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
Blogs We Read Afterschool Snack Bloggers
Select blogger:
Snacks by Luci Manning
JUL
29

NEWS ROUNDUP
email
print

Weekly Media Roundup: July 29, 2015

By Luci Manning

High Schoolers Use Their Noodles at Engineering Summer Program (Washington Post, District of Columbia)

Local high school students spent a recent Friday morning putting their engineering skills to work by building bridges with dry spaghetti – and almost immediately destroying them. The teens in the Johns Hopkins University Engineering Innovation summer program were testing how much weight their noodles could support before collapsing. The engineering summer program aims to spark student interest in science by illustrating principles through hands-on projects, program director Karen Borgsmiller told the Washington Post. It’s an opportunity to explore how what they learn in their high school physics class applies to the real world. In addition to the spaghetti bridges, students in the program also build model cars and create traps to capture table-tennis balls.

Bringing Art to ‘Every Child’ (Sarasota Herald-Tribune, Florida)

More than 150 children are spending their summer exploring beat box music, Latin dance, drama, drumming and hip-hop through an eight-week summer program put on by the Association of Florida Teaching Artists. Each day, homeless and underserved students get lessons in music and the arts from local professionals in an attempt to broaden their artistic horizons, build their confidence and keep them learning throughout the summer in a creative, interactive way. On a recent day, kids recorded their own songs using instruments they built from various household items. “This is my passion and my heart,” executive director Mary Kelly told the Sarasota Herald-Tribune. “Because I feel every child deserves quality art experiences.”

CRUSADing for Kids: Activists Seek Support in Campaign Against Child Poverty (Marin Independent Journal, California)

The Hannah Project’s Freedom School is sparking the imagination of nearly 50 disadvantaged students this summer as they focus on how to alleviate global poverty. The summer enrichment program was created by the Children’s Defense Fund to encourage reading and build leadership skills among low-income youths. “The biggest thing for them is to see somebody who looks like them, who they can relate to, who have experienced the same things they’ve experienced,” Corey Meshack, a paid intern from Midland University in Nebraska, told the Marin Independent Journal. “Once they see that, it opens them up.” The focus on eradicating poverty isn’t just for the kids – the Children’s Defense Fund is also engaging parents in the crusade, encouraging them to reach out to policymakers in support of a number of initiatives that could reduce child poverty in Marin. 

Violence Prevention Plan Aims to Teach Young Boys (Knoxville News-Sentinel, Tennessee)

A new program at the YWCA Knoxville aims to teach middle-school boys how to identify violence and intervene.  GameChangers uses adult male mentors to teach middle school-age boys, primarily from urban areas, about different kinds of domestic violence, when and how to intervene and how to be advocates for women in their communities. YWCA violence prevention project coordinator Hannah Brinson told the Knoxville News-Sentinel that she hopes the program will “give them a positive male role model, someone who can offer them that different perspective of healthy masculinity and what it means to be a man.” The first group of boys is already meeting, and new groups will start next month as part of the YWCA’s afterschool program.

share this link: http://bit.ly/1IL39gp
learn more about: Science Summer Learning Arts Youth Development
Comments: (0)
JUL
22

NEWS ROUNDUP
email
print

Weekly Media Roundup: July 22, 2015

By Luci Manning

Karate Kids: Students Learn Self-Defense (Jackson Sun, Tennessee)

Jackson students are getting a workout and learning strategies for self-defense and crisis management in the Fudoskinka Dojo’s karate summer program. Throughout the summer, kids learn the history of various forms of martial arts, watch classic martial arts movies and practice origami and calligraphy. Each morning starts with tai chi, a Chinese martial art that promotes good cardiovascular, respiratory and central nervous systems health. “What I have witnessed is that kids who have a regular cardiovascular program… I find that it’s a lot easier for them to concentrate when they’re physically pushed,” sensei and program leader Sherwin Moore told the Jackson Sun. The karate lessons continue throughout the year as an afterschool program with a focus on academics – students with good grades can win prizes from the “Dojo Store.”

