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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.
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APR
15

POLICY
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Thank you for making #3to6 Day a success!

By Erik Peterson

On March 26 (3/26) more than 3 million parents, young people and supporters of afterschool were reached through an online campaign that raised awareness about the value of afterschool programs and called for Congressional support of the Afterschool for America’s Children Act: S. 326 and HR 4086. 

Every afternoon between the hours of 3 and 6 p.m. children nationwide should have the opportunity to participate in engaging afterschool programs that support their learning and development and spark their passions and creativity.  In recognition of the afterschool hours of opportunity from 3 to 6 p.m., on 3/26 friends of afterschool programs took to their social media networks to promote afterschool and build support for the Afterschool for America’s Children Act. 

The bipartisan Afterschool for America’s Children Act, S. 326 and HR 4086—led by Sens. Boxer, Murkowski and Murray in the Senate and by Reps. Kildee and DeLauro in the House—would reauthorize and strengthen the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) initiative—the nation’s chief federal funding stream for afterschool and summer learning programs—by supporting innovative advances that support student success.

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learn more about: Advocacy Inside the Afterschool Alliance Media Outreach
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MAR
24

POLICY
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Raise your voice for afterschool programs on 3/26

By Erik Peterson

This Weds., 3/26, raise awareness about the value of afterschool programs and support the Afterschool for America’s Children Act: S. 326! 

Every afternoon between the hours of 3 to 6 p.m. children nationwide should have the opportunity to participate in engaging afterschool programs that support their learning and development and spark their passions and creativity.  In recognition of the afterschool hours of opportunity from 3 to 6 p.m., on 3/26 use your own social media network to promote afterschool and build support for Senate Bill 326—the Afterschool for America’s Children Act. 

The bipartisan Afterschool for America’s Children Act, S. 326 and HR 4086—led by Sens. Boxer, Murkowski and Murray in the Senate and by Reps. Kildee and DeLauro in the House—would reauthorize and strengthen the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) initiative—the nation’s chief federal funding stream for afterschool and summer learning programs—by supporting innovative advances that support student success. 

Quick ways you can take action!

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learn more about: 21st CCLC Advocacy Afterschool Voices Congress Legislation Media Outreach Sustainability
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MAR
21

IN THE FIELD
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The driving force behind our work

By Jodi Grant

On Monday, the National AfterSchool Association released their list of the top 25 most influential people in afterschool.  I was honored to be included on that list, along with our wonderful board members Terry Peterson and Lucy Friedman. The recognition provided a nice moment to step back and celebrate the hard work of our team, and to reflect on why this work is so important, and why we are so determined to expand afterschool resources nationwide.

We are dogged in our work because the people and programs in the afterschool field are nothing short of amazing.  Afterschool programs are changing lives; saving a child from hunger; creating innovative approaches to learning; and developing our next generation of leaders, citizens and scientists. And they are doing it on a shoestring budget with a will that won’t quit and a mind for innovation. 

There are hundreds of stories and people that come to mind, but I thought I’d share just a few examples of what drives us to get up and work as hard as we possibly can to give voice to the afterschool field.  I’d love to hear your afterschool inspirations, too, so please take a moment and send in your thoughts in the comment field below.

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learn more about: Advocacy Afterschool Voices Inside the Afterschool Alliance
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MAR
14

POLICY
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Senate passes Child Care and Development Block Grant Act

By Erik Peterson

Bipartisan support and a great deal of advocacy from supporters of child care, afterschool programs and early education led senators to vote overwhelmingly yesterday in favor of reauthorizing S. 1086, the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) Act of 2014.  This was the first reauthorization of CCDBG since 1996.

The Afterschool Alliance supported the legislation and its recognition of the importance of including care for school-age children up to 13 years old.  Given the research on the benefits of a continuum of care that begins with early education and extends into the school-age years of childhood, it's important to emphasize the value of quality school-age child care to achieve positive outcomes for children, including improved academic performance, work habits and study skills.  The bill includes many common-sense measures to help protect children in child care, such as requiring providers to undergo comprehensive background checks and ensuring annual inspections are conducted.

The need for quality afterschool programs and child care for school-age children continues to grow, therefore adequate funding for CCDBG will be necessary for this legislation to have the most impact.  The FY2015 spending process is scheduled to begin in earnest next month.  In addition to ensuring adequate resources for CCDBG, the House must also pass a CCDBG reauthorization bill.  The House Education and the Workforce Committee is reportedly planning a hearing on CCDBG for the morning of March 25.  Take action here to support funding for CCDBG and other federal afterschool funding sources.

