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DEC
14
2017

IN THE FIELD
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How afterschool can support school meals: 3 activities

By Guest Blogger

By Daniel W. Hatcher, MPH, director of Community Partnerships at Alliance for a Healthier Generation.This article was original published on December 5, 2017 on the Healthy Out-of-School Time New & Notable blog.

Partnerships between school and afterschool educators are essential to ensure our community health efforts are sustained.

On November 29, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) published a new School Meal Flexibility Rule that will weaken nutrition standards aimed at reducing sodium and increasing whole grains for meals provided under the USDA’s National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs.

Afterschool programs that voluntarily adopted the National AfterSchool Association Standards for Healthy Eating and Physical Activity have the potential to be impacted by any weakening of school nutrition standards. In particular, if their school oversees the afterschool snack and meal program.

Below are three ways afterschool leaders can share their voice for healthy school meals while championing the power of afterschool.

Write a letter to the editor of your local paper

Shout your hard work creating healthy afterschool from the rooftop! Share the story of how your program is bringing the National AfterSchool Association Standards for Healthy Eating and Physical Activity to life.

Writing and submitting a letter is simpler than you think! Check out Tips on Writing Letters to the Editor.

Submit a comment on the flexibility rule

As someone who works directly with children and families, you voice is important. Share your feedback and questions with the USDA by January 29, 2018 using the online comment form. Five minutes is all it takes to share your essential perspective!

Encourage families to go on a #CafeteriaDate

In addition to these three tips, encourage families to schedule a time to go on a “cafeteria date” with their child. Want to learn more about this campaign and why building a relationship with your school lunchroom is so important? Visit http://www.thelunchtray.com/cafeteriadate/ and share your experience by using the hashtag #cafeteriadate.

DEC
13
2017

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup: December 13, 2017

By Luci Manning

Contest Pitting Students Against JPL Engineers Draws a Vast Pool of Contenders (La Cañada Valley Sun, California)

Students from around the world, including those in Los Angeles afterschool programs, faced off against teams of engineers from La Cañada’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory last week as part of JPL’s annual Invention Challenge, an initiative meant to inspire future STEM professionals. This year’s challenge was to build a device that could load ten plastic balls into a tub six meters away within one minute, according to the La Cañada Valley Sun. “Being at JPL has brought [engineering] into my horizon,” 16-year-old participant Cristian Bonilla said. “Even though we didn’t do as great as other people, it feels great to have come this far.”

Community Schools a New Tradition for Education (Las Cruces Sun-News, New Mexico)

Mary Parr-Sanchez, Truancy and Dropout Prevention Coach at Las Cruces Public Schools, and David Greenberg, Education Initiative Director at Ngage New Mexico, praise the community schools model in the Las Cruces Sun-News: “For many years, community schools have been expanding the role of schools. Instead of shutting down in the evenings, weekends and summers, community schools have remained open to serve a variety of needs…. Community schools are not about doing something ‘to’ a school, but supporting a school and community to facilitate change from within…. We are grateful that local leadership on our School Board and City Council are moving this work forward so that in the near future, every child will have opportunity to attend a community school.”

Church to Pick Up the Tab for After-School Care (Eastern Express Times, Pennsylvania)

The Life Church has offered to pay for an afterschool program at Paxinosa Elementary School to offer disadvantaged students enrichment opportunities and give a break to their working parents. The Easton Area School District is now looking for an organization to run the program, without having to worry about costs. “We felt called there,” church spokeswoman Tara Craig told the Eastern Express Times. “We feel it’s where we’re supposed to be and are excited to see it happen.”

‘Three Little Pigs’ Tale Helps Teach North Charleston Kids Money Smarts (Post & Courier, South Carolina)

An afterschool reading program in North Charleston recently added financial literacy to its curriculum, to teach children how to manage their finances at an early age. The Felix Pinckney Community Center drew lessons from stories like “Three Little Pigs” to teach students about the importance of saving money and sharing with those in need. Dorothea Bernique, founder of the Increasing H.O.P.E. Financial Training Center, told the Post & Courier, “It’s not about the amount, but establishing a new behavior that can literally change your life and help break that cycle of poverty.” 

DEC
12
2017

FUNDING
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Grants up to $100,000 for middle school OST programs

By Ursula Helminski

The New York Life Foundation is seeking applicants for $1,050,000 in grants to middle school afterschool, summer or expanded learning programs serving disadvantaged youth. This is the second year of the Aim High grant competition. In all, 26 awardees will be selected based on their ability to help youth transition successfully to 9th grade. Programs may apply to one of three opportunities - take a look to see which is a good fit for you, and apply!

