6 steps to get a meeting with your representatives

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6 steps to get a meeting with your representatives

As the spring recess comes to DC, many senators and members of Congress will soon be back in their home districts. It’s an opportunity for constituents (like you!) to meet with lawmakers face-to-face and directly communicate the importance of afterschool in their community. Meetings with representatives offer a chance at a meaningful conversation about afterschool and studies have shown that site visits are powerful tools to make the case for afterschool.

Make the most of the recess with a phone call to your representative, asking to set up a district office meeting or a site visit so they can see the incredible work being done in your afterschool program.

  1. Establish your goals. Are you interested in inviting your representative to visit your afterschool program, or would you prefer to set up a meeting at the representative’s office to discuss your concerns about President Trump’s proposal to eliminate 21st Century Community Learning Centers? Decide on your strategy.
  2. Find your Senate and House representatives. Click through to your senator or representative’s website to find district office locations in your state—many reps have more than one!
  3. Get in touch. The best way to communicate with your representative is through a phone call.  Phone up the district office nearest to you and make your request. A simple script is all you need: “Hi, my name is [your name] from [your town] and I would like to schedule a meeting with the senator/congressperson to discuss the importance of afterschool funding and share some information about our afterschool program. What is the senator/congressperson’s availability during the spring recess?”
  4. Prepare for the meeting. Brush up on some talking points. If you decide on a site visit, check out our guide to hosting a successful congressional visit to maximize the impact of the experience. If a district office meeting is more suitable, brush up on your representative’s stance on education and afterschool and prepare some clear questions and requests to help keep the conversation on track.
  5. Tell the world. If you do manage to schedule a meeting during the recess, we want to hear how it went! Please share your story through our survey tool and be sure to tweet and post on Facebook about the meeting.
  6. Don’t give up! If your representative’s schedule is too packed to accommodate a visit or meeting in the immediate future, don’t be discouraged! The act of calling your representative sends a powerful message about your concern for and passion about afterschool—as a constituent, this message matters.

Many representatives are very busy during their spring recess, visiting around the state and interacting with constituents—but simply making the phone call is in itself an important way to show where you stand on protecting afterschool resources for kids. Whether you schedule a site visit, attend a district office meeting, or just make a phone call, carving a slice of your representative’s attention for afterschool is one of the best ways to have an impact on their decision-making process.

Looking for more ways to take action? Check out the Take Action to Save Afterschool page for more resources and strategies.

Afterschool awesomeness prevails

When times feel uncertain, and our work seems never-ending, positive moments are all the more important. This can be especially true in advocacy, when a victory can be undone in a matter of minutes, and steps forward are often followed by leaps backwards. Endurance, hope, and determination...

BY: Jodi Grant      03/23/18

Afterschool funding preserved in proposed FY2018 spending bill, still under attack for 2019

  Update 2, March 23, 8 a.m.: After The House approved the $1.3 trillion FY2018 omnibus spending package on Thursday in a 256-167 vote, the Senate passed it just after midnight Friday in a 65-32 vote that averted a government shutdown. The bill now goes to President Trump for his...

BY: Erik Peterson      03/22/18

Secretary of Education DeVos fumbles when asked about afterschool funding

Something noteworthy happened on Tuesday, when Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos testified at a House Appropriations Subcommittee hearing on the U.S. Department of Education Fiscal Year 2019 budget proposal. Midway through the contentious hearing, DeVos fumbled badly. She dismissed a question...

BY: Jodi Grant      03/21/18

100+ members of Congress call for increase in afterschool funding

This week Reps. Lou Barletta (R-Pa.) and David Cicilline (D-R.I.) sent a bipartisan Dear Colleague letter signed by 111 members of Congress to House Appropriations Committee leaders Tom Cole (R-Okla.) and Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) sending a clear message “…to support funding for...

BY: Erik Peterson      03/20/18

More than 600 organizations send a message to Congress: Afterschool works

On March 13, the Afterschool Alliance released a letter signed by 80 national and more than 550 state and local organizations representing all 50 states and Washington, D.C., calling on House and Senate appropriators to fund the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) initiative at...

