Vol. 8 Issue 8 (08/21/2007)
Top Stories
Back to School - A Time for Advocacy
8th Annual Lights On Is October 18!
Mentoring Matters
'So You Think You Can Dance' Teams with LA's BEST

Outreach
Funding
In Their Own Words...
In The News
Quick Takes
Calendar

Back to School - A Time for Advocacy
With students heading back to school in late August and early September, and media filing back to school stories, afterschool leaders and supporters can have a real impact right now by sending the message that millions of students have no place to go each afternoon after the school day ends. With Congress still considering the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) appropriation for next year, this is an especially important time for advocates to send messages about the benefits afterschool programs provide to children, families and communities.

The House of Representatives has passed an increase of $125 million for 21st CCLC, the chief federal funding stream for afterschool, but the Senate Appropriations Committee voted to increase it by less than $20 million. After five years of flat funding, advocates are urging Senators to adopt the House-passed increase, which would give approximately 125,000 more students access to afterschool programs.

"In America today, some 14 million students are unsupervised, with no educational or enriching activities, each weekday afternoon," Afterschool Alliance Executive Director Jodi Grant said. "Working parents worry about their kids during the afternoon hours, with good reason. After the school days ends and before parents get home from work, young children can be injured if no one is supervising them and older children can engage in risky behaviors including alcohol and drugs, sexual activity and crime. We can and must do better for our kids. It's time - past time - to increase the federal investment in afterschool."

Complicating funding prospects is President Bush's vow to veto any appropriations that exceed his budget proposal, which would provide no increase to the 21st CCLC initiative. "This is a time to speak out, so federal, state and local lawmakers as well as corporate and private funders get the message that Americans want all children to have access to quality affordable afterschool programs," Grant added.

See the back-to-school organizing tools in the Outreach section of this issue of the Afterschool Advocate for simple ways to send the message that every child deserves a quality afterschool program!

8th Annual Lights On Is October 18!
Have you started planning your Lights On Afterschool celebration? Sign up today to receive planning tips, links to new tools, and posters from the Afterschool Alliance. This year, Lights On Afterschool kicks off a year-long celebration of the 10th anniversary of the 21st Century Community Learning Centers federal afterschool initiative - and it all begins with a raffle! Register your event by September 7 to have a chance to win a six foot balloon and 100 Lights On Afterschool posters, blinking bulbs and Afterschool for All stickers and pencils. Register and download materials here.

Mentoring Matters
A study of the School-Based Mentoring (SBM) program of Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS), the largest youth mentoring organization in the country, shows that students with a "Big Brother" or "Big Sister" have better academic performance, attitudes and behaviors over the course of a school year than students who do not have a Big Brother or Big Sister. However, some positive impacts were not sustained after relationships with mentors ended. 

"Making a Difference in Schools: The Big Brothers Big Sisters School-Based Mentoring Impact Study" was conducted by Public/Private Ventures (P/PV) and released in early August. It followed more than 1,100 children in 70 schools for one-and-one-half years. In the first year of mentoring, it found positive outcomes in overall academic performance as well as in science and written and oral language, improvements in the quality of class work, and increases in assignments turned in. Mentored children reported feeling more competent academically. The study also found decreases in serious school infractions, visits to the principals office, fighting and suspensions. 

However, most academic improvements recorded in the first year were not sustained into the third semester.  This occurred in part because, in the third semester, only 52 percent of students mentored in the previous two semesters continued to have mentors.  Many had transferred to different schools because they "graduated" to middle school or high school, and matches with mentors did not carry over to their new schools.

The study says, "The Big Brothers Big Sisters SBM program model is a promising intervention that merits support.  The positive impacts on school-related outcomes at the end of the first school year, combined with the fact that the program is reaching many needy students, make this intervention particularly valuable for schools."  But one year of SBM may not be enough to permanently improve academic performance, it says.

Researchers found that the longer a mentoring relationship lasts, and the stronger the bond between student and adult, the more positive the results. They recommend that providers find ways to bridge the summer gap and offer training to mentors, and that programs begin their mentoring as close to the beginning of the school year as possible to maximize the length of relationships.