Grant categories:

  • $100,000 over two years – 8 awards to be made to organizations with annual budgets of $500,000 or greater and annual program budgets of $250,000 or greater
  • $50,000 over two years – 8 awards to be made to organizations with annual budgets of $250,000 or greater
  • $15,000 one-year grant – 10 awards will be made to programs to help them better serve with disabilities or special needs; applicants must have annual budgets of $150,000 or greater

Read the full application and eligibility requirements, and join our webinar on January 11 at 2 p.m. ET to learn more about this opportunity. Applications are due January 26, 2018.

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learn more about: Funding Opportunity
DEC
8
2017

STEM
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Webinar recap: Tools, ideas, and strategies for creative computing in afterschool

By Melissa Ballard

Providing students with the tools and knowledge they need to become creators of technology, not just consumers, is a growing priority for afterschool programs across the country. Many are building from the ground up and running into issues like identifying technology, tools, and curricula to meet their goals. Additionally, it can be challenging to train and support facilitators—either afterschool educators or other community volunteers.

In our webinar on Wednesday, December 6, two inspiring speakers working on these issues presented insights and resources: Sarah Carter, from SciGirls, shared tips on choosing tools and developing curricula, and Ricarose Roque, of the University of Colorado, Boulder, shared her model for family engagement called Family Creative Learning. To get the full experience, watch the recording and view the presentation slides. Be sure to check out the hashtag #CSEdweek to see all the conversations happening on social media!

Getting clear on definitions and goals

There are a litany of terms used when talking about creating technology—"computer science," "coding" or "programming," "computing," "tech skills," "media literacy," and more! Our speakers told us that being specific and intentional about using these terms, particularly when defining your program’s focus and goals, is incredibly important. It is key to think about what’s most appropriate for the out-of-school time environment and ensure that we meet youth development or other philosophical goals.

For example, Sarah explained that the approach to her current project, SciGirls Code, is shaped by a blend of computational thinking and connected learning principles, and is founded on the SciGirls Seven, a set of research-based gender equity strategies. Ricarose has developed the concept of “Computational Creators”, which means the goal is for students is to be able to use computing to create things they care about, develop identities as creators, and see the ways they can shape the world. All educators should spend some time considering the vary approaches and frameworks out there to determine the best approach for their students and community needs.

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learn more about: STEM Computer Science Girls Webinars
DEC
7
2017

STEM
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Promising practices: Hybrid tech/analog system grows STEM mentoring

By Charlotte Steinecke

Keshia Ashe and a student at Tubman Elementary

During CS Ed Week, we wanted to highlight an initiative that pushes the envelope on excellence in computer science and STEM. Keshia Ashe, the co-founder and chief executiver officer of ManyMentors, sat down to talk about afterschool, STEM mentoring, and fostering the growth of underrepresented communities in the STEM field.

In 2011, Keshia Ashe didn’t know she was starting a business. She just knew she saw a problem.

A graduate student at the time, Ashe was mentoring a group of tenth graders, many of whom were interested in pursuing medical school once they graduated. She reached out to friends in the field but kept hearing a familiar story.

“A lot of my friends said, ‘I can’t come, I’m busy, I don’t have the time to drive an hour to interface with the students,’” Ashe recalls. “At the time, Skype was really starting to gain some traction and not have so many technical difficulties, so my friends would Skype into the classroom to talk to the students. That’s really the nucleation site of ManyMentors. It was me trying to solve a problem with the students I was working directly with.”

ManyMentors is an organization that connects younger people to older people in the science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields, using a hybrid strategy that combines face-to-face monthly mentoring meetings coordinated by onsite chapters with a mobile app that promotes sustained communication between mentors and mentees. In addition to more than 400 onsite mentors at six universities in Connecticut, New Hampshire, and New York, ManyMentors is opening a cohort of chapters in the D.C. region, with students from University of Maryland, Howard University, George Washington, George Mason University, and more.

