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SEP
27
2017

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup: September 27, 2017

By Luci Manning

Georgia Students Learn Pre-Engineering as They Revamp Shipping Containers for Haiti (Youth Today, Georgia)

Marietta High School students in the school’s civil engineering club and afterschool design class are designing a community center out of shipping containers to help communities in Haiti. The designs will include features like solar panels, a rainwater harvesting system and a waste recycling system. Teacher Leon Grant and local architects will work with students to build the structures, while also teaching basic engineering principles. “I want a creative environment where young people can utilize [the math and science] they learn,” Grant told Youth Today. While the designs will be sent along to Haiti, the structure will remain at the school as an innovation laboratory for future students.

Green Bay's Boys & Girls Club to Open College and Career Center (WFRV, Wisconsin)

Last Friday, the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Green Bay opened their new College and Career Center for Teens to give young people a safe space to learn and explore future job opportunities. "Teens get a bad reputation, but they are up against some horrific odds. So, we knew a space needed to be made just for them where they can feel heard, motivated, encouraged, and like someone believes in them,” Club Director of Communications Stephanie Nespoli told WFRV. The center will offer internship and job placement services; provide free tutoring, job training, workforce etiquette lessons and academic mentoring; and give students the chance to listen to guest speakers, go on college visits and shadow adults in various industries.

Death of A’yanna Allen Sparks Local Girls to Create a Program to Help Youths Learn Life Skills (Salisbury Post, North Carolina)

A new afterschool program started by three nine-year-old girls aims to solve violence and improve life skills for children in the Salisbury community. A Bridge 4 Kids was started by three elementary school students in response to the death of their seven-year-old cousin, A’yanna Allen. “We are trying to get kids out of the streets. We don’t want them to be a follower but be a leader,” co-founder Invy Robinson told the Salisbury Post. The program includes three stages with unique goals and programming geared towards different age groups. “We want them to be able to get a job instead of fight,” co-founder India Robinson said.

Kids Learn to Grow Together (Great Falls Tribune, Montana)

An afterschool and summer gardening program is hoping to increase access to fresh foods for Westside Community residents and promote healthy eating habits among youths. Students in the Sunburst Unlimited gardening program maintain a community garden, learn about gardening techniques like composting and bring home the produce they’ve grown to share with their families. “Watching them brush off the dirt, take a bite and then to see their eyes light up – they like vegetables,” Sunburst Unlimited Director Mike Dalton told the Great Falls Tribune. “That’s what makes my heart smile. To see their joy exploring out in the garden every day.”

SEP
20
2017

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup: September 20, 2017

By Luci Manning

Best Speaks in Support of After-School Programs (Branson Tri-Lakes News, Missouri)

Last Tuesday, Branson Mayor Karen Best spoke at a congressional briefing organized by the Afterschool Alliance in support of federal funding for afterschool programs. Best emphasized afterschool programming’s benefits for childhood development. “I firmly believe if you have a passion, it’s your duty and obligation to fight for that passion,” Best told Branson Tri-Lakes News. “As the mayor of Branson, it’s my obligation to fight for the kids in our community.” After the panel, Best had a chance to meet with Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) and Reps. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Billy Long (R-Mo.) and Ann Wagner (R-Mo.).

SHINE for Girls: Middle School Students Dance Their Way to Better Math Scores (Pensacola News Journal, Florida)

The SHINE for Girls program aims to inspire confidence and improve math scores for middle school girls by helping them learn through dance. The program is run by two Pensacola High School seniors and gives students the opportunity to partake in interactive lessons rather than working through books or worksheets. “The idea of our program is to make it so that girls are able to do math problems and to know that just because they don’t understand right now doesn’t mean they won’t be able to in the future,” Laura Hagy, 17-year-old executive director of the Florida chapter of SHINE, told the Pensacola News Journal. Students in the program have improved their test scores by an average of 50 points.

