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Afterschool Challenge Snacks
MAY
30
2014

CHALLENGE
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Hundreds of you took action for the Afterschool for All Challenge; Congress heard you loud and clear

By Sarah Simpson

Last week, hundreds of afterschool advocates took action to urge their Members of Congress to support the Afterschool for America’s Children Act.  While afterschool leaders from across the country spent the day on Capitol Hill to hold 200 meetings with Members of Congress and their staff, almost 700 more amplified their voices by calling and emailing from home.

You spoke, they listened.  Here’s what your actions were able to do:

  • 7 new co–sponsors of the Afterschool for America’s Children Act in the House: Reps. Beatty (D-Ohio), Grijalva (D-Ariz.), Kirkpatrick (D-Ariz.), Sewell (D-Ala.), Velazquez (D-N.Y.), Higgins (D-N.Y.) and Lowey (D-N.Y.). That more than quadruples the number of co-sponsors from before the Afterschool for All Challenge!
  • At least 1 new co–sponsor of the Afterschool for America’s Act in the Senate—we’ll keep you posted on who they are once the Senate is back in session next week!
  • At least 3 new members of the Congressional Afterschool Caucus.

Thanks again for taking the Afterschool for All Challenge and advocating for the afterschool programs that keep kids safe, inspire learning and help working families. We couldn’t have done it without you!

MAY
30
2014

CHALLENGE
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Preeminent afterschool researcher and 10 state education leaders honored as Afterschool Champions

By Sarah Simpson

As part of the Afterschool for All Challenge, last week Judge Glenda Hatchett joined some 250 parents, children, educators, lawmakers and advocates from around the country at the “Breakfast of Champions” on Capitol Hill to honor Members of Congress and state champions for afterschool programs. We were proud to give our National “Afterschool for All” Champion Award to Dr. Deborah Lowe Vandell, founding dean of the School of Education at the University of California-Irvine, for her powerful and growing body of research that has been used to improve programs and measure their impact.

Dr. Vandell was one of the first researchers to assess afterschool programs and has been presenting findings to her peers on afterschool choices and outcomes for more than 20 years. She has released more than 30 papers and articles reviewing the academic and social outcomes associated with participation in quality programs. She is a preeminent researcher on afterschool programs and outcomes, and her work has informed program and policy development at the national, state and local levels.

MAY
29
2014

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Personal experience and research share the stage at Congressional afterschool briefing

By Erik Peterson

On May 22—in conjunction with the 13th annual Afterschool for All Challenge—the Senate Afterschool Caucus, the Afterschool Alliance and the Expanded Learning Project joined forces to host a Capitol Hill briefing featuring compelling stories and encouraging research that point to the success and potential of afterschool and summer learning programs. 

Dr. Deborah Lowe Vandell, founding dean of the University of California-Irvine School of Education, shared new data that shows how quality afterschool programs can help close the achievement gap. She emphasized findings that show afterschool programs are particularly effective at improving achievement and positive behavior among low-income students. She noted that afterschool researchers and advocates have data that show that the long-term outcomes associated with afterschool participation are positive and compelling and should move the discussion about the benefits of afterschool beyond the safety and good behaviors conversations.  In addition, Vandell stated that in recent years the research tools and findings have facilitated the incorporation of measures of intensity, duration and quality. 

MAY
12
2014

CHALLENGE
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Call Congress to support Afterschool for America's Children Act

By Sarah Simpson

On May 22, we’re teaming up with the National Network of Statewide Afterschool Networks to bring afterschool leaders from around the country to Washington, D.C., to meet face to face with Members of Congress and urge them to co–sponsor the Afterschool for America’s Children Act. We need your help to amplify their voices.You’re the local expert on afterschool. Members of Congress need to hear from constituents like you who care about making afterschool for all a reality. Help us make 535 calls to Congress–that’s one for every senator and representative on Capitol Hill.

Click here to call your Members of Congress. We have everything you’ll need to make the call, including a sample script!

Feeling ambitious? Click here to learn how to set up a district meeting with your local Congressional office.

APR
2
2013

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Guest Blog: A first-hand account from the Afterschool for All Challenge

By Guest Blogger

Jeff Cole is the associate vice president of school-community partnerships for the Nebraska Children and Families Foundation and Network Lead for the Nebraska Community Learning Center Network.

 

As a first time participant in the Afterschool for All Challenge, I really didn’t know what to expect as we were filing into the Russell Senate Office Building.  Having nominated Kristin Williams, Director of Community Initiatives at Omaha’s Sherwood Foundation, as Nebraska’s Afterschool Champion (a MUCH deserved recognition for all her work promoting afterschool programs in high poverty schools in Omaha and across the state), I knew state level advocates would be recognized for their work.  I didn’t realize that a bipartisan group of senators and representatives would be joined by other national advocates and young people from nearby programs at the “Breakfast of Champions” to make such a strong case for why afterschool programs are so important for our nation’s future before heading to meetings on Capitol Hill. 

I was especially hearted by Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s (R-AK) comments in support of S. 326, which strengthens the crucial federal 21st CCLC grant program, highlighting how important afterschool programs are for residents of her largely rural state.  I was honored to have the opportunity to chat with and share my enthusiasm for rural afterschool programs with Sen. Murkowski as she was leaving the ornate and historic Kennedy Caucus Room.