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learn more about: Congress Legislation
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MAR
11

POLICY
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Take action: Senate to take up child care bill this week

By Erik Peterson

This week the Senate is expected to debate and vote on reauthorization of the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG). CCDBG, which was last reauthorized nearly 20 years ago, is the main federal source of funding for families needing child care and also funds child care quality initiatives.  Currently, 1.6 million children a month—from birth to age 13—receive funding to cover child care expenses, totaling $5 billion a year.  About 600,000 school-age children are provided with afterschool program care through CCDBG. 

Advocates can reach out to senators in support of the legislation:
  • Call 202-224-3121. Tell the operator the name of one of your senators. (Not sure? Look up your senators here.)
  • Once you are connected to your senator's office, tell the staff person who answers:
    1. Your name
    2. That you are a constituent (name your city and state)
  • Then, say, "I urge the senator to vote yes on the bill to reauthorize the Child Care and Development Block Grant. Thank you."
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learn more about: Advocacy Congress Legislation
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FEB
24

FUNDING
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Updated: Need ideas to advocate for afterschool? Check out these webinars

By Alexis Steines

As afterschool professionals, we understand the importance of raising awareness of our programs and afterschool in general. With local and state budgets including sharp cuts to education and youth development programs and major federal policy challenges threatening the integrity of afterschool programs, advocacy is more important than ever. While we can speak about the work afterschool programs do to provide children with opportunities to participate in hands-on, interactive learning, it’s important to include other voices in our advocacy efforts.

This year, through the generous support of the Robert Bowne Foundation, the Afterschool Alliance is hosting a series of webinars on how we can engage parents, students and communities in advocacy. Last Tuesday, we held our first webinar in this occasional series. The first installment focused on engaging parents in afterschool advocacy. Esther Grant-Walker, director of School Age and Family Engagement Services at the Isaacs Center Afterschool Program in New York City, shared how she engages parents and prepares them to be effective afterschool advocates through hands-on training and other initiatives. Student engagement was the focus of our second webinar on Feb. 18.  Alberto Cruz, Senior Director of Youth and Family at the YMCA of Greater New York, along with Patrick Pinchinat and Marlena Starace of the Queens Community House discussed how they involve students in advocating for afterschool.

Using social media to advocate will be the subject of the final webinar of this series on March 27. Deepmalya Ghosh, Director of Youth Development at the Child Center of New York, Inc. will share how he engages the public in afterschool advocacy through social media. Visit our webinars page to register

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learn more about: Advocacy Afterschool Voices Events and Briefings Media Outreach
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FEB
21

IN THE FIELD
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Strong partnerships for strong afterschool programs

By Alexis Steines

Strong community partnerships are vital to the long-term sustainability of all afterschool programs. With local and state budgets including sharp cuts to education and youth development programs and federal policy challenges threatening the integrity of afterschool programs, community support is more important than ever. Partnerships between schools and afterschool programs also play an important role in Common Core implementation and other activities to help students improve academically.

Last week, I addressed this topic in breakout sessions at the Beyond School Hours Conference, hosted by Foundations, Inc. The sessions focused on the key ingredients in forming successful community partnerships. These components include:

  • Establishing consistent and honest communication from the start of the partnership;
  • Allowing ownership of issues for all partners;
  • Matching the strengths of each partner with an identified need;
  • Valuing and respecting all partners, no matter the size of their contribution to the partnership;
  • Ensuring coordination and communication with teachers and school administrators.
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learn more about: Funding Opportunity Sustainability Community Partners
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JAN
27

RESEARCH
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Working moms on the brink: Americans want help for moms and kids

By Ursula Helminski

The latest Shriver Report on poverty in the U.S. shines a light on the many challenges facing working women, especially working moms, and the supports that could help them gain sure footing and step away from the brink of financial disaster.  While women hold much sway as consumers and voters, too many are struggling to stay afloat, despite working harder than ever.  The 2014 Shriver Report, A Woman’s Nation Pushes Back from the Brink reports that:

  • Women are nearly two-thirds of minimum-wage workers in the country.
  • 40 percent of all households with children under the age of 18 include mothers who are either the sole or primary source of income.
  • The median earnings of full-time female workers are still just 77 percent of the median earnings of their male counterparts.

What’s refreshing is that Americans recognize we need to do more to support working women and families, and afterschool programs and child care are an enormous part of the solution. The Shriver Report poll of 3,000 Americans found that:

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learn more about: Advocacy Celebrities Economy Working Families
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