Recent Afterschool Snacks
By Molly Tomlinson
Mayors and city council members from across the country co-authored a piece on the importance of afterschool programs in Education Week. It said: “For our cities to remain beacons of hope, it is our responsibility as municipal leaders to help young people develop the skills and talents they need to find gainful employment and become successful adults in a knowledge-based economy. City leaders must work together with schools, parents, and others to help young people thrive, with a shared understanding that their success will determine the success of our cities. Maximizing the after-school hours is one important way in which city governments can improve educational outcomes for children and teenagers and reinforce what they learn in the classroom.” The op-ed was signed by Mayors Christopher Coleman (St. Paul, Minn.), Karl Dean (Nashville, Tenn.), and Betsy Price (Fort Worth, Texas) and City Council Members James Mitchell Jr. (Charlotte, N.C.) and Ronnie Steine (Nashville, Tenn.).
Using data from a survey of young people, associate director of the Center for Education Policy Research Angelo Gonzales and his colleagues at the University of New Mexico, “have identified a strong relationship between students who are involved in activities outside of school and those who engage in less risky behaviors,” the Albuquerque Journal reports. “Specifically, students who said they were involved in extracurricular activities reported lower levels of attempts to commit suicide, smoking, binge drinking, drug use and sexual activity…and significantly higher rates of daily physical activity.” The New Mexico-specific data is from the 2011 state Youth Risk and Resiliency Survey of middle and high school students.
Students from the Whitney Community Center afterschool program are walking around the playground with Boise City Council member TJ Thomson as part of a local initiative to encourage physical fitness, the Idaho Statesman reports. Boise Mayor David H. Bieter has pledged to walk 150 miles in honor of the city’s sesquicentennial.
The the Worcester Technical High School Robotics and Automation Technology Team, one of 420 teams from 23 countries, won the 2013 VEX Robotics World Championships trophy over the weekend. Worcester Polytechnic Institute President and CEO Dennis Berkey told the Telegram & Gazette, “Their world championship award reinforces the power of STEM [science, technology, engineering and math] education, specifically as it applies in robotics, and especially the highly effective curriculum and dedication of the faculty and staff at ‘the other’ Worcester Tech.”
By Kamila Thigpen
This month we’re putting the spotlight on two of our grant opportunities for afterschool programs: the well-known MetLife Foundation Afterschool Innovator Awards and the new Noyce Foundation Afterschool STEM Impact Awards. Afterschool STEM programs can apply for an Impact Award now until May 15. The Innovator Awards nomination process has been moved to later this year—stay tuned for further details and key dates. These webinars will introduce you to both grant opportunities, complete with tips about the application and selection process.
Afterschool Innovators & Middle School Success
April 25, 3:00 – 4:00 PM EDT
Since 2008, the Afterschool Alliance and MetLife Foundation have collaborated to highlight and expand the work of innovative afterschool programs supporting children, families and communities across the nation. Now in the fifth year of the partnership, we have awarded more than $160,000 to programs in a variety of categories, including digital learning, school alignment, service-learning, middle school bullying and college readiness. Join us to learn more about last year’s MetLife Foundation Afterschool Innovator Award
winners and hear helpful tips about the selection process. Register now
Afterschool STEM Impact Award Insights
April 30, 1:00 – 1:30 PM EDT
The Afterschool Alliance recently announced a new national award for afterschool programs offering science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) – the Afterschool STEM Impact Awards
, sponsored by the Noyce Foundation. This year’s award categories are focused on partnership models, and computing and/or engineering. This webinar will be incredibly useful to potential applicants as we will discuss the intentions behind creating the Afterschool STEM Impact awards and what we’ll be looking for in the review process. The Afterschool Alliance team will also address the definitions used for the award categories. Participants will have the opportunity to ask any questions they might have to help craft a winning application! Register now
By Molly Tomlinson
“Two Tazewell County Sheriff’s deputies took students of the after school program at North Tazewell Elementary School by Storm ... and by Evo ... Friday afternoon as two Tazewell County sheriff’s deputies and their K9 partners demonstrated their combined talents for detecting drugs and following commands,” the Bluefield Daily Telegraph reports. Officers explained how and why they use Evo and other dogs to help detect drugs and answered questions from students.
“Mr. Science” paid a visit to the afterschool students at James A. Cawood Elementary School’s 21st Century Community Learning Center this week to showcase some hands-on experiments. Using toilet paper and a leaf blower “Mr. Science” explained flight and used household ingredients to teach students about electricity. Fifth-grader Elizabeth Inman told the Harlan Daily Enterprise, “He is so much fun. He teaches us about erosion, balance, good structure, how water moves and how air pushes things. He shows us how things work instead of talking about it or reading it in a book. He shows us detail.” “Mr. Science” is an award-winning science educator and author Jason Lindsey of Paducah.
In response to the investigation fraud allegations at some of Florida’s private tutoring firms, Florida Afterschool Network CEO Larry Pintacuda argues that allocating funds for high-quality afterschool programs could be a better way to spend state funds. In the Tallahassee Democrat he writes: “While tutoring can be a powerful tool for many children, quality after-school programs provide opportunities that not only support children’s cognitive development, but their physical, social and emotional development as well… Children attending quality after-school programs attend school more regularly, perform better on tests, have fewer behavioral problems and are less likely to use tobacco, alcohol or drugs. Quality after-school programs also provide a safe, nurturing environment that decreases the likelihood that children will become victims or perpetrators of criminal activity.”