Canton Man Invites Summer School Group to Fishing Pond (Ogdensburg Journal, New York)

Some 30 kids had the opportunity to fish for perch, bullhead and large and small mouth bass in a man-made pond as part of the three-week Cornell Cooperative Extension of St. Lawrence County Summer Fishing Camp. This is the third year William Locy has hosted the summer program at his private pond, which he stocked with a wide variety of fish for their visit. “You have a life experience on how to fish and how to catch fish and get them off the hook,” student Isaac LaRock told the Ogdensburg Journal. “I really like it.” All the kids relished having the chance to get away from school for a day and learn a new life skill they can carry with them for years.

Summer Chess Camp Hooks Local Kids on the Game (Chambersburg Public Opinion, Pennsylvania)

Teacher James Doyle has spent his summer teaching Franklin county students the tactics and strategies of how to defeat their opponent in a chess match. The twice-weekly summer chess camp is a pilot program that has allowed about 20 students to learn the game and improve their skills by playing with peers. The program gives students a productive way to spend lazy summer days and can provide a boost to their critical thinking and problem-solving skills. “(The game) helps build focus and concentration, even in children who have trouble sitting still and concentrating on tasks,” Doyle told the Chambersburg Public Opinion. Although currently Doyle only runs a summer program, he’d like to see chess integrated into local curricula, and hopes to open an afterschool chess club for all area students this year.

Young Readers Revel at Superhero Training Camp (Sierra Vista Herald, Arizona)

More than 90 kids channeled their inner superhero at Sierra Vista Library’s Superhero Training Camp this weekend, participating in hero-centric crafts, games and challenges as part of the library’s summer reading program. The library has been hosting special weekend activities and regular reading events in line with the year’s theme – “Every Hero Has a Story” – to keep kids reading throughout the summer. “It’s about preventing kids from falling into what we call the summer slide, where they basically fall behind in the summer because they don’t keep up with their reading,” librarian Sierra Baril told the Sierra Vista Herald

share this link: http://bit.ly/1LDn53J
learn more about: Health and Wellness Rural Summer Learning
Comments: (0)
JUL
15

NEWS ROUNDUP
email
print

Weekly Media Roundup: July 15, 2015

By Luci Manning

Alice Cooper Unveils Computer Lab at Teen Center (Arizona Republic, Arizona)

Rock star Alice Cooper’s Solid Rock Teen Center recently opened a new technology center to enhance the center’s afterschool tutoring program and give disadvantaged teens better access to technology. In addition to the computer lab, the teen center provides music, dance and cooking lessons as well as vocational training in the arts and entertainment industries. “What we want is for kids to have a creative outlet,” Cooper told the Arizona Republic. “Not all of them are gonna be players or dancers…. As long as there’s some creativity going on, that’s the ticket.” Since its opening in 2012, the center draws about 100 teens a week. According to Cooper, they’re currently planning to build a full art studio and a recording studio.

Anacostia Vending Machines Provide a New Snack: Free Children’s Books (Washington Post, District of Columbia)

Children in the Southeast Washington neighborhood of Anacostia are getting more than junk food from the Salvation Army community center’s newest vending machine. The machine, funded by JetBlue airlines, aims to dispense about 100,000 free books this summer to kids under the age of 14. Anacostia has one of the District’s lowest literacy rates and is a “book desert,” with only one age-appropriate children’s book for every 830 kids. JetBlue hopes the machine will be a creative tool to help close that literacy gap. “We wanted to do something that made kids wants to read, and want books,” JetBlue director of corporate responsibility Icema Gibbs told the Washington Post. “This way, they come to the machine, they choose what they like, instead of us deciding what they get and when they can get it.”