Kids Klub Climbs into Saddle with Mid-Plains Rodeo Team (North Platte Telegraph, Nebraska)

Students in the Kids Klub Rough Riders afterschool program are learning about horse care, behavior, anatomy, nutrition and safety through a partnership with Mid-Plains Community College, Dusty Trails LLC and the West Central Research and Extension Center. Last week, Kids Klub students met with the MPCC Rodeo Team for a hands-on rodeo lesson and dinner with the crew. “This was an impressive lineup of programming and a night they won’t forget,” Kids Klub executive director Carrie Lienemann told the North Platte Telegraph. Thanks to a grant from the Nebraska Department of Education, students will participate in horseback riding lessons and other activities centered around animals and agriculture throughout the fall.

Students Turn Classroom Lessons into Musical Masterpieces (Bowling Green Daily News, Kentucky)

Adairville Elementary School assistant principal Jonathan Stovall is helping students learn classroom lessons through music in a unique summer and afterschool program. Stovall and local musicians work with students Wednesday evenings at NF Records to produce songs with original rhythms and lyrics on topics from the water cycle to the U.S. Constitution. “I wanted to build something that was engaging to kids and met kids where they’re at,” Stovall told the Bowling Green Daily News.

 

SEP
13
2017

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup: September 13, 2017

By Luci Manning

Yoga Is for Keikei Too (The Garden Island, Hawaii)

Children are increasing their strength, balance, coordination, endurance, flexibility and more in afterschool yoga programs throughout Hawaii. Instructors believe that the breathing techniques and challenging poses in yoga help students learn to control their emotions, calm themselves down and support one another. “Children learn how to feel and process their emotions while in challenging poses,” Kauai Power Yoga owner and director Jessica Stein told the Garden Island. “This becomes training for life off the mat as well.”

Federal Funding Cuts Could Slash After-School Activities from Rugby to Robotics (San Diego Union-Tribune, California)

President Trump’s proposed budget cuts to the 21st Century Community Learning Centers program would strip $8.8 million from schools in San Diego County and leave nearly 6,000 students without access to afterschool programs. “Our students have a safe place to continue their learning, to connect and network with their peers and also with the community, beyond our school day,” Escondido Unified High School District assistant superintendent April Moore told the San Diego Union-Tribune. Schools across the county are looking into alternative sources of funding in order to keep the programs running even if the budget cuts go through.

A Community Garden Full of Education (MyWabashValley, Indiana)

The Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology has partnered with Benjamin Franklin Elementary School to start an afterschool gardening program that will hopefully increase access to fresh foods for Terre Haute residents. Through the two-hour afterschool program, students will maintain a school garden and eventually bring home the produce they’ve grown to share with their families. “That sense of sharing is something that just can’t be replaced…” Dr. Mark Minster told MyWabashValley. “You can buy stuff at a grocery store that you can share with other people but when you have that sense of ownership and responsibility it makes a big difference.”

From Potatoes to Robotics, 4-H Aims to Meet Children Where Their Needs Are (Bangor Daily News, Maine)

In the past several years, 4-H has moved away from its agricultural roots to increasingly prioritize STEM education. In Maine, 4-H programs reach 28,000 children, with only 3,000 participating in the traditional dairy and steer clubs. Many of the rest are conducting scientific research with graduate students, learning about marine life, programming robots and participating in other engaging, hands-on STEM activities through summer and afterschool programs. “4-H has always been about teaching kids life skills,” Maine’s 4-H program administrator, Lisa Phelps, told the Bangor Daily News. “Now those skills are going to be valuable whether you’re learning how to take care of an animal, or whether you’re learning to build a robot.” 

SEP
6
2017

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup: September 6, 2017

By Luci Manning

Bluffs Summer School Collaboration Proves a ‘Match Made in Heaven’ (Daily Nonpareil, Iowa)

Thanks to a record number of community partners, funding from multiple grants and new creative programming, the Council Bluffs Community School District reached more than 1,000 students through its summer school program this year. According to the Daily Nonpareil, the district joined with the 21st Century Community Learning Centers program and the Iowa Reading Research Center to assemble a well-rounded program for students of all ages. Through the program, youths had a chance to interact with local businesses, program robots, and visit the zoo to learn about biology.

