RSS | Go To: afterschoolalliance.org
Get Afterschool Updates
Afterschool Snack, the afterschool blog. The latest research, resources, funding and policy on expanding quality afterschool and summer learning programs for children and youth. An Afterschool Alliance resource.
Afterschool Donation
Afterschool on Facebook
Afterschool on Twitter
Afterschool Snack Bloggers
Select blogger:
Recent Afterschool Snacks
OCT
19
2017

LIGHTS ON
email
print

Easy, last-minute ideas for an amazing Lights On Afterschool!

By Charlotte Steinecke

Lights On Afterschool is just seven days away! While many programs are wrapping up their plans, some will only start planning this week. Luckily, we’ve got something for everyone over at our Last-Minute Ideas page. Use these ideas as the foundation of your event, or add an extra dimension to your celebration with another fun activity.

Looking for a few more easy ways to celebrate? We’ve got you covered:

  • Celebrate health and wellness by planning a make-your-own-pizza, -snack, or -taco night, with fresh and flavorful fixings that kids can mix and match to make their own meals. Polish it off by offering blank recipe cards so kids can write down their favorite combinations, decorate the cards, and take them home.
  • Bring art to your event with easy crafts and activities: Pinterest is full of instructions for tealight holders, galaxy and tornado jars, yarn pumpkins, dreamcatchers, and more.
  • Connect with your local library and ask if a librarian or staff member can come down to your event for a library card sign-up station. Then, host a read-aloud and encourage students to practice their peer-to-peer reading skills. Staple together some blank booklets so kids can write their own stories!
  • Plan a sidewalk parade around the block, showcasing student art, signs, and representations of all the activities you do in afterschool. Take pictures and tweet @ your reps with a message about why they should keep the #LightsOnAfterschool!
  • Take students on a nature walk or a field trip to explore the changing seasons. Encourage students to observe their surroundings and record their observations by taking notes and sketching points of interest. (Interested in more outdoor STEM fun? Check out the PLUM LANDING Explore Outdoors toolkit!)
  • Host a fall-friendly line or square dance party to get kids and parents moving at your event.

We’ve also got an activity so you can celebrate afterschool anywhere, with anyone: the “My Light’s On Afterschool” challenge! To join the challenge, just recreate our Lights On logo, snap a photo, and share it on social media with a message of support for #LightsOnAfterschool and a challenge to your friends and followers to participate. Head over to the Facebook event page for full details — and be sure to use our Facebook frame!

OCT
18
2017

NEWS ROUNDUP
email
print

Weekly Media Roundup: October 18, 2017

By Luci Manning

How Important Is Time? Upcoming Event Shines Light on After-School Program (Dothan Eagle, Alabama)

The Boys & Girls Club of Hawk-Houston is hoping to engage the Dothan community with its afterschool program by hosting its tenth annual Lights On Afterschool event next Thursday. “We want to shine a light on the importance of the afterschool program in the community,” CEO Altha Newman told the Dothan Eagle. “The program needs the support of the community for us to be able to grow it, to serve more kids and their families.” The club provides students with a safe environment between the hours of 3 PM and 6 PM, a place where they can work on homework, exercise and receive a healthy meal.

Henderson Children’s Center Draws Praise from Governor (Henderson Gleaner, Kentucky)

Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin visited the one-year-old Audubon Kids Zone last week to see the afterschool program in action. The program was founded a year ago in the poorest neighborhood of Henderson, according to the Gleaner, and aims to help students in need succeed academically and in life by building lasting relationships and supporting them in their goals. “This is a gem,” Bevin told the staff during his visit. “This should be celebrated and replicated in other communities.”

Little Free Library Has New Best Friend – Girl Scouts (Youth Today)

For the past several years, the nonprofit Little Free Library has helped bring free books to children and communities across the country, partly through a partnership with the Girl Scouts. More than 500 of the libraries that have been built were set up by Girl Scouts, according to Little Free Library program manager Margaret Aldrich. “Community service is a core value of Girl Scouting. Girl Scouts establishes a sense of learning for girls,” and they want to extend that to others, Girl Scouts of Southwest Texas chief development and communications office Stephanie Finleon Cortez told Youth Today.

Annual Lights On Afterschool Brings Law Enforcement and Kids Together (KNOP, Nebraska)

The North Platte Kids Klub at Wild Bills held its Lights On Afterschool celebration this past Friday. Youths in the program bowled and played laser tag with Lincoln County law enforcement officers, giving students the opportunity to build a positive relationship with police officers at a young age. “They help the community,” Kids Klub member Brooklyn Fries told KNOP. “They save the people who are getting hurt by bad guys.” 

