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
Afterschool Snack Bloggers
Select blogger:
Afterschool Challenge Snacks
APR
19
2016

CHALLENGE
email
print

Take the Virtual Challenge, gain powerful allies for your program

By Robert Abare

Participants of 2014's Afterschool for All Challenge meet with Senator Dean Heller of Nevada

On Tuesday, May 24, more than 250 afterschool advocates will arrive in Washington, D.C. for the Afterschool for All Challenge, meeting with their representatives in Congress to show them why afterschool programs deserve their support. This year, you too can cultivate powerful afterschool allies closer to home by taking the Afterschool for All Virtual Challenge.

The most powerful way to participate is to invite a local policy maker and their staff to visit your afterschool program. Site visits can reveal to policy makers the many benefits your program provides to the community—and can convince them to help protect and strengthen your program in the face of obstacles to funding and resources.

You can start planning your site visit today with these tips for a successful visit. Our Virtual Challenge hub offers all the resources you need to plan a successful visit, from do’s and don’ts to a sample invitation.

If you’re ready to attract valuable attention to your upcoming site visit, or if you simply want to build community support for your program, engaging the media is another great way to join the Virtual Challenge. Proven messages about the power of afterschool programs can raise awareness about your program’s impact and even attract funders or other community allies, and our resources make it easy to deploy them.

share this link: http://bit.ly/1VBJFQq
learn more about: Advocacy Congress Events and Briefings
APR
4
2016

CHALLENGE
email
print

Will you accept the Afterschool for All Challenge?

By Erik Peterson

Senator Barbara Boxer of California greets participants of last year's Afterschool for All Challenge.

On May 24, 2016, hundreds of afterschool advocates and youth will be bringing their powerful stories to Capitol Hill for the 16th annual Afterschool for All Challenge. We know it is difficult to travel to Washington, D.C. to make your voice heard, so we are bringing the advocacy opportunity to you with the Afterschool for All Virtual Challenge, in which you can participate from your own community or computer!

Join us for the Afterschool for All Challenge: Take Action At Home webinar on Tuesday, April 12 at 1 p.m. ET to learn more about how you can participate and make your voice heard. The webinar will feature soon-to-be-released advocacy tools that will help you make the case for afterschool.

Congress needs to hear from you. 

You are the local experts on afterschool, so we're asking you to call, meet and email Congress on Afterschool for All Challenge day: May 24, 2016. Here in Washington, we'll be backing up your outreach at home through face-to-face meetings with key Members of Congress.

On May 24, take the Afterschool for All Virtual Challenge at home—our upcoming Take Action Toolkit will have all the resources you'll need! Here are three easy ways to participate:

  1. Meet with your Congressional district offices or set up a site visit at your program.
  2. Call, tweet or email Congress and ask them to support funding for the afterschool programs working families rely on.
  3. Encourage your contacts to take action.

To help you get started, join us on April 12th for a webinar to walk you through how to successfully reach out to your Members of Congress with key messages during the virtual Afterschool for All ChallengeRegister now!

MAR
26
2015

CHALLENGE
email
print

Guest blog: CAUSE fuels teens' passion for research

By Guest Blogger

Kimberly Casiano, Chris Castillo, Dimitri Francis, and Crystele Maldonado live in Camden, NJ and are members of the CAUSE program at Camden's Center for Aquatic Sciences at Adventure Aquarium. This letter about their experience at the 2015 Afterschool for All Challenge was originally published in the Courier-Post.

We recently had the chance to travel to Washington, D.C., for a national conference about afterschool, before-school and summer learning programs. Not only did we get to meet other youth from across the country, we also had the chance to visit Capitol Hill and meet with members of Congress to share the ways these programs help teach our generation about science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM.

As 10th- and 12th-graders who attend several different Camden City schools and participate in the Community and Urban Science Enrichment (CAUSE) program at the Center for Aquatic Sciences at Adventure Aquarium, we know firsthand how valuable afterschool STEM experiences can be.

In our afterschool program, we’ve had the chance to participate in a multiyear youth development program that teaches science-based content that enhances public speaking and professional skills. We’ve worked on research vessels, done water-quality monitoring of our local watersheds, participated in a multitude of science activities in natural areas and traveled to beautiful places we never thought existed.

A major experience in the program is the five-week summer camp in which CAUSE teens, including us, research and write curriculum to teach to Camden youth from grades K to 8. We use informal teaching to educate communities in the city and surrounding area.

We love our afterschool program, and having the chance to use science to develop our personal and professional skills has been fun and has given us lots of confidence. A year ago, we never imagined that we could make a difference by teaching youth and families in our community about keeping our waterways clean. Many of these people listen and even make an effort to become stewards of their environment.

We also thought it was an amazing experience to speak to congressmen and senators to support afterschool programs. The CAUSE program has also increased our interest in the math and science we learn in school. And it’s completely changed our thinking about college and careers. One hundred percent of CAUSE program participants graduate from high school and attend college. We plan to keep up that great tradition.