Mayor Curry Tours After-School Program at Pinedale Elementary (WJXT, Florida)

After committing a total of $13 million of extra funding to afterschool programs several weeks ago, Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry took a trip to Pinedale Elementary School last week to see one of the programs in action. Mayor Curry had a chance to speak to several educators who conveyed how important afterschool is for their students. “The students actually receive an extension of the school day in those skills that they are primarily showing some areas of weakness, or concern, so the academic hour is based on their needs,” Pinedale Elementary School Principal Alicia Hinson told WJXT. The extra funding will give more than 8,000 Jacksonville students access to afterschool programs.

Making Afterschool Programs Work (Jackson Free Press, Mississippi)

Afterschool Ambassador Amber May was interviewed by the Jackson Free Press about her afterschool and summer program at Operation Shoestring and how it benefits Jackson’s youths. “It's about making sure the children are safe, first off,” she said. “It's about helping working families (so) they're able to work with the peace of mind of knowing that child is not only safe but that the child is getting the assistance they need on their homework assignments, they're getting any other type of academic help they need, a nutritious snack. And then also it's about inspiring children to learn.” The nonprofit works with pre-kindergarten and elementary school students on a variety of academic subjects, with a special emphasis on literacy.

An After School Program That Offers Structure, Down Time and Karate (Bangor Daily News, Maine)

Stacy Kim’s Kuma Fitness and Leadership program gives students a place to unwind after school, work on homework and get active. Each day at the program, youths enjoy a healthy snack, do some work, draw or participate in other quiet activities, then spend half an hour practicing karate or partaking in another fitness class. The karate classes teach students confidence, discipline and respect, according to Kim. “I truly feel like [Stacy’s] focus is on building better little people who will grow into better adults versus just teaching karate,” parent Anne Thurlow told the Bangor Daily News

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AUG
30
2017

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup: August 30, 2017

By Luci Manning

Making Good Choices: Teen Center Fosters ‘Healthy Lifestyle Skills’ (Lake County Suburban Life, Illinois)

The Warren Township Teen Center offers teens a safe space to explore different activities, work on homework, receive guidance from adult staff members and socialize with their peers. Staff believe the center helps to decrease community violence by giving youths access to structured, beneficial activities during afterschool hours, and hope that other communities will adopt similar programs. “I think it would be very helpful in communities that don’t have anything for youth to do,” Warren Township Supervisor Suzanne Simpson told the Lake County Suburban Life.

Programs Level the Slippery Slope of ‘Summer Slide’ (Baltimore Sun, Maryland)

Montgomery County council member Nancy Navarro and Building Educated Leaders for Life CEO Lauren Sanchez Gilbert argue for increased funding for afterschool and summer programs in the Baltimore Sun: “The summer slide is about academics and economics. After all, educational inequality is a major reason for the current shortage of qualified adults who can contribute to the economy…. Yet federal funding for out-of-school-time educational programs is in jeopardy…. The stakes are too high to leave any child behind because of their race, income, or zip code. Increasing access to summer and after-school programs is not only an investment in today, it is an investment in our collective economic future.”

‘The Children Learn to Read by Singing’ (Virginian-Pilot, Virginia)

For 14 years, a free reading program has helped youths living in low-income and subsidized housing in Hampton Roads keep up their literacy skills during the summer months. Some 100 students in kindergarten through high school participated in the camp this year, which operates on an interactive curriculum meant to make reading fun. Students complete reading tests before and after the program and have demonstrated measurable improvements throughout the years. “This year we had improvement results as much as 68 percent,” program director Krystle Francis told the Virginian-Pilot. “And during the summer months; that’s huge.”