OCT
17
2017

STEM
email
print

New AYPF article: 3 steps to afterschool STEM success

By Leah Silverberg

When making the case for afterschool STEM, one point often pops up: STEM learning experiences teach kids essential skills for their futures in college and careers. But how does that skill-building actually happen? And what strategies should afterschool programs use to harness it?

A new article from the American Youth Policy Forum (AYPF) highlights afterschool STEM programs that focus on career and college exploration initiatives. As part of STEM Ready America compendium, which features more than 40 authors, “Career and College Exploration in Afterschool Programs in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics” provides examples of afterschool and summer learning STEM programs that are preparing youth for their futures and supporting their engagement with the STEM field. Developed by STEM Next, with support from the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, STEM Ready America discusses the importance of access for quality STEM programs, the evidence behind these programs, and the partnerships that make STEM learning successful.

In the article, AYPF highlights the best practices of three afterschool and summer STEM programs that intentionally introduce students to STEM fields, prepare them to study or have a career in a STEM field, and build skills that will benefit them in the workforce. Looking at SHINE (Jim Thorpe, Pa.), EVOLUTIONS (New Haven, Conn.), and Project Exploration (Chicago, Ill.) AYPF concluded that successful programs:

share this link: http://bit.ly/2yoiq6T
learn more about: STEM College and Career Readiness
OCT
16
2017

IN THE FIELD
email
print

Meet Arielle Kahn, our new Special Assistant to the Executive Director

By Arielle Kahn

Hello! My name is Arielle Kahn and I am the new Special Assistant to the Executive Director at the Afterschool Alliance. I am so excited to channel my passion for educational equity into my work here at the Alliance. I firmly believe that quality afterschool experiences can put children on a path to success. I know that in my own experience, afterschool and extracurricular activities were most formative to my development. I was fortunate to participate in a variety of afterschool programs that shaped who I am today.

I graduated from Duke University last May, where I majored in Psychology, minored in Education, and completed the Child Policy Research certificate. My passion lies at the intersection of these three fields as they relate to the pressing issue of equity in educational opportunities. This issue has been important to me since my first internship experience, when I taught ten underserved elementary age students through a summer learning program run by the Children’s Defense Fund. The following summer I interned with the Alliance for a Healthier Generation in the Healthy Schools Program to combat childhood obesity as an impediment to academic success. A year later I interned at the U.S. Department of Education where I worked on President Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper Initiative to address opportunity gaps faced by boys and young men of color.

As Special Assistant, I will provide administrative and program support to the Executive Director, as well as work on special projects. I am enthusiastic about learning more about nonprofit management. Most of all, I believe in the work of the Alliance and am proud to work for an organization that works tirelessly to secure greater opportunities for children every day.

share this link: http://bit.ly/2yn6a6K
learn more about: Inside the Afterschool Alliance
OCT
13
2017

IN THE FIELD
email
print

Nominate a youth volunteer for the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards

By Charlotte Steinecke

For many middle and high school students, community service is a requirement for graduation—one that afterschool programs often assist with, giving students a chance to give back through volunteering, community beautification efforts, and tutoring younger students. As a result, afterschool programs often see young people going above and beyond the call to improve their communities!

Do you know an exemplary youth volunteer? Nominate them for the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards!

State Honorees: Two students in each state and the District of Columbia will be named State Honorees and receive $1,000, an engraved silver medallion, and an all-expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C. with a parent or guardian for a recognition event from April 28 to May 1, 2018.

America’s top youth volunteers: In D.C., a national selection committee will name 10 of the 102 State Honorees as America’s top youth volunteers of the year. Winners will receive additional awards of $5,000, gold medallions, trophies for their nominating schools or organizations, and $5,000 grants from The Prudential Foundation for nonprofit charitable organizations of their choice.

Distinguished finalists will receive bronze medallions and runners-up will receive Certificates of Excellence; local honorees will receive Certificates of Achievement.

Nominations run from now until November 7, 2017. To apply, complete the application and the student/parent agreement, then email or print and deliver instructions to your local certifier (school principal or head of a county 4-H organization, Girl Scout council, Americans Red Cross chapter, YMCA, or Affiliate of Points of Light’s HandsOn Network).