We know that there will be many more jobs in STEM fields in coming years and not enough people trained to do those jobs. Coming from groups that are especially underrepresented in those fields (Hispanic/black/women), we know how important it is to work hard and stay involved. Because of what we’ve learned in our afterschool program, we hope to help turn that trend around.

share this link: http://bit.ly/1HNMzqT
learn more about:
MAR
16
2015

CHALLENGE
email
print

Hundreds of afterschool advocates take to Capitol Hill; Congress listens

By Rachel Clark

Last week, more than 400 afterschool advocates and youth stormed Capitol Hill for the 15th Afterschool for All Challenge. Taking more than 250 meetings with Members of Congress and congressional staff, advocates cultivated new allies for afterschool—and got results: 

Friends of afterschool also took action from across the country.  Supporters who couldn't join us in Washington, D.C. sent more than 200 emails to Congress on Tuesday alone and more than 650 emails during the week of the Challenge, bringing us to a total of nearly 4,000 emails to Congress this year.  We're now nearly 40 percent of the way to our goal of sending 10,600 emails on behalf of the 1.6 million kids with 21st CCLC programs at risk—email your representatives in Congress now to help reach that goal.

More than 270 supporters also took part in our Thunderclap campaign, reaching nearly 225,000 members of their social networks.  Many supporters also joined our advocacy efforts on social media throughout the day by posting and tweeting at their Members of Congress to emphasize the importance of afterschool, with a few Members of Congress chiming in themselves—get a recap of the conversation on Storify.

share this link: http://bit.ly/1Ek5IOg
learn more about:
JAN
20
2015

CHALLENGE
email
print

Join us in Washington, DC for the 2015 Afterschool for All Challenge!

By Rachel Clark

This March, we’re teaming up with the National AfterSchool Association Annual Convention and afterschool professionals from around the country to meet face to face with Members of Congress and urge them to support the millions of kids and families who rely on afterschool programs. In 2014, participants from 46 states met with their US Senators and Representatives—this year, bring your powerful story to our nation’s capital to share with 2,000 afterschool professionals and with our federal elected officials.

This spring will be one of the most critical times on Capitol Hill for friends and advocates of afterschool programs. Congress will likely be rewriting federal education, child nutrition, juvenile justice and STEM legislation this year, making decisions that will impact access to quality afterschool, before school, and summer learning programs for millions of children. Your elected officials need to hear your voice and story to fully understand the value that these programs have on the lives of young people.

NOV
12
2014

CHALLENGE
email
print

Join the Afterschool for All Challenge & NAA Convention March 2015

By Shaun Gray

Join us for the NAA & Afterschool Alliance joint conference!
March 8-11, 2015, Washington, D.C.

The Afterschool Alliance is once again teaming up with the National Afterschool Association and afterschool professionals from around the country, March 8-11, 2015 in Washington, D.C., to meet face to face with Members of Congress and urge them to support kids and families who rely on afterschool programs.  Afterschool professionals will bring their powerful stories to our nation’s capital to share with their federal elected officials.  Be sure your stories are part of the message we'll deliver to Congress on Tuesday, March 10, as part of the Afterschool for All Challenge.

JUN
11
2014

CHALLENGE
email
print

Youth advocates hone their skills at the Afterschool for All Challenge

By Melissa Ballard

We welcomed more than 30 youth from across the country to this year’s Afterschool for All Challenge. Half came from science center afterschool programs, thanks to our partnership with the Association of Science-Technology Centers (ASTC). Youth from this year’s MetLife Foundation Afterschool Innovator Award-winning programs also attended. These young advocates visited Congressional offices along with their state teams and shared personal stories of how afterschool has impacted their lives. But before they got started, we helped prepare them in an intensive workshop.

The workshop started with the students brainstorming ideas about what advocacy is and how it’s done. The group focused in on one aspect of advocacy—that it gave voice to those that don’t have one—thinking about other kids in their home communities. Then, we discussed what kinds of "asks" state teams would make and how advocacy through Capitol Hill visits fits into the legislative process (and of course, we had to show the classic School House Rock video).

To prepare for their turn to speak in the next day’s Capitol Hill meetings, we spent time crafting and practicing talking points. The task was to come up with a short, succinct way to describe what they did in their afterschool programs; why it mattered to them; and to concretely describe the effect participation has had on their interests, behaviors, knowledge and skills. Our last task for the workshop was to translate these talking points into a memorable document to leave behind with Congressional staff after the meetings. Check out all the youth’s handouts in America’s Afterschool Storybook.

Feedback from both the youth and their adult leaders was overwhelmingly positive. Leaders reported that the youth’s compelling personal stories were a great impact at each office they visited. ASTC is currently working on a video capturing the reactions of the science center youth—we’ll post that next week. We’re looking forward to an even bigger and better Afterschool for All Challenge in 2015!

MAY
30
2014

CHALLENGE
email
print

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!