BY: Erik Peterson      03/16/18

Health & wellness efforts face deep cuts in FY19 budget proposal

Afterschool and summer learning programs provide comprehensive programming to help improve the health, safety, and overall wellbeing of students. However, the recent release of President Trump’s proposed FY 2019 budget threatens to negatively impact children’s health and safety in...

BY: Tiereny Lloyd      03/06/18

STEM bill passes House, could support afterschool STEM

On February 13, the House of Representatives unanimously passed the “Building Blocks of STEM Act.” The bipartisan legislation (H.R. 3397), sponsored by Rep. Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.) and cosponsored by Rep. Steve Knight (R-Calif.), directs the National Science Foundation (NSF) to...

BY: Erik Peterson      03/05/18

Administration slashes federal afterschool funding

Today the Trump administration released their fiscal year 2019 full budget proposal just days after Congress approved topline spending levels for fiscal years 2018 and 2019. The full budget represents the president’s vision for how Congress should spend federal funds for the upcoming fiscal...

BY: Erik Peterson      02/12/18

What the bipartisan budget deal means for afterschool

Around 2 a.m. this morning the Senate and then the House passed a bipartisan budget deal and continuing resolution that extends government funding to March 23, doubles the federal investment on child care, and also raises the spending caps for non-defense and defense spending for FY2018 and...

BY: Erik Peterson      02/09/18

New spending deal and CR within reach, child care funding could double

Update: Feb. 9, 7 a.m.: After a brief shutdown around midnight last night, the Senate and the House both passed the bipartisan budget deal and fifth continuing resolution. The government now remains funded at FY2017 levels through March 23, and new higher spending caps for defense and non...

BY: Erik Peterson      02/07/18

Afterschool awesomeness prevails

When times feel uncertain, and our work seems never-ending, positive moments are all the more important. This can be especially true in advocacy, when a victory can be undone in a matter of minutes, and steps forward are often followed by leaps backwards. Endurance, hope, and determination...

BY: Jodi Grant      03/23/18

Afterschool funding preserved in proposed FY2018 spending bill, still under attack for 2019

  Update 2, March 23, 8 a.m.: After The House approved the $1.3 trillion FY2018 omnibus spending package on Thursday in a 256-167 vote, the Senate passed it just after midnight Friday in a 65-32 vote that averted a government shutdown. The bill now goes to President Trump for his...

BY: Erik Peterson      03/22/18

100+ members of Congress call for increase in afterschool funding

This week Reps. Lou Barletta (R-Pa.) and David Cicilline (D-R.I.) sent a bipartisan Dear Colleague letter signed by 111 members of Congress to House Appropriations Committee leaders Tom Cole (R-Okla.) and Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) sending a clear message “…to support funding for...

BY: Erik Peterson      03/20/18

STEM bill passes House, could support afterschool STEM

On February 13, the House of Representatives unanimously passed the “Building Blocks of STEM Act.” The bipartisan legislation (H.R. 3397), sponsored by Rep. Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.) and cosponsored by Rep. Steve Knight (R-Calif.), directs the National Science Foundation (NSF) to...

BY: Erik Peterson      03/05/18

Administration slashes federal afterschool funding

Today the Trump administration released their fiscal year 2019 full budget proposal just days after Congress approved topline spending levels for fiscal years 2018 and 2019. The full budget represents the president’s vision for how Congress should spend federal funds for the upcoming fiscal...

BY: Erik Peterson      02/12/18

New spending deal and CR within reach, child care funding could double

Update: Feb. 9, 7 a.m.: After a brief shutdown around midnight last night, the Senate and the House both passed the bipartisan budget deal and fifth continuing resolution. The government now remains funded at FY2017 levels through March 23, and new higher spending caps for defense and non...

BY: Erik Peterson      02/07/18

Federal funding battle triggers government shutdown

Update: Jan. 22, 3 p.m.: A little after noon (ET)  today (Jan 22), Senate Democrats accepted Majority Leader McConnell’s commitment to bring stand-alone immigration reform legislation to the Senate floor by February 8 for an up or down vote to include provisions to extend the...

BY: Erik Peterson      01/19/18

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In less than ten days, Congress will again face a deadline to address FY 2018 federal funding. The third continuing resolution (CR) passed by Congress in late December is scheduled to expire at midnight on January 19, 2018, and a way forward through the impasse has not yet emerged. While...