Manatee County Children Clean Up 32 Pounds of 'Unseen' Trash at Coquina Bayside (Bradenton Herald, Florida)

About 100 students and volunteers from various summer programs learned a lesson about environmental stewardship last week when they cleaned up 32 pounds of trash and more than 16 pounds of recyclable material at Coquina Bayside on Anna Maria Island. The goal of the 90-minute cleanup, organized by the Nature Academy, was to show kids how much of an impact even “unseen” trash and pollution can have on animals and the environment. In addition, it helped teach them a lesson about personal responsibility. “The environment is like your room, only bigger,” 11-year-old Cayenne Adams told the Bradenton Herald. “You have to keep it clean even if you have a brother or sister that’s making the mess.”

Ag Business 101: Cortez Middle School Students Learn the Business Side of Farming (Cortez Journal, Colorado)

Nine middle school students are learning the ins-and-outs of farming production as part of the four-week Youth Farmers Market Apprentice Program. Throughout the summer, kids will tend an acre of row crops, create budgets, set prices and schedule vegetable harvests. Whatever money the students make selling their produce at the local farmers market will go toward $100 stipends for each participant. “Our hope is that these students choose to be in the Ag elective next year, be advocates for the garden and really help spread enthusiasm,” Cortez Middle School farm production coordinator Danyel Mezzanatto told the Cortez Journal

share this link: http://bit.ly/1Dho5nq
learn more about: Science Service Arts Literacy
Comments: (0)
JUL
8

NEWS ROUNDUP
email
print

Weekly Media Roundup: July 8, 2015

By Luci Manning

Students Add Creativity to NOTO Mosaic (Topeka Capital-Journal, Kansas)

About 35 students turned a nondescript concrete retaining wall in front of the NOTO Arts Center into a colorful, creative work of art last week, placing pieces of cut tile and mirror in various animal shapes to form a mosaic. The students are part of the Quincy Elementary School Summer STREAM (science, technology, reading, engineering, art and math) program, which focuses on developing reading skills, problem-solving and creativity and in young kids. Each day, the students spend 45 minutes reading, take field trips and participate in theme-based activities, including the NOTO Arts Camp. It exposes them to a wide range of hands-on learning experiences like creating the NOTO mosaic, which many of them enjoyed. “I like this, because I get messy,” fourth-grader Danniell Johnson told the Topeka Capital-Journal. “It’s so fun to put it on the wall.”

Keeping Young Minds Active (Daily Ardmoreite, Oklahoma)

Nearly 400 children are getting the typical summer camp treatment at St. Mary Catholic Church, participating in arts, crafts, music drama and games. But instructors are sneaking in math and language arts skills to campers in between all these fun activities. “It is summer and we want the kids to enjoy what we are teaching them,” instructor Ashley Huggins told the Daily Ardmoreite. The camp hopes kids will find the fun in learning as they read stories, put together fairy tale mad libs and take part in service learning projects like Color Me a Smile, where campers create cheerful drawings for senior citizens, and writing thank-you letters to troops overseas.

Hartford Police Officers Rap with Youths to Erode Stereotypes (New York Times, Connecticut)

A music program in Hartford is breaking down barriers between young men of color and police officers. The 12-week program, known as Good Vibrations, brought together about 20 mostly black or Hispanic middle school boys and six police officers for guitar and rap lessons. At the start of the program, the officers mostly just observed the class from the sidelines; as the weeks went on, they became more involved, joining in on the guitar sessions and contributing lyrics to the rap songs. “I thought police officers were just to catch bad guys and be in a bad tone,” 12-year-old Kayke Lopes told the New York Times. “But these guys are awesome… They do stuff with us. They help us. They give us advice and everything.” The program will continue through the summer and expand to include up to 60 boys and 15 officers in the fall.

