A new grant competition will award $150,000 to libraries, museums, and other nonprofits to provide hands-on learning opportunities this summer for youth across the country to help make the online experience more civil, safe and empowering. The Project:Connect Summer Youth Programming Competition is administered by the Humanities, Arts, Science, and Technology Advanced Collaboratory (HASTAC), with support from the MacArthur Foundation through a grant to the University of California, Irvine, and in partnership with the Born This Way Foundation. Grants will support a series of local hands-on events July through September where young people collaborate and compete through activities such as hackathons, maker spaces, digital journalism and communications labs, and mentoring workshops. Programs must be based on the understanding that learning happens anywhere, anytime and should be equitable, social, participatory, and reflect kids’ interests. Applications are due June 10. More information can be found on the Digital Media and Learning Competition website.
Join us on Thurs., May 9 at 2 p.m. EDT as we discuss the role that afterschool programs can play in addressing youth violence.
According to a nationally-representative survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 1 in 3 high school youth reported being in a physical fight within a 12 month period, and 1 in 6 high school youth reported carrying a weapon on one or more days within a 30 day period. These alarming statistics underscore the need for quality afterschool programs that keep kids safe, inspire them to learn and help working families. Providing an outlet for positive self-expression, access to caring adult mentors, and a community of supportive peers has been proven to be a winning formula for curbing aggressive behavior and empowering youth to be agents of change in their communities.
This webinar will highlight specific violence prevention strategies and federal funding streams for afterschool programs engaging in this work. Carleen Wray, executive director of the National Association of Students Against Violence Everywhere (SAVE), will discuss how to empower youth to make their schools and communities safer through crime prevention tactics, conflict management and service projects. Ben Forman, executive director of Teens Run DC, will also discuss how the combination of mentoring and a distance running program encourages positive youth behaviors by helping them work toward personal goals.
By Jen Rinehart
While volunteering in my daughter’s kindergarten classroom recently, I noticed a stack of kindergarten math workbooks that proudly advertised, “Aligned with the Common Core State Standards.” It was a clear sign that the Common Core standards have arrived in classrooms across the country and a reminder to me that the Afterschool Alliance can help afterschool providers better understand Common Core and what roles afterschool stakeholders can play in supporting learning under the Common Core.
So what are the Common Core State Standards? They are a set of standards in reading/language arts and math that resulted from several years of collective thinking by teachers, researchers and leading experts in the education field about what students should know and be able to do in mathematics and English language arts. Prior to the Common Core, most states had their own individual sets of standards.
Why do the Common Core State Standards exist? Proponents of Common Core argue that with the adoption of the standards, students who move from state to state, and especially students in military families who might make multiple moves in a K-12 career, will have a smoother transition because the schools in each state will be working from the same set of high expectations about what kids in each grade should be able to do. They also point out that states can share instructional resources like textbooks and even assessments, which are currently under development and expected to be rolled out during the 2013-2014 school year. As you might imagine, there are alsoeducation leaders who question the value of Common Core, particularly since the Common Core were not pilot tested prior to roll out to nearly all states, and who view Common Core and the related assessments as costly (both for the country and our children’s futures) experiments in learning.
- The Safeway Foundation is partnering with Children's Hospital & Research Center Oakland to develop community- and clinic-based programs designed to reduce the burden of childhood obesity. The program seeks to fund nonprofit organizations with innovative programs to address childhood obesity. The goals of the program are to empower innovative programs to expand and enhance services, increase capacity, and/or incorporate new strategies to support healthy body weights among children and/or adolescents; evaluate the impact of existing programs; and identify promising approaches that could be replicated, adapted, and implemented in diverse communities nationwide. Applicants must be 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations, or have a fiscal sponsor that is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. The applicant does not have to be affiliated with a healthcare facility or clinic. Applicants must be based within 10 miles of a Safeway store (with some flexibility for regions with low-density stores). Proposed programs must use an inter-disciplinary model that includes at least one partnership with a community, clinic, business, and/or school. Initially, the Safeway Foundation is committing $2 million to support about 15 one-year awards. The amounts awarded may range from $3,000 to a maximum of $100,000 depending on the specific needs of the project. The majority of awards will be within the range of $40,000 to $75,000. The complete Request for Proposals and the online application form are available at the Safeway Foundation website. Applications are due May 15, 2013.