BY: Erik Peterson      01/12/18

The year in federal afterschool policy

Federal afterschool policy in 2017 had ups and downs, and plenty ‘firsts.’ It was the first time a president proposed complete elimination of the 21st Century Community Learning Centers initiative – the primary source of federal funding...

BY: Erik Peterson      12/22/17

Continuing resolution or spending omnibus?: Afterschool federal funding update

Dec. 22, 2017 Update: Congress passed a third continuing resolution prior to the Dec. 22nd deadline extending govt funding at current year levels (including 21st CCLC) until January 19th.  Dec. 8, 2017 Update: The House and Senate both passed a stop gap spending measure last night that...

BY: Erik Peterson      11/27/17

Afterschool awesomeness prevails

When times feel uncertain, and our work seems never-ending, positive moments are all the more important. This can be especially true in advocacy, when a victory can be undone in a matter of minutes, and steps forward are often followed by leaps backwards. Endurance, hope, and determination...

BY: Jodi Grant      03/23/18

Afterschool funding preserved in proposed FY2018 spending bill, still under attack for 2019

  Update 2, March 23, 8 a.m.: After The House approved the $1.3 trillion FY2018 omnibus spending package on Thursday in a 256-167 vote, the Senate passed it just after midnight Friday in a 65-32 vote that averted a government shutdown. The bill now goes to President Trump for his...

BY: Erik Peterson      03/22/18

100+ members of Congress call for increase in afterschool funding

This week Reps. Lou Barletta (R-Pa.) and David Cicilline (D-R.I.) sent a bipartisan Dear Colleague letter signed by 111 members of Congress to House Appropriations Committee leaders Tom Cole (R-Okla.) and Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) sending a clear message “…to support funding for...

BY: Erik Peterson      03/20/18

Administration slashes federal afterschool funding

Today the Trump administration released their fiscal year 2019 full budget proposal just days after Congress approved topline spending levels for fiscal years 2018 and 2019. The full budget represents the president’s vision for how Congress should spend federal funds for the upcoming fiscal...

BY: Erik Peterson      02/12/18

What the bipartisan budget deal means for afterschool

Around 2 a.m. this morning the Senate and then the House passed a bipartisan budget deal and continuing resolution that extends government funding to March 23, doubles the federal investment on child care, and also raises the spending caps for non-defense and defense spending for FY2018 and...

BY: Erik Peterson      02/09/18

New spending deal and CR within reach, child care funding could double

Update: Feb. 9, 7 a.m.: After a brief shutdown around midnight last night, the Senate and the House both passed the bipartisan budget deal and fifth continuing resolution. The government now remains funded at FY2017 levels through March 23, and new higher spending caps for defense and non...

BY: Erik Peterson      02/07/18

New Year, new budget, same federal spending quagmire

In less than ten days, Congress will again face a deadline to address FY 2018 federal funding. The third continuing resolution (CR) passed by Congress in late December is scheduled to expire at midnight on January 19, 2018, and a way forward through the impasse has not yet emerged. While...

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BY: Erik Peterson      09/08/17

Afterschool awesomeness prevails

When times feel uncertain, and our work seems never-ending, positive moments are all the more important. This can be especially true in advocacy, when a victory can be undone in a matter of minutes, and steps forward are often followed by leaps backwards. Endurance, hope, and determination...

BY: Jodi Grant      03/23/18

100+ members of Congress call for increase in afterschool funding

This week Reps. Lou Barletta (R-Pa.) and David Cicilline (D-R.I.) sent a bipartisan Dear Colleague letter signed by 111 members of Congress to House Appropriations Committee leaders Tom Cole (R-Okla.) and Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) sending a clear message “…to support funding for...

BY: Erik Peterson      03/20/18

Health & wellness efforts face deep cuts in FY19 budget proposal

Afterschool and summer learning programs provide comprehensive programming to help improve the health, safety, and overall wellbeing of students. However, the recent release of President Trump’s proposed FY 2019 budget threatens to negatively impact children’s health and safety in...

BY: Tiereny Lloyd      03/06/18

Administration slashes federal afterschool funding

Today the Trump administration released their fiscal year 2019 full budget proposal just days after Congress approved topline spending levels for fiscal years 2018 and 2019. The full budget represents the president’s vision for how Congress should spend federal funds for the upcoming fiscal...