Cooking Camp Gives Hands-on Lessons to Children (Twin Falls Times-News, Idaho)

Children from the Boys & Girls Clubs of Magic Valley learned to cook in a week-long summer camp through the University of Idaho extension’s Eat Smart Idaho program, according to the Twin Falls Times-News. Each day, the kids received a cooking lesson and produced culinary creations like smoothies, hummus and mini pizzas. For the hummus lesson, they had a chance to mash garbanzo beans, grate a lemon and peel garlic. They also learned about hand washing, flavors, fruits and vegetables, breakfast foods and the government’s MyPlate nutrition guidelines. 

share this link: http://bit.ly/1J56EbM
learn more about: Nutrition Summer Learning Arts
Comments: (0)
JUL
1

NEWS ROUNDUP
email
print

Weekly Media Roundup  July 1, 2015

By Luci Manning

Durango Girls Learn Elements of Science at Maker Camp (Durango Herald, Colorado)

Some girls use electric mixers to create cookies and cupcakes; the girls in the Girls Only DIY + Maker Camp, on the other hand, dismantle them to make steampunk jewelry. The camp, part of several weeklong sessions scheduled throughout the summer, encourages the girls to channel their inner inventor. “They begin to self-identify,” instructor Leisha Lawson told the Durango Herald. “At the end of the week it’s, ‘Oh, that’s what a scientist looks like – it’s me.” In addition to taking apart blenders and miniature cars, the girls made ‘cyborg masks’ out of paper-mâché-covered balloons.

Students Create Environmental Public Service Announcements (Austin American-Statesman, Texas)

Students in the Smithville ACE afterschool program are educating their community about how to dispose of household hazardous waste through creative public service announcements. Two students’ video ideas were chosen from more than 100 students who participated in a poster and essay contest about environmental messaging. One video, a 1920s-inspired silent film, depicts a villainous “Dastardly Dan” dumping hazardous waste into a river before the hero “Clean-up Kid” nurses harmed woodland creatures back to health. “All the students did an outstanding job,” afterschool technology instructor John Dees told the Austin American-Statesman. “They worked hard to learn about recycling and communicate their environmental message through posters and essays.”

Blog Connects Kids to Nature (Salem Gazette, Massachusetts)

Thirty Salem students spent the past year learning about the wonders of the natural world located right in their backyard. Kids in the Expanding Horizons afterschool program’s Outdoor Science Adventure section took field trips to parks and conservation areas throughout Salem then shared their findings with the world through the program’s blog. In addition to learning more about nature, ecology and the layout of their city, students gained leadership skills by managing the blog and participating in other aspects of the program. “Each student takes on different jobs – editor, photographer, safety… equipment manager and sketch artists,” Jessica Kagle, founder and director of Kestrel Educational Adventures, which runs the program, told the Salem Gazette. “We give them all different avenues to find their strength in the team.”

FUNdamental (Newton Kansan, Kansas)

Fourth and fifth graders at Latchkey’s summer program recently got the chance to experiment with ‘flubber,’ a thick goo-like substance they created out of water, glue and borax. They poked and prodded the goo to see what kind of noises it would make, smiling and laughing the whole time. The most positive thing we do is keep them up on the educational things,” afterschool instructor Nicki Van Der Weg told the Newton Kansan. “They don’t lose that over the summer.” The program rotates children through creative learning stations in science, art and reading, allowing students to build social skills, character and knowledge while playing and learning in a safe and fun environment. “

share this link: http://bit.ly/1T77T1a
learn more about: Digital Learning Science
Comments: (0)
JUN
24

NEWS ROUNDUP
email
print

Weekly Media Roundup  June 24, 2015

By Luci Manning

Louisiana Afterschool Programs Not Meeting Demand, Survey Says (Alexandria Town Talk, Louisiana)

Parents across Louisiana are having trouble finding afterschool and summer learning programs for their kids, according to the Afterschool Alliance’s America After 3PM survey. By extending the day during the school year and into the summer, quality programs supplement what schools already provide and help augment student learning, United Way of Central Louisiana president and CEO David Britt said. Many area programs are already doing a good job, but Louisiana needs more high-quality programs to meet demand. "The community has got to step up and help," Britt told the Alexandria Town Talk. "There's more the community can do to align learning with what schools already are doing and have a big impact on student learning."