For afterschool programs with a mentoring component, the MENTOR/National Mentoring Partnership invites programs to register for inclusion in a national database of mentoring programs. The Volunteer Referral Service (VRS) includes a network of more than 4,300 youth mentoring programs, enabling prospective mentors to search for local mentoring opportunities. Programs can register here. For questions about the Volunteer Referral Service, contact Kristen Anderson at kanderson@mentoring.org.

'So You Think You Can Dance' Teams with LA's BEST
Since August 5th, 100 staff members from LA's BEST (Better Educated Students for Tomorrow) have been students in the first-ever "So You Think You Can Dance" Los Angeles workshop. Top choreographers from the hit FOX summer television show are giving back to the community by teaching dance to the staff members, who plan to take their newfound dance skills to students from some of the city's most challenged neighborhoods.

The creators, choreographers and judges on the show, including Executive Producer/ Choreographer Nigel Lythgoe, are teaching LA's BEST staff the latest moves in hip-hop, disco and ballroom dance. This six-week workshop will culminate in a grand finale performance by the top LA's BEST staff dancers on September 16.

Back-to-School Organizing
Take a few minutes this month to reach out to a new audience with the message that our nation urgently needs more afterschool programs. The following tools are designed to make your outreach simple and effective!

QUICK FACTS ABOUT AFTERSCHOOL

Afterschool advocates know that a few powerful facts can go a very long way. Here are four facts that can be used in conversations, speeches and other public speaking opportunities, with journalists, and to help persuade policy makers at the local, state and federal levels that afterschool programs deserve support. In all cases, localize and personalize these facts with data and anecdotes that further illuminate the points.

* Afterschool programs are too few and far between. More than 14 million school age children (25%) in the United States are on their own after school. Among them are more than 40,000 kindergarteners. Only 6.5 million K-12 children (11%) participate in afterschool programs. Parents say another additional 15 million would participate if a quality program were available in their community. (The Afterschool Alliance's "America After 3 PM" report, May 2004)

* The afternoon hours can be dangerous for unsupervised children. The time between 3 and 6 PM are peak hours for juvenile crime and experimentation with drugs, alcohol, cigarettes and sex. (Fight Crime: Invest in Kids, 2002)

* Afterschool programs work. Long-term studies of afterschool programs large and small - including evaluations of LA's Best, The After-School Corporation, the Boys & Girls Clubs' Project Learn, California's After School Education and Safety Program, and dozens of others - demonstrate that afterschool programs keep kids safe, inspire them to learn, and help working families. (Afterschool Alliance Summary of Formal Evaluations of the Academic Impact of Afterschool Programs, September 2006, and Summary of Formal Evaluations of Afterschool Programs' Impact on Behavior, Safety and Family Life, January 2007)

* Voters want their elected representatives to increase funding for afterschool. A 2006 election eve/election night poll found that 72 percent of voters agree that "our newly elected public officials in Congress should increase funding for afterschool programs." Just 24 percent disagree. In addition, the poll commissioned by the Afterschool Alliance found that support for afterschool crosses all demographic and party lines. (Afterschool Alliance, 2006 Election Eve/Election Night poll)

For downloadable fact sheets on various aspects of afterschool, visit the Research section of the Afterschool Alliance website.

WEB TIPS

Increasingly people turn to the Internet for information and get quick answers. The Internet is an excellent and inexpensive tool that programs can use to share information about their events and activities in the community, as well as a vehicle to get people more involved in advocacy.

Programs with an existing website should update it regularly and highlight new activities and upcoming events. Parents are more likely to visit if their children help shape the site, and students can learn by supporting its design and maintenance. With appropriate supervision, students can provide content - essays, photos, art and videos that they may have produced during afterschool time.

The website is also invaluable for keeping parents and community leaders informed. Post your program's brochure and the Quick Facts listed above (localized for your program and community), and provide a link to the Afterschool Alliance's site so parents and others can send messages to Congress.

Programs that do not have websites of their own often can partner with a school system or community based organizations such as libraries. News organizations and businesses often will feature program information on their community pages.

LETTER TO THE EDITOR

A letter to the editor in your local newspaper is a terrific way to showcase the benefits of your program and highlight the need for increased funding. Below is a sample letter to the editor which can be modified to fit the unique needs of your community and program.

To the Editor:

As summer fades into autumn and children return to school, it's important to remember the vital role that afterschool programs play in keeping our kids safe, inspiring them to learn, and helping working families.

