experts discuss the findings of a 2022 student-led study commissioned by The Wallace Foundation,...

BY: Elizabeth Bannan      08/01/23

U.S. Dept. of Ed. calls for more afterschool and summer supports

The U.S. Department of Education’s Engage Every Student Initiative marked its one-year anniversary last week with the Raise the Bar Summit, a celebration of the progress made toward expanding afterschool and summer programs for youth across the nation and a platform to exchange...

BY: Ursula Helminski      07/17/23

Creating a safe space in afterschool for LGBTQIA+ youth

Photo courtesy of The Gender Spectrum Collection Afterschool programs provide a safe space for youth to be their most authentic selves, with opportunities to engage with peers outside of the school day, connect with caring adults, and explore their interests and passions. But LGBTQ+ youth in...

BY: Maria Rizo      06/27/23

Activities and resources to celebrate Asian American and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander (AANHPI) Heritage Month

May is Asian American and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander Heritage Month - a month to honor the accomplishments and contributions of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the United States while celebrating their diverse heritages. Here are a few resources and ideas to help you think about ways...

BY: Ursula Helminski      05/15/23

An afterschool program that feels like a family

By Trinity Ansley, Afterschool Youth Ambassador, class of 2023.  Hi everyone, my name is Trinity Ansley! My afterschool program is San Diego Urban League, Project Ready. Having been a member since freshman year and now being the chair of the program as a junior, I really appreciate this...

BY: Guest Blogger      02/27/23

Building peer-to-peer relationships and taking "safe risks": Project Morry

In a conversation with Dawn Ewing, Executive Director of Project Morry, we sat down to discuss how the program is fostering a safe space for youth to re-engage during the summer and how youth are able to define success on their own terms. Project Morry was one of the 36 grantees of the 2021 Aim...

BY: Maria Rizo      01/19/23

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

The power of representation: Being a role model for the next generation

By Dawn Marie Johnson, MSW, Director of Leadership and Culture for the South Dakota Afterschool Network; School Board Member, Sioux Falls School District Dawn Marie Johnson has been involved in supporting young people and school and afterschool organizations for the past decade. Growing up...

BY: Guest Blogger      07/27/23

U.S. Dept. of Ed. calls for more afterschool and summer supports

The U.S. Department of Education’s Engage Every Student Initiative marked its one-year anniversary last week with the Raise the Bar Summit, a celebration of the progress made toward expanding afterschool and summer programs for youth across the nation and a platform to exchange...

BY: Ursula Helminski      07/17/23

Creating a safe space in afterschool for LGBTQIA+ youth

Photo courtesy of The Gender Spectrum Collection Afterschool programs provide a safe space for youth to be their most authentic selves, with opportunities to engage with peers outside of the school day, connect with caring adults, and explore their interests and passions. But LGBTQ+ youth in...

BY: Maria Rizo      06/27/23

Success stories: The Burma Center

Reflecting on the findings from our recent voter poll, "Afterschool a Priority for Asian American and Pacific Islander Voters," the Afterschool Alliance is amplifying the work of out-of-school providers supporting AANHPI students and their families. The Burma Center is a...

BY: Sophie Kidd      06/26/23

Building peer-to-peer relationships and taking "safe risks": Project Morry

In a conversation with Dawn Ewing, Executive Director of Project Morry, we sat down to discuss how the program is fostering a safe space for youth to re-engage during the summer and how youth are able to define success on their own terms. Project Morry was one of the 36 grantees of the 2021 Aim...

BY: Maria Rizo      01/19/23

January is National Mentoring Month

Afterschool programs are excellent places for young people to meet and engage with supportive adults and find mentors. From STEM superheroes introducing girls to 21st century STEM careers, to caring adults helping with homework and encouraging students realize their full potential, mentorship in...

BY: Charlotte Steinecke      01/10/23

New video: This Is Afterschool

We're starting 2023 off with the release of our anthem video, This Is Afterschool, which puts a spotlight on some of the amazing activities available in quality afterschool and summer learning programs. From ballet to sailing, and from rocketry to theater, afterschool programs are...

BY: Charlotte Steinecke      01/03/23

Celebrating 25 years of masterpieces with a masterpiece of a movie

“We want to show the softness.” – Mingotae Kebede, director and producer A filmmaker and former staff of a long running Washington, DC Afterschool program, Life Pieces to Masterpieces was asked to help the program create a small video to commemorate the program’s 25th...

BY: Jillian Luchner      12/09/22

California celebrates the 20th Anniversary of Proposition 49

The energy was buzzing at Bell Gardens Intermediate as students, school leaders, and afterschool advocates including former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona gathered to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Proposition 49, the initiative that created...

BY: Emily Murtaugh      12/05/22

Program Toolbox recently updated for new, established, and growing programs

Starting a new program or working to grow a program can be exciting and fulfilling—but it can take hard work. We’ve created a toolbox of resources to help you at every point in the process. With a variety of guides, tools, case studies, and best practices from out-of-school time experts...