After School Music Program Proves Extremely Successful (KTUL, Oklahoma)

The nonprofit Harmony Project Tulsa gives music lessons to low-income students who may not have access to instruments outside of school. The program pairs professional musicians with youths, helping them develop a fun hobby and increasing their overall academic success. According to KTUL, Harmony Project participants performed 30 percent better on their third grade reading tests last year than their classmates who did not participate in the program. 

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AUG
23
2017

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup: August 23, 2017

By Luci Manning

Jamal Collins Gives Youths Lessons in Graphic Design, Life (Plain Dealer, Ohio)

An afterschool program at King Kennedy Boys & Girls Club is giving young people their first taste of graphic design, thanks to program leader Jamal Collins. Collins teaches the students about the intersection of art and coding while instilling in them life skills like self-promotion, storytelling and how to think creatively. “I can see the impact I have with these kids, so I know I’m doing it right,” Collins told the Plain Dealer. “I’m trying to get them to understand there’s no limitations on what they want to do.”

Norton’s After-School Program Takes Art into Community (Palm Beach Post, Florida)

The Norton Museum of Art’s Afterschool Arts Outreach program not only introduces some 600 students to art, music and literature – a recently completed evaluation shows that it also helps boost their self-confidence, the Palm Beach Post reports. The program teaches students to think critically, handle challenges and formulate solutions. “Children and teens believed that the program helped them to accept making mistakes, feel better about themselves, talk to adults and teachers, work cooperatively with peers, and be proud of their artwork, all indicators of self-efficacy,” Dr. Martha A. Brown wrote in her evaluation. “The evaluation also produced strong evidence that the program has a very positive impact on students’ learning about art. When asked, most students said that the classes make them feel creative and give them opportunities to express themselves.”

With Hammers and Glue, Girls in Lowell Program Explore Potential (Lowell Sun, Massachusetts)

A dozen girls are learning the ins and outs of the real estate business through the Xchange Experience summer program. The program is the result of a partnership between Lupoli Companies and Girls Inc. of Greater Lowell, and introduces the young women to the various career paths available in the industry, including marketing, property development and architecture. “At the end of this eight week program, I hope that some of these career paths will resonate with the girls and that maybe in 10 years, one or two of them may come back to me and say, ‘Because of the Xchange Experience program, I became an architect,’ or ‘I became an engineer,’ or ‘I became a marketing specialist for commercial real estate,’” Lupoli Companies vice president and director of real estate Karen McShea told the Lowell Sun.

Charlotte Gets $1 Million for After School Programs (WBTV, North Carolina)

Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts announced this week that the city will expand its afterschool programs for students in need, thanks to a $1 million grant from the Gambrell Foundation. The money would allow 600 to 1,000 middle school students from the Charlotte-Mecklenburg School District to access afterschool programs, making a dent in the 8,000 students currently on waiting lists throughout the city. “It gives children hope and courage to go to college,” Greater Enrichment Program Executive Director Bronica Glover told WBTV. “It exposes them to a variety of experiences they would never get if they weren’t in an after school [program] and it keeps them safe.” 

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AUG
16
2017

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup: August 16, 2017

By Luci Manning

Tennis Program Helps Students to AIM High (Gainesville Sun, Florida)

“Katie Munroe credits her involvement with the Aces in Motion education program with motivating her to realize her dreams of going to college,” according to the Gainesville Sun.  The AIM afterschool program teaches students basic life skills and students receive homework help alongside tennis lessons and activities with members of the University of Florida tennis team. Munroe began participating in the afterschool program while she was in seventh grade. “I can honestly say AIM has helped me grow into the person I am today because it taught me to believe in myself, to have patience and to work hard to achieve success,” 18-year-old Katie Munroe told the Gainesville Sun.