Last week, 150 T-Mobile employees and city workers volunteered and painted and refurbished the Mission Boys & Girls Club. Volunteers painted murals of trees, athletes, spaceships, stars and more on the walls of the club, landscaped and added planters, organized the library, and moved in new furniture. T-Mobile donated a 50-inch TV, a couch, chairs, rugs and food machines as a part of its Huddle Up program, which works with afterschool programs in high-need areas, The Monitor reports. The activity was coordinated through the Corpsgiving program which helps companies volunteer in their communities.
By Sarah Simpson
By Sarah Simpson
By Molly Tomlinson
Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, District Superintendent William R. Hite Jr and President of After School Activities Partnership Marciene Mattleman issued a fundraising challenge earlier this week to city residents asking for donations to fund afterschool programs for students heading to new schools because of recently approved closures, mergers and grade reconfigurations. Officials hope the donations will fund chess and Scrabble teams, drama clubs and debate squads at 40 schools, providing “safe, sustainable” afterschool activities for 10,000 students next September, the Philadelphia Daily News reports.
Beckley-Stratton Middle School’s afterschool program invited Just For Kids Executive Director Scott Miller to teach them more about child abuse, a topic the students were already learning and creating a video about, The Register-Herald reports. Students asked Miller how to tell if someone is being abused, how Just For Kids helps child abuse victims, who is most likely an abuser and how the abuse starts. After Miller’s talk, the afterschool students donated fleece blankets they made to Just For Kids to help comfort kids interviewed at the Child Advocacy Center.
Elementary students participating in before- and after-school programs at Cossitt Avenue School got a lesson on proper hand washing, making healthy snacking choices, how to build a first aid kit and why sleep is important. The health, hygiene and nutrition program is the result of a partnership with Adventist LaGrange Memorial Hospital, Adventist Paulson Rehab Center and Trader Joe’s. Organizers hope to expand the program and into a health fair soon.
Modesto Bee columnist Jeff Jardine praises the Tracy Boys & Girls Club in a recent column. Thanks to the afterschool programs at the Tracy Boys & Girls Club students are more engaged in school and discipline problems are now rare. Jardine writes: “Why write about what transpires each afternoon on a school campus in Tracy? Because this same kind of program is coming to Modesto, long overdue and desperately needed.”
By Jen Rinehart
Some of the strongest champions for afterschool are city and town leaders. Whether they approach afterschool from the lens of keeping kids safe; helping working families continue to work; or supporting students’ learning, health and wellness, city leaders are often quick to see the value of afterschool programs in their communities.
Just in the first few months of 2013, city leaders’ enthusiasm for afterschool has been evident at several afterschool-related events. Starting off with St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman’s remarks at the release of the Expanding Minds and Opportunities Compendium in early February, where he spoke about how afterschool has been a key issue for him as mayor. Mayor Coleman and several other mayors, including Afterschool Alliance board members Nashville Mayor Karl Dean and Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price co-authored an article for the Expanding Minds and Opportunities Compendium in which they said:
“Time and time again, we have seen how a high-quality afterschool program can change a young person’s life and how such programs can have a positive ripple effect on families and neighborhoods.”
Fortunately, The Wallace Foundation recognizes the important role that mayors and city leaders play in supporting quality afterschool and has been investing in city systems for years. On Feb. 21 and 22, nearly 400 leaders from 57 cities came together in Baltimore to discuss how to better coordinate efforts to support the availability of high-quality afterschool programs. The Better Together: Building Local Systems to Improve After-School Conference focused on the role of afterschool systems, reaching youth most in need, financing afterschool systems and using data to drive continuous improvement. A summary of the event and links to related resources are now available courtesy of the Collaborative for Building After-School Systems, a co-sponsor of the convening.
By Erik Peterson
On Wednesday, March 13, Kayla Brathwaite, a YMCA afterschool program participant and youth leader from New York City, testified before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies
about the critical role afterschool programs play in supporting youth and working families. She urged Congress to maintain the nation’s current investment ($1.15 billion) for 21st
Century Community Learning Centers (21st
CCLC) and to support afterschool and summer learning.
Brathwaite is a high school student from Queens, NY. She has participated in YMCA
afterschool programs since middle school, and currently participates in the Y’s Youth and Government and Teens Take the City programs. The Y’s afterschool programs provide Kayla, like so many other youth, with enrichment and recreational opportunities, academic supports and interventions, leadership development, health and wellness guidance, and arts and humanities programming. Kayla’s mother depends on 21st
CCLC funding to not only bridge the gap between school and home during the critical hours of 3 to 6 p.m., but to also provide her with an affordable, high quality afterschool option.
Kayla testified, “I know that I am one of the lucky ones, one of the lucky kids in New York City who has the support of the people around her and an organization like the YMCA to help her succeed.” She continued, “I am here today with my mother who probably appreciates these funds and the programs they provide even more than I do since these programs allow my mother to be at her job knowing that I am in a safe place at the YMCA.”