BY: Erik Peterson      02/12/18

What the bipartisan budget deal means for afterschool

Around 2 a.m. this morning the Senate and then the House passed a bipartisan budget deal and continuing resolution that extends government funding to March 23, doubles the federal investment on child care, and also raises the spending caps for non-defense and defense spending for FY2018 and...

BY: Erik Peterson      02/09/18

New spending deal and CR within reach, child care funding could double

Update: Feb. 9, 7 a.m.: After a brief shutdown around midnight last night, the Senate and the House both passed the bipartisan budget deal and fifth continuing resolution. The government now remains funded at FY2017 levels through March 23, and new higher spending caps for defense and non...

BY: Erik Peterson      02/07/18

Federal funding battle triggers government shutdown

Update: Jan. 22, 3 p.m.: A little after noon (ET)  today (Jan 22), Senate Democrats accepted Majority Leader McConnell’s commitment to bring stand-alone immigration reform legislation to the Senate floor by February 8 for an up or down vote to include provisions to extend the...

BY: Erik Peterson      01/19/18

New Year, new budget, same federal spending quagmire

In less than ten days, Congress will again face a deadline to address FY 2018 federal funding. The third continuing resolution (CR) passed by Congress in late December is scheduled to expire at midnight on January 19, 2018, and a way forward through the impasse has not yet emerged. While...

BY: Erik Peterson      01/12/18

The year in federal afterschool policy

Federal afterschool policy in 2017 had ups and downs, and plenty ‘firsts.’ It was the first time a president proposed complete elimination of the 21st Century Community Learning Centers initiative – the primary source of federal funding...

BY: Erik Peterson      12/22/17

Continuing resolution or spending omnibus?: Afterschool federal funding update

Dec. 22, 2017 Update: Congress passed a third continuing resolution prior to the Dec. 22nd deadline extending govt funding at current year levels (including 21st CCLC) until January 19th.  Dec. 8, 2017 Update: The House and Senate both passed a stop gap spending measure last night that...

BY: Erik Peterson      11/27/17

Afterschool awesomeness prevails

When times feel uncertain, and our work seems never-ending, positive moments are all the more important. This can be especially true in advocacy, when a victory can be undone in a matter of minutes, and steps forward are often followed by leaps backwards. Endurance, hope, and determination...

BY: Jodi Grant      03/23/18

Afterschool funding preserved in proposed FY2018 spending bill, still under attack for 2019

  Update 2, March 23, 8 a.m.: After The House approved the $1.3 trillion FY2018 omnibus spending package on Thursday in a 256-167 vote, the Senate passed it just after midnight Friday in a 65-32 vote that averted a government shutdown. The bill now goes to President Trump for his...

BY: Erik Peterson      03/22/18

100+ members of Congress call for increase in afterschool funding

This week Reps. Lou Barletta (R-Pa.) and David Cicilline (D-R.I.) sent a bipartisan Dear Colleague letter signed by 111 members of Congress to House Appropriations Committee leaders Tom Cole (R-Okla.) and Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) sending a clear message “…to support funding for...

BY: Erik Peterson      03/20/18

More than 600 organizations send a message to Congress: Afterschool works

On March 13, the Afterschool Alliance released a letter signed by 80 national and more than 550 state and local organizations representing all 50 states and Washington, D.C., calling on House and Senate appropriators to fund the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) initiative at...

BY: Erik Peterson      03/16/18

Health & wellness efforts face deep cuts in FY19 budget proposal

Afterschool and summer learning programs provide comprehensive programming to help improve the health, safety, and overall wellbeing of students. However, the recent release of President Trump’s proposed FY 2019 budget threatens to negatively impact children’s health and safety in...

BY: Tiereny Lloyd      03/06/18

Administration slashes federal afterschool funding

Today the Trump administration released their fiscal year 2019 full budget proposal just days after Congress approved topline spending levels for fiscal years 2018 and 2019. The full budget represents the president’s vision for how Congress should spend federal funds for the upcoming fiscal...