The City’s Youth Are in Crisis (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Wisconsin)

Boys & Girls Clubs of America president and CEO Jim Clark and Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee president and CEO Vincent Lyles write about the positive impact of afterschool programs in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: “…with the right opportunities and the right people in their corners, youths make positive choices and go on to lead successful, productive lives as adults…. The persistent problems of intergenerational poverty and crime won’t be solved until we join together and commit to providing more opportunities for quality out-of-school programs that help America’s inner city and rural youths achieve three crucial goals: academic success, good character and citizenship and healthy lifestyles.”

Incoming No. Providence High Freshmen Graduate from Summer Boatbuilding Program (North Providence Breeze, Rhode Island)

Nearly 50 Providence-area students spent the last several weeks learning to design, build, and repair boats as part of the Youth Summer Boatbuilding Program. The program’s hands-on approach taught students science, engineering, and math fundamentals in a fun, challenging way while preparing them for possible future careers. “The boats are merely a metaphor; if they can build a boat and put their minds to something and see what they can accomplish, they start believing in themselves,” Henry Marciano of City Sail told the North Providence Breeze. “That’s the whole purpose of this program.”

Cabell County Students Share Views on Afterschool Programs with Congress (Huntington Herald-Dispatch, West Virginia)

This week the Huntington Herald-Dispatch reported that two Cabell County students shared their views on the value of afterschool programming with their elected representatives in Washington as part of the Afterschool Alliance’s Afterschool for All Challenge in June. Brothers Brennan and Aiden Shope met with U.S. Sens. Shelley Moore Capito and Joe Manchin, as well as U.S. Reps. Evan Jenkins and Alex Mooney, to stress the positive impact their afterschool programs have had on their lives and to urge the members of Congress to support funding for out-of-school-time programs. 

AUG
9
2017

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup: August 9, 2017

By Luci Manning

With Help of a BMX Pro, at-Risk Youth Pedal Their Way to a Better Future (Fresno Bee, California)

A biking afterschool program at Sequoia Middle School is steering students away from dangerous decisions and toward a fun, positive learning environment. BMX Jam, started by former BMX racing professional Tony Hoffman, helps students who are struggling at school and at home by giving them a place to develop friendships, improve their grades and build self-esteem. “In the program, you talk to each other, you help each other and you become kind of like a family,” participant Danny Orozco told the Fresno Bee.

Learning to Inhale: At This Camp, Breathing Is Fundamental (WAMU, District of Columbia)

Youths at a unique summer camp in Patuxent, Maryland are not just taking hikes and sleeping in cabins – they’re learning how to control their asthma. According to camp co-director Bernadette Campbell, the week-long program is meant to help students learn coping techniques that could make all the difference in case of a sudden asthma attack. “They know how to save their lives, they have a sense of empowerment and they know they can do it,” Campbell told WAMU.

Sponsors Visit STEM Programs Aimed at Fighting Summer Learning Loss (New Britain Herald, Connecticut)

Representatives from several companies and organizations that sponsor summer learning programs in New Britain got a chance to see how their money was being used through two site visits and information sessions last week. The funders visited the district’s two Summer Enrichment Experience (SEE) locations to witness how students in elementary and middle school benefit from the STEM-based program that fights summer learning loss. “We have seen the success with SEE,” New Britain High School superintendent Nancy Sarra told the New Britain Herald. “…We know that if we keep them in the summer… we can change their trajectory for learning and staying engaged in school and graduating on time.”

Swimming Skills Aren’t Just for Dreamers (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Pennsylvania)

Pittsburgh students from all socioeconomic backgrounds are building healthy habits through Summer Dreamers, a swimming-focused summer learning program. “We’re teaching the kids a skill, a lifetime skill,” Obama Academy swim coach Mark Rauterkus told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “And we’re also spending a lot of time in fitness, so they’re getting stronger more endurance. They’re learning about exercising, kinetic movement, and their teamwork and sportsmanship.” The program combines swimming and water polo lessons and other traditional camp activities with academic classes, helping to mitigate summer learning loss, build students’ self-confidence and keep them fit.