For too many parents, the hours between the end of the school day and when they get home from work is a time of anxiety. Are my kids safe? Are they where they should be? Are they learning? Are they getting exercise? Parents of kids enrolled in [name of your program] can answer "yes!" to all those questions, as can those of children enrolled in other programs throughout [name of community].

But we're nowhere near being able to provide afterschool for every kid whose needs a program. Part of the reason is that Congress and the President have yet to provide full funding for the 21st Century Community Learning Centers initiative, the chief federal funding stream for afterschool. Congress is about to vote on the education funding for the coming year. Let's hope our elected representatives remember how important afterschool is to parents and kids!

[your name, title, program] [your address and daytime and evening phone numbers, not for publication]

OUTREACH - MORE STATE PROGRESS ON AFTERSCHOOL

Thanks to the hard work of afterschool supporters across the state, the Massachusetts Afterschool Partnership announced that the state legislature and Governor Deval Patrick have approved a $1 million increase to the After School and Out of School Time grant program for Fiscal Year 2008. This will double the funding from last year and bring it to a total of $2 million. The new grant prioritizes partnerships between schools and community based organizations.

OUTREACH - AFTERSHOOL FOR ALL: PROJECT 2010

Afterschool for All: Project 2010 has 15,739 partners including Delaware Governor Ruth Ann Minner, who joined this month.  Governor Minner joins a distinguished group of 16 governors who support the goal of quality, affordable afterschool programs for all children and youth. 

A staunch champion for afterschool, Governor Minner brings leadership and a commitment to expanding afterschool opportunities for Delaware's children and youth.  "Effective and varied afterschool programs help to increase our state's graduation rate by providing additional academic opportunities that some students need and would not otherwise receive," she said.

Is your Governor a partner of Afterschool for All: Project 2010 yet?  Visit the Afterschool for All: Project 2010 website and type a name or keyword "governor" in the search field to find out.  If your governor has not signed up, click here for a sample letter that you can use to invite your governor to lend her or his voice to this national effort. 

Contact Marie Coichy, Project Manager of Afterschool for All: Project 2010 with questions, comments or concerns at mcoichy@afterschoolalliance.org or 646/943-8662.

Funding News
The Afterschool Alliance has numerous funding resources on its website for afterschool providers, including tips to help initiate relationships with funders and businesses, and information on how to identify new funding opportunities.

Online Fundraising SixDegrees.org is a website where afterschool programs and advocates can raise funds online. For more information on how the program works, click here.

GRANTS/AWARDS AVAILABLE

Grants for Young Community Activists The Walt Disney Company and Youth Service America are offering Disney Minnie Grants for youth leaders or organizations to plan and implement community service projects addressing the environment, public health, disaster relief, education, hunger or other youth-identified community needs. The $500 grants will support projects involving youth ages five to 14. The application deadline is August 30. For more information, click here.

Grants for Afterschool and Community Projects Hamburger Helper is sponsoring My Hometown Helper grants to help fund community projects such as books for literacy programs, playground equipment, and tutoring programs. Awards will be based on the merit of the project as well as its impact and support within the community. Applicants can request a one-time award ranging from $500 to $15,000. The application deadline is September 30. For more information, go to the site.

Grants for Young Gardeners The National Gardening Association and Gardener's Supply are sponsoring Healthy Sprouts Awards to support school and youth garden programs that teach about nutrition and hunger. Twenty schools and organizations will be awarded gift certificates or gardening materials worth $200 to $500. The application deadline is October 15. For more information, click here.

Grants for Empowering Women and Girls Avon Products is sponsoring the Avon Hello Tomorrow Fund which provides grants to support individuals who are conducting projects to empower women and girls in three areas: business development, community service or awareness and outreach. The $5,000 grants are awarded on a weekly basis through December 10. For more information, click here.