BY: Erik Peterson      02/12/18

What the bipartisan budget deal means for afterschool

Around 2 a.m. this morning the Senate and then the House passed a bipartisan budget deal and continuing resolution that extends government funding to March 23, doubles the federal investment on child care, and also raises the spending caps for non-defense and defense spending for FY2018 and...

BY: Erik Peterson      02/09/18

New spending deal and CR within reach, child care funding could double

Update: Feb. 9, 7 a.m.: After a brief shutdown around midnight last night, the Senate and the House both passed the bipartisan budget deal and fifth continuing resolution. The government now remains funded at FY2017 levels through March 23, and new higher spending caps for defense and non...

BY: Erik Peterson      02/07/18

Federal funding battle triggers government shutdown

Update: Jan. 22, 3 p.m.: A little after noon (ET)  today (Jan 22), Senate Democrats accepted Majority Leader McConnell’s commitment to bring stand-alone immigration reform legislation to the Senate floor by February 8 for an up or down vote to include provisions to extend the...

BY: Erik Peterson      01/19/18

New Year, new budget, same federal spending quagmire

In less than ten days, Congress will again face a deadline to address FY 2018 federal funding. The third continuing resolution (CR) passed by Congress in late December is scheduled to expire at midnight on January 19, 2018, and a way forward through the impasse has not yet emerged. While...

BY: Erik Peterson      01/12/18

Federal funding battle triggers government shutdown

Update: Jan. 22, 3 p.m.: A little after noon (ET)  today (Jan 22), Senate Democrats accepted Majority Leader McConnell’s commitment to bring stand-alone immigration reform legislation to the Senate floor by February 8 for an up or down vote to include provisions to extend the...

BY: Erik Peterson      01/19/18

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BY: Erik Peterson      06/01/17

New career education bill includes opportunities for afterschool

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BY: Jillian Luchner      05/12/17

Legislation proposed to fight chronic absenteeism

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BY: Jillian Luchner      05/05/17

Afterschool funding preserved in proposed FY2017 spending bill, still under attack for 2018

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BY: Erik Peterson      05/01/17

New progress on juvenile justice reauthorization bills

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BY: Jillian Luchner      04/28/17

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BY: Jillian Luchner      04/03/17

Senators celebrate the value of apprenticeship programs

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BY: Jillian Luchner      02/17/17

What will House resolutions of disapproval mean for ESSA implementation?

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BY: Jillian Luchner      02/16/17

Secretary of Education DeVos fumbles when asked about afterschool funding

Something noteworthy happened on Tuesday, when Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos testified at a House Appropriations Subcommittee hearing on the U.S. Department of Education Fiscal Year 2019 budget proposal. Midway through the contentious hearing, DeVos fumbled badly. She dismissed a question...

BY: Jodi Grant      03/21/18

Afterschool shines in ESSA implementation hearing

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BY: Erik Peterson      07/21/17

Secretary DeVos testifies on administration?s education budget

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BY: Erik Peterson      05/25/17

What to expect as the first ESSA state plan deadline approaches

Since the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) was passed in December 2015, a great deal has been done to get ready for implementation and a great deal is left to happen (including appropriations) before the law goes into full effect in the 2017-2018 school year. Eighteen states aim to submit state...

BY: Jillian Luchner      04/03/17

What will House resolutions of disapproval mean for ESSA implementation?

By Ellen Fern, Managing Director at Washington Partners On Tuesday, February 7, the House of Representatives voted to overturn Obama administration regulations regarding accountability under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) as well as regulations relating to teacher-preparation...

BY: Jillian Luchner      02/16/17

Senate confirms Trump nominee Betsy DeVos as U.S. Secretary of Education

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BY: Jillian Luchner      02/08/17

Panel: When rethinking school governance, afterschool is a piece of the local puzzle

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BY: Jillian Luchner      01/26/17

Secretary of Education nominee Betsy DeVos testifies in Senate

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BY: Erik Peterson      01/20/17

Opportunities for afterschool abound as ESSA is implemented

In the New Year, states are busy getting ready for the new federal education law, the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), to go into full effect with the start of the new 2017-18 school year. In these final months of preparation, states are finishing first and second rounds of...

BY: Jillian Luchner      01/18/17

Previewing the 115th Congress: What does it mean for afterschool?

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BY: Erik Peterson      12/14/16