BY: Maria Rizo      11/22/22

Celebrate Black History Month in afterschool

February marks the celebration of Black History Month, an opportunity to honor and commemorate the profound contributions of Black folks throughout history. See new resources for afterschool providers to engage students in meaningful discussions and activities that highlight and celebrate Black...

BY: Maria Rizo      02/16/24

Culturally responsive STEM programming: Aim High awardee Geeking Out Kids of Color

This blog is part of a series covering the work of New York Life Foundation Aim High grantees. Awardees receive support for their outstanding out-of-school time programs serving underserved middle school youth. The Aim High grant request for proposals is open now through February 1, 2024...

BY: Maria Rizo      01/02/24

Recapping NIEA's Convention: Education Sovereignty. It Begins with Us.

In October, advocates came together in Albuquerque, New Mexico, for the National Indian Education Association’s 54th annual Convention and Trade Show. This year’s theme was "Education Sovereignty. It Begins with Us." The convention was filled with inspiring speakers and...

BY: Sophie Kidd      11/03/23

The power of representation: Being a role model for the next generation

By Dawn Marie Johnson, MSW, Director of Leadership and Culture for the South Dakota Afterschool Network; School Board Member, Sioux Falls School District Dawn Marie Johnson has been involved in supporting young people and school and afterschool organizations for the past decade. Growing up...

BY: Guest Blogger      07/27/23

Success stories: The Burma Center

Reflecting on the findings from our recent voter poll, "Afterschool a Priority for Asian American and Pacific Islander Voters," the Afterschool Alliance is amplifying the work of out-of-school providers supporting AANHPI students and their families. The Burma Center is a...

BY: Sophie Kidd      06/26/23

Activities and resources to celebrate Asian American and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander (AANHPI) Heritage Month

May is Asian American and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander Heritage Month - a month to honor the accomplishments and contributions of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the United States while celebrating their diverse heritages. Here are a few resources and ideas to help you think about ways...

BY: Ursula Helminski      05/15/23

Building peer-to-peer relationships and taking "safe risks": Project Morry

In a conversation with Dawn Ewing, Executive Director of Project Morry, we sat down to discuss how the program is fostering a safe space for youth to re-engage during the summer and how youth are able to define success on their own terms. Project Morry was one of the 36 grantees of the 2021 Aim...

BY: Maria Rizo      01/19/23

Celebrating 25 years of masterpieces with a masterpiece of a movie

“We want to show the softness.” – Mingotae Kebede, director and producer A filmmaker and former staff of a long running Washington, DC Afterschool program, Life Pieces to Masterpieces was asked to help the program create a small video to commemorate the program’s 25th...

BY: Jillian Luchner      12/09/22

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

School/OST partnerships help kids thrive, thanks to pandemic funding

This blog was originally published by The Wallace Foundation on June 15, 2023. It is being reposted on our blog with their permission. Almost every headline about young people today seems to mention the learning loss and mental health challenges created by the pandemic. For good reason. The...

BY: Jodi Grant      07/10/23

Opportunities for communities: Partnerships that support whole child recovery

By Ken Anthony, Ed.D., associate executive director at the Connecticut After School Network, and Heather Williams, program director, Policy and Outreach, for the California AfterSchool Network. In our work as part of the 50 State Afterschool Network, we see first hand how the impacts of the...

BY: Guest Blogger      06/08/23

Afterschool and summer programs are stepping up to help with the youth mental health crisis

As we find ourselves at the end of Mental Health Awareness Month, our team here at the Afterschool Alliance wanted to take a moment to reflect on the critical ways that afterschool and summer learning programs can help support the mental and emotional wellness of our nation’s young people, as...

BY: Dan Gilbert      05/31/23

Voters, parents, and youth agree: Afterschool supports mental health

“For me, the introduction to my culture and the feeling of being a part of something bigger than myself, goes hand in hand with a spark or an increase to my mental, spiritual, and physical health,” writes Sasha Neyra, 16. Sasha is a high school junior and Member of Big Lagoon Rancheria....

BY: Charlotte Steinecke      05/04/23

"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

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

$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

This is Afterschool: Supporting Student Well-Being

Afterschool programs are engaging children and youth in safe and supportive settings, where they can learn mental health and well-being skills that help them recover and thrive. In this video, afterschool students share how their programs help them build confidence, discover their...

BY: Charlotte Steinecke      06/03/22

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

Afterschool is rising to the moment to support mental well-being of youth

In honor of Mental Health Awareness month, Afterschool Alliance, National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA), STEM Next, Million Girls Moonshot, and National Summer Learning Association (NSLA) held a Twitter Chat to discuss how afterschool is rising to the moment to support the physical and...

BY: Maria Rizo      05/24/22