- Action for Healthy Kids (AFHK) recently extended the deadline to May 3, 2013, for their School Grants for Healthy Kids for the 2013-2014 school year. Around 400 schools will be awarded funds that will range from $1,000 to $5,000 with significant in-kind contributions from AFHK in the form of people, programs, and school breakfast and physical activity expertise. AFHK will also provide schools with management expertise and support to develop strong alternative and universal breakfast or physical activity programs. Award amounts will be based on building enrollment, project type, potential impact, and a school's ability to mobilize parents and students around school wellness initiatives. Grants are available in select states. Note only schools are eligible to apply. The Physical Activity grants provide funding for facilities and equipment for recess, playgrounds/play-spaces, classroom energizers, physical education, intramural and/or before- and afterschool programs that introduce underserved youth populations to the value of an active lifestyle. Learn more through Action For Healthy Kids.
Ed. note: This post was originally published by SparkAction. Read the original post here.
Juvenile justice professionals take note: a new resource launches this week that will make it easier—and more engaging—than ever to get in-depth journalism stories together with key research, data, guides and tool kits on critical issues in the juvenile justice field.
The Juvenile Justice Resource Hub, launching April 24, 2013, provides visitors an accessible, user-friendly point of entry to a repository of years of research into juvenile justice issues—with particular focus on the best practices and lessons from the MacArthur Foundation-funded Models for Change initiative which examines systems change approaches to make juvenile justice more fair, effective, rational and developmentally-appropriate.
The Hub is a project of the Juvenile Justice Information Exchange (JJIE.org), published by the Center for Sustainable Journalism at Kennesaw State University.
By Jodi Grant
This week I was in Kansas City as a keynote speaker for the 2013 Best Practices Forum on Dropout Prevention, hosted by the National Dropout Prevention Center/Network. I was thrilled to be a part of the event and share with the audience the many ways the afterschool field is helping our students come to school, stay in school and graduate. Afterschool programs are an instrumental part of any effort to help our students not only graduate from high school, but prepare them for lifelong success and help shape the adult he or she will become.
This is why I am so pleased with the newly released video (below) and guidebook by America’s Promise Alliance, “Expanding Learning, Expanding Opportunities.” Both the video and accompanying guidebook highlights the many ways expanded learning opportunities—including afterschool programs, summer learning programs, and expanded learning time—are providing our kids with opportunities to express themselves creatively, explore their interests and gain hands-on learning experiences they might not have during the school day. Also included are a variety of resources, such as research, best practices and toolkits to assist those interested in learning more about the out-of-school hours.
In just a few short months, schools across the country will close their doors for summer break. Summer is a fun time for many kids who spend the hot, hazy days at summer camp, on a family vacation or exploring new interests in summer learning programs. For those children that rely on meals served through the federal school nutrition programs, however, summer is a time for hunger.
The Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) is the federal child nutrition program that provides at least one healthy meal at no cost to children who rely on free and reduced price school meals during the academic year. While the SFSP reaches many eligible children, the need is much greater. During summer 2011, only 1 in 7 children who were eligible for free or reduced price school lunches participated in SFSP.
Last week I participated in a special Twitter town hall that focused on increasing not only the number of children participating in SFSP, but also the number of sites that offer the program. There were many great questions asked and ideas shared by participants—including questions on how summer learning programs, schools and food banks can work together to ensure children have access to healthy summer meals.
Molly Newman is the Senior Project Manager for Healthy Kids Out of School, an initiative of ChildObesity180, working with some of the country’s leading out-of-school-time organizations to promote healthy habits through their HealthyKidsHub website.
Each of you works or volunteers in out-of-school-time programs for different reasons, but we all share the common goal of wanting to make a positive contribution to kids’ lives so they are equipped with the skills and confidence to become happy and productive adults. Out-of-school-time (OST) organizations can play a key role in promoting health and wellness programs that can impact not only the children, but leaders and families as well.
- Drink Right: Choose water instead of sugar-sweetened beverages.
- Move More: Boost movement and physical activity in all programs.
- Snack Smart: Fuel up on fruits and vegetables.
How can the Healthy Kids Hub support you? Visit www.HealthyKidsHub.org and browse through resources on your own, or complete a brief survey to get resources tailored to your specific needs. You can also join other leaders from around the country in taking the pledge to adopt the three principles. Those who take the pledge by May 8, 2013, will be entered into a random drawing to win one of 100 $50 gift cards. Learn more at www.HealthyKidsHub.org.