I carried this enthusiasm for the importance of rural afterschool programs over into the meetings that I had with 4 of Nebraska’s 5 Congressional delegations after the “Breakfast of Champions.”  Retiring Sen. Mike Johanns met with our group and reflected on his understanding of the importance of afterschool programs that he gained while serving as Nebraska’s governor.

FEB
12
2013

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Thanks for taking the Afterschool for All Challenge at home!

By Sarah Simpson

On Feb. 7, 2013, hundreds of you across the country stepped up to the challenge and reached out to your elected officials to let them know that you support afterschool for all:

  • More than 120 Congressional offices
  • Across 36 states
  • More than 100 district meetings & site visits
  • Hundreds of phone calls and emails to Congress
  • Digital Learning Day celebrations in 23 states
Highlights from home:

Arkansas: The Arkansas Out of School Network worked with allied organization Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families to take the Afterschool for All Challenge to the state capitol in Little Rock on February 7. Child advocates from across the state met at the Arkansas State Capitol to participate in the legislative process, meet with local legislators, attend legislative committee meetings, and observe lawmakers voting on bills that affect the lives of children and their families.

In conjunction with Kids Count Day, Arkansas Senate Bill 249 was introduced to provide $5 million to fund the pilot phase of the Positive Youth Development Act.

Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe stopped by Kids Count Day to lead pre-k children in singing Itsy Bitsy Spider. Watch:

 

Pittsburgh: Director Mila Yochum of Allegheny Partners for Out of School Time (APOST) had several local advocates join her at a series of meetings at the local offices of Rep. Mike Doyle and Sens. Pat Toomey and Pat Casey.

 

More than 200 state afterschool leaders and experts backed up your outreach with face-to-face meetings on Capitol Hill with senators and representatives to echo your message that afterschool works to keep kids safe, inspire learning and help working families.  

FEB
11
2013

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Taking the Afterschool for All Challenge to Capitol Hill

By Erik Peterson

More than 200 advocates for quality afterschool and summer learning programs packed into the majestic Kennedy Caucus Room in the Russell Senate Office Building on February 7 for the "Breakfast of Champions."  The event honored a record 18 state afterschool champions, National Afterschool Champion John Galvin, assistant principal of I.S. 318 in Brooklyn, NY, (and co-star of the award winning afterschool chess documentary Brooklyn Castle), and four senators who are champions of afterschool programs.  John Galvin was recognized for his dedication to his students and the afterschool chess program, which has helped build a culture of success at the school.  Galvin mounted a community-wide campaign to fight budget cuts that threatened the chess program.
 
The "Breakfast of Champions" was part of the 13th annual Afterschool for All Challenge, which brought together hundreds of educators, parents, afterschool leaders and advocates from around the country for a series of events and meetings with Members of Congress.  Sens. Mark Begich (AK), Barbara Boxer (CA), Lisa Murkowski (AK) and Sheldon Whitehouse (RI) addressed the enthusiastic crowd and were honored for their support of afterschool programs.  Following the Breakfast, advocates met with more than 200 House and Senate offices asking for support for afterschool and summer learning programs that face a 5 percent funding cut next month due to sequestration; and supporting the soon to be introduced Afterschool for America’s Children Act.
JAN
28
2013

CHALLENGE
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Are you up for the Challenge?

By Erik Peterson

Next week on Feb. 7, the Afterschool for All Challenge is an opportunity to raise your voice right in your own community to support the quality afterschool and summer learning programs that inspire young people to learn, support working families and keep children safe.  Over the last 11 years several thousand parents, educators, young people and afterschool champions have come to Washington, D.C., and Capitol Hill to make the case that afterschool, before school and summer learning programs are critical to the success of young people and a lifeline for parents.

This year we are changing it up and not asking advocates to travel to Washington, D.C., for the Afterschool for All Challenge.  Because budgets are tight and times are uncertain at afterschool programs we are instead calling on friends of afterschool programs to call, meet in home district offices and email Congress on Afterschool for All Challenge day: Feb. 7, 2013.  Here in Washington, we will be backing up your outreach at home through face-to-face meetings with Congress, as we team up with over 40 state teams who will be in Washington for the conference of the National Network of Statewide Afterschool Networks.

The results of the last 11 years of afterschool advocacy are clear: federal support for afterschool and summer learning through the 21st CCLC has grown—from being able to help 40,000 students access support in 1998 to helping more than 1 million young people last year. We know afterschool works and champions of afterschool are excellent at making the case:

  • The Promising Afterschool Programs Study found that regular participation in high-quality afterschool programs is linked to significant gains in standardized test scores and work habits. (University of California, Irvine, 2007)
  • A meta analysis of 68 afterschool studies concluded that high quality afterschool programs can lead to improved attendance, behavior and coursework. Students participating in a high quality afterschool program went to school more, behaved better, received better grades and did better on tests compared to non-participating students. (Durlak, Weissberg & Pachan, 2010)
  • The Promising Afterschool Programs Study found that students reported improved social and behavioral outcomes: elementary students reported reductions in aggressive behavior toward other students and skipping school; middle school students reported reduced use of drugs and alcohol, compared to their routinely unsupervised peers. (Policy Studies Associates, Inc., 2007)