DEC
6
2017

CHALLENGE
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Weekly Media Roundup: December 6, 2017

By Luci Manning

New Club Allows Urbandale Students to Use Lessons in the Real World (WHO, Iowa)

Urbandale High school senior Maya Sims wanted to make a difference in her community, so she created a new afterschool program focused on giving back. Hope in Action gives students the opportunity to participate in community service projects, like creating a free library in a local neighborhood and working with the Iowa Youth Homeless Center. “When we talk about spreading hope, what we are really talking about is social responsibility, and just recognizing we as human beings have the responsibility to take care of each other,” Sims told WHO.

Springfield Students Will Learn How to Talk to Computers in New Course (Springfield News-Sun, Ohio)

This month, the Career Connected Center’s Maker Space afterschool program is offering a course on computer coding and computer sciences based on the Hour of Code. The program will give students an advantage in future careers by teaching them about computation communication and the basics of how computers work. “We have different themes, and it teaches different concepts in the STEM field,” Career Connect ED program coordinator Rene Stratton told the Springfield News-Sun. “You need it in all aspects of life, whatever your job is.”

Dawson After-School Program Opens Christmas Store for Kids (WALB, Georgia)

The Positive Direction afterschool program got into the holiday spirit last Monday by opening its 13th Annual Spirit of Christmas store. Students in fourth grade and younger received up to three gifts from the event, and older students were given gift cards to spend on gifts during an upcoming field trip. The gifts were supplied by Toys “R” Us and local businesses. “They are so excited, in fact when they choose their gifts today they want to take them home right then, but we can't let them take them home. And for us, as well as the children, the impact it has made on us and the children, it is just phenomenal,” Executive Director Dorothy Tomlin told WALB

Mentoring Program for Former Foster Children Celebrates Two-Year Anniversary (KETV, Nebraska)

Foster teenagers and young adults are learning fundamental job skills and customer service as employees of The Bike Union and Coffee. The bike repair and coffee shop is a nonprofit providing health and wellness, mindfulness training, cooking classes, a book club and more for its young employees. Participants commit to working for one year with 20 hours of work and activities each week, all focused on how to live a successful life. “When they're finished, you'll notice a change. For example, when you first met at their interview, their posture was very sunken in and they didn't make a lot of eye contact. When they leave, they sit up straight and they look everyone in the eye,” program manager Curtis Wilson told KETV.

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learn more about: Computer Science In The News
DEC
5
2017

IN THE FIELD
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Los Angeles afterschool program builds 'a world fit for kids!'

By Matt Freeman

25 years ago, riots exploded in South Central Los Angeles in the wake of the acquittal of four police officers charged with beating a prostrate taxi driver named Rodney King. The event called attention to issues of race and economic inequities, one element of which was cutbacks in the L.A. school system that had resulted in the elimination of physical education and other programs.

From the ashes of the riot grew an innovative afterschool program called A World Fit for Kids! (WFIT), whose leaders were determined to give inner-city youth opportunities for physical fitness, wellness and self-esteem programming that had been lost to budget cuts. In the 25 years since, the program has touched the lives of more than 460,000 children and family members in the city, encouraging them to make healthy decisions over the course of their lives. Along the way, it has pioneered a research-based training model called Mentors in MotionSM that prepares high school “Coach-Mentors” to work with elementary and middle school children, helping both age groups achieve health and fitness goals and develop strategies for success in all aspects of their lives.

“We believe physical activity is a vital tool for personal growth,” says Normandie Nigh, the program’s CEO. “Traditional programs usually emphasize competitive sports and stand-alone recreational activities. But we take a more comprehensive approach, training our staff and Coach-Mentors to address the whole child by linking healthy bodies with healthy minds. We train them to help students increase their self-awareness, improve their capacity to self-manage, and take greater responsibility for the decisions they make.”

DEC
4
2017

FUNDING
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Up to $500 for creative programs from the Ezra Jack Keats Foundation

By Charlotte Steinecke

The Ezra Jack Keats Foundation is offering funding of up to $500 to design and implement a creative program for your school or library! Public schools, public libraries, and public preschool programs are encouraged to apply.

Previous successful projects have included a public story walk, a multicultural portrait project, a school garden, a bookmaking workshop, and an intergenerational storytelling day. Find more inspiration at the great mini-grant program gallery!

To apply, head over to the How to Apply for a Mini-Grant page. Watch the instruction video, read through the do’s and don’ts, and complete your online application by March 31, 2018.

Learn more at the FAQ page.

Looking for more funding opportunities? Check out our revamped Afterschool Funding Database! We’ve added new features so you can see when an entry was last updated and when the deadline is closing, as well as a host of new grant opportunities.