In Their Own Words...
"[Poverty] shouldn't be the reason a child is left behind or is forced to spend his or her summers or after-school days on the street. The hope is that we will be able to (boost) access to programs that engage children in activities that will enrich their lives or create opportunities for them." -- Albany Times Union publisher Mark Aldam on the paper's decision to focus its holiday giving campaign on afterschool and summer programs, Times Union, August 3, 2007

"We can't afford not to provide good quality child care. We in law enforcement end up dealing with children later on. Our jails are filled with young men who can't read or write or peacefully solve conflicts among themselves. This is an investment in our future." --Miami, Florida Police Chief John Timoney urging Congress to allocate more funds for child care programs, Miami Herald, August 15, 2007

California
Campgrounds in Baron Flats provided a change of pace and environment for 55 middle school students this summer. Kids attending the summer camp run by Camp Fire USA Orange County Council spent their days engaged in workshops and activities such as low ropes, canoeing, capture the flag, and archery. "Camp definitely has an impact on all of our youth in the change that happens within their self-confidence and their leadership and communication skills," Michelle Pelliccino, associate director of the Council's afterschool program told the Los Angeles Times.

Iowa
Girls Inc. in Sioux City provides girls ages six to 18 with a variety of activities such as science, life skills, health, judo, Taekwondo, and more. This summer girls participated in a dance team, "tying dance and tumbling with improved body image, healthy movement, and self-esteem," Executive Director Mandie Engel-Cartie told the Sioux City Journal. The program also provided new activities such as "Chicken Coop" and "Girlfriends," which helped girls share concerns and aspirations with each other and with professional women who volunteered as mentors.

Maryland
Somerset County's Migrant Education Program provides stability and academic support to children of migrant workers from all parts of the nation who seasonally travel with the harvest. The five-week extended day program offers math, reading and tutoring to help students complete missing school credits. Supported by the Princess Ann Library, Reading is Fun Program, Girl Scouts and 4-H, the program offers art, physical education, computer technology and swimming lessons. Jose Guadalupe Resendiz Rubio, a five-year-returning student, told the Daily Times, "I like getting to hang out with people like me." Leslie Morales, another long-time participant added, "It's better for me to be here than at my apartment with no one to do stuff with."

Massachusetts
A hand-made quilt of individually designed squares was the highlight of the 21st Century Community Learning Program in the Ware School District this summer, reports The Republican. In one of the program's many activities, each student personalized a square with a message to Daniel Veale, a U.S. serviceman based in Iraq who is a Ware High School graduate. To learn more, click here.

Nebraska
At-risk students are finding help thanks to the Student Opportunities for Success (SOS) pilot program, a partnership between the Omaha Public Schools and the Omaha Police Department. The voluntary before and afterschool program is designed to end students' truancy and help them stay up-to-date with course credits. "Students who have stuck with SOS will have earned more than a semester's worth of credits by the end of the summer. Some will have caught up with their graduating class," reports the Omaha World-Herald. James Franklin, a 16-year-old participant, adds that "the fact that the SOS program is free and provides food and activities other than academics makes it really hard to pass up."

New Jersey
Eight Paterson students with disabilities, who attend Eastside and John F. Kennedy high schools, took part in a therapeutic horse-riding program at Starlight Farm in Ringwood this summer. Funded by a grant from 21st Century Community Learning Centers and the State Department of Education, the program taught students a range of skills including sequencing, focusing, and public speaking, reports the Herald News.

Oklahoma
The Center for Education Reform has named Oklahoma City's Western Village one of the nation's best charter schools, reports The Oklahoman. Integris Health Corporation has worked with the elementary school for more than a decade, sponsoring an afterschool program, recruiting and providing tutors, and helping students who had fallen behind in their schoolwork. The company now holds a charter to manage the school.

Summer Road Trips Help Afterschool
Budget Rent a Car System and American Express have teamed up to help afterschool. Now through August 31, each time a customer pays for a Budget car rental using an American Express card, they will receive up to a $15 discount on the rental and the companies will donate $1 to After-School All-Stars. For more information, visit www.budget.com/afterschool.

California Update
The Afterschool Advocate thanks the California Afterschool Network, for this story.

California Afterschool Funding Landscape The California Afterschool Network has created visual maps that provide a comprehensive picture of state and federally funded afterschool programs. The most recent data shows that 4,095 schools receive After School Education and Safety (ASES), 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC), and After School Safety and Enrichment for Teens (ASSETs) funding. More than 500 of these schools are funded by more than one source - 3,830 have ASES funding, 604 elementary and middle schools have 21st CCLC funding, and 190 high schools have ASSETS funding. To view maps illustrating California's after school funding, click here.