Valley Organization Connects Families with Affordable Summer Camps (KPHO, Arizona)

With summer camp season in full swing, many parents are struggling to find places for their children to spend summer vacation. "We see far more families expressing interest in having their children enrolled in summer programs than are actually able to participate now," Afterschool Alliance vice president of research and policy Jen Rinehart told KPHO. To fill the gap, groups like the Arizona Center for Afterschool Excellence are working to place children in affordable summer learning programs that provide a safe place, positive relationships and learning opportunities.

Letter: Summer Learning Is Important (Walla Walla Union-Bulletin, Washington)

Afterschool Ambassador Brent Cummings penned a letter to the editor of the Walla Walla Union-Bulletin touting the benefits of local summer learning programs: “At Walla Walla Public Schools’ 21st Century summer programs, children get a heavy dose of exercise for both the mind and brain, giving kids opportunities for fun, interactive learning such as robotics camps, building drones and quad-copters, creating movies and TV shows, programming and testing self-created video games, and designing and 3-D printing board game pieces…. On behalf of all our students and their families, please spread the word about the importance of high quality, accessible summer learning programs.”

Letter: Summer Fun Benefits (Kansas City Star, Missouri)

Afterschool Ambassador Kim Chappelow-Lee wrote a letter to the editor of the Kansas City Star about how her summer learning program improves students’ physical health and academic abilities: “Keeping minds and bodies engaged during the summer goes a long way toward avoiding what researchers call summer learning loss…. At the Johnson County Park & Recreation District, children get plenty of exercise, which fuels both body and brain, along with opportunities for fun interactive learning, including: STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math), gardening, field trips, community service, environmental education, social interaction and lots of fresh air. Unfortunately, there just aren’t enough programs to go around.”

share this link: http://bit.ly/1Gqqf5q
learn more about:
Comments: (0)
JUN
17

NEWS ROUNDUP
email
print

Weekly Media Roundup  June 17, 2015

By Luci Manning

Program Guides Students Through Boat Building Using Academics (WPVI, Pennsylvania)  

Local middle school and high school students capped off their boat-building afterschool program by launching two handcrafted duck boats into the Delaware River last week. The SAILOR Program (Science and Art Innovative Learning on the River) uses traditional boat building and nautical education to advance proficiency in STEM subjects. Students worked with shipwright mentors and STEM instructors at the Independence Seaport Museum for 33 weeks to design and craft the boats. “It’s a really dynamic program where they build the boat, but by building the boat they’re really learning about STEM, and really hands-on and fun and engaging way,” organizer Jennifer Totora told WPVI.  

Roosevelt Students Enjoy Hands-on Ag Experience (Scottsbluff Star-Herald, Nebraska)  

Nearly 100 third, fourth and fifth graders recently had the chance to learn about how agriculture affects their daily lives through the inaugural 4-H Ag Literacy program. The students toured six stations at the research center focused on animals, soil science, how insects affect agriculture, careers and more. The Ag Literacy program fits well with the Roosevelt Elementary School summer extended day program’s goal to focus on math, writing, reading and science, according to Principal Jana Mason. “The students were excited and learned a lot,” she told the Star-Herald. “This is the first year with the extended day program, and the Ag Literacy provides more opportunities for the students to make real world connections.”  

Marco YMCA’s Wonder Girls Program Includes Growth in Surprising Ways (Naples Herald, Florida)  

“I learned that you need to accept who you are and how to make the right choices socially, like who your friends are, and how to eat right and surround yourself with good people that make you feel good about yourself.”  This is a testimonial from a young woman who participated in Wonder Girls, a 12-week afterschool program teaching middle school girls how to be healthier, inside and out, the Naples Herald reports.  Thanks to Wonder Girls, a partnership between the Greater Marco Family YMCA and Marco Island Charter Middle School, these young women gained self-confidence, insight into themselves and others and knowledge about healthy living. Organizers are so pleased with the success of the program that they’re offering it again in the fall and plan to launch a version for males, Wonder Boys, next spring. 