Best of luck to all applicants!

share this link: http://bit.ly/2yhPZrn
learn more about: Competition Youth Development Awards
OCT
12
2017

LIGHTS ON
email
print

Make the most of media at your Lights On Afterschool event

By Faith Savaiano

With Lights On Afterschool only two weeks away, many programs and coordinators are busy finalizing the creative and fun celebrations that will take place across the country. But while many afterschool providers are experts at planning engaging activities for large groups, all Lights On Afterschool events can stand to benefit from something that they might be less comfortable with: engaging the media. While the task of contacting media and news outlets sounds daunting, taking the time to publicize your Lights On event can be easy and contribute to an even more successful event.

Why should I reach out to my local media outlets?

One benefit of publicizing your Lights On event is obvious: more people will hear about it! Parents, educators, and relevant community figures that consume local media sources will be made aware of your event, which in turn will help drive buzz and boost attendance.

Furthermore, media coverage bolsters the reputation of your event; creating the precedent of a well-documented promotional push will help with event-planning in years to come as you try to attract more community partners and attention. Lights On Afterschool is a great time to build relationships with influential voices in the community; local media definitely count!  The connections you make this season can be pivotal players in future initiatives down the line.

OCT
11
2017

NEWS ROUNDUP
email
print

Weekly Media Roundup: October 11, 2017

By Luci Manning

Why Students Flip for Milton High’s Cirque-Inspired Classes (The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Georgia)

A unique elective at Milton High School is teaching students acrobatics and choreography based on the famous Cirque de Soleil circus performances after school. “My parents made me try out,” student Cole Dobbs told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “At first, I was like, no way am I going to dance around on stage in silly costumes. But then I joined (the Cirque club) and I have loved it. It is extremely physically demanding and it’s my favorite part of the day.” The program is run by Larry Smith, a cirque and theatre teacher at Milton High School, whose goal for students is to work as a team while being creatively and physically challenged.

Afterschool Program Offers Assistance to Children of Farm Workers (Chico Enterprise-Record, California)

The MiCasa afterschool tutoring program boosts the academic abilities and confidence of children in the Farm Labor Housing Development who may have trouble with their English language skills. The program has seen a lot of success: MiCASA students typically score up to 20 points higher than other English learners and are in the top 10 percent of their class. “We are very proud of the children coming out of that camp because this is what America is all about; opportunity and creating constructive members of society who can communicate well and comport themselves well and contribute to society,” Butte County Housing Authority Director Ed Mayer told the Chico Enterprise-Record. The program was honored with the Agency Champion award from United Way of Northern California last month for its success.

Arkansan Who is Part Owner of Washington Nationals Uses Sport to Help Children (Arkansas Online, Arkansas)

The Washington Nationals Youth Baseball Academy promotes sports-based skills that helps youth overcome poverty, improve their academics and more. “The objective is to really teach them life lessons through baseball,” Washington Nationals founding partner and Chairman of the Washington Nationals Youth Baseball Academy board of directors Rodney Slater told Arkansas Online. “We call them scholar-athletes because the emphasis is on scholarship. ... We also seek to positively impact their families as well.” Approximately 15,000 participants have been drawn to the thousands of events hosted since the Academy’s opening.

From Recycling to Stacking Books, Elementary School Students Lend Their 'Helping Hands' (Knoxville News Sentinel, Tennessee)

Helping Hands is a new afterschool program at Kid’s Place Sequoyah that teaches students about community and citizenship. Kindergarteners through fifth graders take part in community service activities like helping teachers at school and sorting through recyclables, showing students that it’s important to give back and serve others. Students “understand that regardless of your background, you might need some help one day… and that helping others is a part of life,” Kid’s Place at Sequoyah Director Dana Gamby told the Knoxville News-Sentinel.

share this link: http://bit.ly/2yeIdOG
learn more about: In The News Special Populations
OCT
10
2017

IN THE FIELD
email
print

Success Story: Girls on the Run

By Faith Savaiano

Twenty years ago in Charlotte, N.C., a young woman began the first Girls On the Run (GOTR) team as an individual effort. But when the program was covered in Runner’s World, a running-focused magazine, the demand for this girls-specific running program exploded. Today, GOTR has more than 200 councils across all 50 states, serving more than 200,000 girls each year.

The program’s rapid growth presented the young organization with the challenge and opportunity to develop a more structured curriculum, according to Dr. Heather Pressley, senior vice president of mission advancement.

“The team at headquarters realized that the organic growth was great but it was very fast, [and] we needed to look into the quality and consistency of the program across sites where it was being offered,” Pressley said. “We took the original concept of building confidence through running and created an intentional curriculum with measurable physical, social, emotional, and life skills outcomes.”