AB 1685 Becomes Law On June 28, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed Assembly Bill 1685 into law. It amends last year's afterschool bill to allow increases in before-school grant awards commensurate with the daily rate increases previously authorized for programs funded through ASES. The new law also expands the range of providers who can report on program outcomes by changing the words "after school teacher" to "after school staff." To view the history and text of the bill, please visit www.leginfo.ca.gov, click on bill information and type AB 1685.

Network News The California Afterschool Network is pleased to announce that Andee Press-Dawson is its new Executive Director.  Press-Dawson brings a wealth of experience in afterschool policy and practice, and is the former Director of the Sacramento START afterschool program, which serves more than 7,000 children and youth each day. To view Press-Dawson's biography, click here.

If you have questions about these items or about afterschool in California, contact California Afterschool Network Program Coordinator Jeff Davis at jefdavis@ucdavis.edu.

Discount on School Supplies
The Afterschool Alliance partnership with Discount School Supply gives friends of afterschool a ten percent discount on all school supply orders. To receive the discount, put the code A4A (it stands for Afterschool 4 All) in the pink promotional box when ordering supplies at www.discountschoolsupply.com. Or mention it when you call 1-800-627-2829 to place an order.

Mark Your Calendars...
August 22 - 23, 2007 Afterschool Counts will sponsor the 5th annual Off to a Great Start Conference for afterschool professionals in Columbus, Ohio. The event will feature national, regional and local experts on afterschool, provide demonstrations of activities, breakout sessions and networking opportunities. For more information, call 614/247-4976.

October 18, 2007 The 2007 Lights On Afterschool will feature rallies at afterschool programs across the country. Sponsored by the Afterschool Alliance, Lights On Afterschool is the only nationwide event celebrating afterschool programs. For more information, go to Lights On Afterschool.

October 20, 2007 The Arizona Center for Afterschool Excellence will host the 2007 Afterschool Conference in Mesa. The conference will feature more than 30 workshops, including site management, physical activities, behavior management and discipline, public policy and advocacy and program evaluation. For more information, call 602/ 279-7100 or visit www.azafterschool.org.

October 22 - 23, 2007 School's Out Washington will sponsor The Bridge from School to Afterschool and Back Conference in Vancouver, bringing together innovative leaders dedicated to improving the effectiveness of afterschool programs. Keynote speakers will include Colleen E. Almojuela, former Executive Director of the Respecting Ethnic and Cultural Heritage Center, and Dr. Deborah Lowe Vandell of the University of California, Irvine. For information and to register, click here.

October 29 - 31, 2007 The 2007 National Conference on Safe Schools and Communities will be held in Washington, DC. Sponsored by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, U.S. Department of Justice and the Hamilton Fish Institute on School and Community Violence at George Washington University, this national conference features more than 20 workshop sessions on effective programs and strategies relating to school and community safety. Speakers include Assistant Attorney General Regina Schofield and Deputy Education Undersecretary Deborah Price. For information and to register, click here or call 202/496-2200.

November 1 - 3, 2007 The Harvard Family Research Project will host a professional development institute, Closing the Achievement Gap: Linking Families, Schools and Communities, at the Harvard Graduate School of Education in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The institute will examine how schools, families, out-of-school-time programs and other organizations and agencies can forge connections and build systems of support for children and youth. For more information and to register, click here.

November 2 - 3, 2007 The New Jersey School-Age Care Coalition will host its annual conference for afterschool, The Creative Spirit of Afterschool, in Princeton, New Jersey. For more information and to register, click here.

November 7 - 10, 2007 The National Guild of Community Schools of the Arts will host the 2007 Conference for Arts Education in Los Angeles, California. Workshops include Integrating Arts and Academics, Planning Effective and Sustainable Partnerships, Effective Grant Writing, Community Arts Education in Small Towns and Rural Communities, and more. For more information and to register, click here.

November 15 - 17, 2007 The Children's Forum will host the After-School Solutions State Conference in Orlando, Florida. The conference will offer a wide range of workshops and trainings for afterschool professionals. For more information, click here.

** And mark your calendars now for the 2008 "Afterschool for All Challenge," May 13th and 14th in Washington, D.C.!

More information on upcoming conferences and events is available at the Afterschool Alliance's Calendarweb page.