Baltimore Program Tackles Roots of Unrest (Voice of America News, Maryland) 

Promise Heights, an academic-community partnership, is using four public schools as hubs to deliver nurturing, wraparound services to students, families and their communities in West Baltimore. These community schools aim to mitigate the detrimental effects extreme poverty can have on kids and their parents through services like prenatal care, tutoring and parental counseling. Executive director Bronwyn Mayden says Promise Heights schools are suspending fewer students than their counterparts, gains she attributes in part to expanded learning days and afterschool programs. The partnership strives to create a supportive environment at school and home so as to improve impoverished students’ learning abilities. “We work with those social-emotional factors… so their little brains are ready to receive the instruction that their educators are giving them,” social worker Henriette Taylor told Voice of America News.

share this link: http://bit.ly/1R9q1EI
learn more about: Health and Wellness Science Community Partners
Comments: (0)
JUN
10

NEWS ROUNDUP
email
print

Weekly Media Roundup  June 10, 2015

By Luci Manning

Internet Rapper Mingles with Jersey City Afterschool Program Students (Jersey Journal, New Jersey)

Internet phenomenon Kevin “DJ Lil Man” Brown, also known as Mr. New Jersey, recently dropped in on St. Peters University’s afterschool program, where he was greeted by dozens of frenzied, excited students. According to the Jersey Journal Brown led the students in an altered game of musical chairs, where the winner had to answer a history question before receiving a $20 prize, and a dance contest. Afterwards, he stuck around to take pictures with the students. In addition to hosting celebrity guests, the afterschool and summer program offers kids a number of fun activities each year – last summer they performed step routines and directed and acted in TV commercials promoting products they had created.

Lincoln Students Race to Improve Reading Skills (Mason City Globe Gazette, Iowa)

Sixty-five fifth- and sixth-graders finished their nine-week commitment to read and exercise more with the Lincoln Intermediate Read and Run 5K last week. Sixth grade literacy instructor Kathleen Nutt told the Globe Gazette that she decided to develop Read and Run after learning that students often show improved academic performance after exercising. Participants in the afterschool program prepared for the race using the Couch to 5K training plan, then spent a half-hour reading. First-place finisher Christian Rodriguez said the program has helped him improve his reading scores, and he credits his math teacher’s encouragement to “push to do better than I know I can” with keeping him motivated throughout the race.

New Boise Partnership Will Bring Produce Along with the Fun and Games (Idaho Statesman, Idaho)

Each summer, a van known as the Mobile Recreation Unit travels through lower-income Boise neighborhoods and provides free, supervised, drop-in activities for kids who don’t have access to programs near their homes. This year, the Mobile Rec van is teaming up with the Boise Farmers Market to offer those neighborhoods another helpful service: farm-fresh produce. While the kids play, their parents will be able to shop for farm-fresh produce from a refrigerated mobile market traveling alongside the van, according to the Idaho Statesman. The two programs are working together to promote Boise’s initiative to curb childhood obesity.

At Santa Monica PAL, Youth Chefs Get a Taste for Success (Santa Monica Daily Press, California)

The Santa Monica Police Activities League’s afterschool cooking class has high school students producing everything from pasta and rice dishes to salads to flatbread pizzas and grilled kabob skewers. The culinary arts program not only teaches kids to make quick, healthful meals, but also aims to foster self-sufficiency, keep young people engaged afterschool and nurture their development as upstanding citizens. Students recently showed off what they’ve learned by cooking a meal for dozens of donors and community members, whipping up dishes like chicken piccata, salmon and spinach cannelloni. Program supervisor Karen Humphrey said she hopes the students continue to use these skills outside the classroom to keep themselves and their families healthy. “My hope is that they continue to cook at home,” she told the Santa Monica Daily Press. “We want the kids to be able to cook food for their entire family.” 

share this link: http://bit.ly/1TbG4Wx
learn more about:
Comments: (0)