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DEC
12

POLICY
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Guest Blog: Teens take D.C.

By Sarah Simpson

Alberto Cruz is the Senior Youth and Family Director for the West Side YMCA in New York City and an Afterschool Ambassador emeritus.

Through the generous support of the Robert Bowne Foundation and the Afterschool Alliance, teens from the West Side Y’s Teens Take the City (TTC) program headed off to Washington, D.C., last month to meet with our elected officials to speak on behalf of YMCA of Greater New York afterschool and youth programs.

West Side Y teens set out to take over D.C. and were led by former Afterschool Ambassador and current West Side Senior Youth and Family Director Alberto Cruz and Teen Program Director Johann Dubouzet. While learning about the political landscape in Washington, teens had the opportunity to meet with legislative aides from Reps. Rangel, Serrano and Engel and with aides in Sens. Schumer and Gillibrand to speak about the importance of supporting teen programs and in particular the Teens Take the City program. TTC gives teens the opportunity to learn and participate through mock proposal writing, research and presentations about city government.

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learn more about: Advocacy Afterschool Voices Congress Guest Blog Youth Development
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NOV
22

RESEARCH
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Tweens and teens talk about what would get them to go to an afterschool arts program

By Nikki Yamashiro

“How can urban, low-income tweens and teens gain equal access to high-quality arts experiences?”
 
“Is there a model of practices that could provide a blueprint for community-based organizations to emulate, so that proven approaches could be deployed in more places, more often?”
 
“How do the insights of what tweens and teens want align with what other experts say they need?”
 
These are just a few of the weighty questions tackled in the report, “Something to Say: Success Principles for Afterschool Arts Programs from Urban Youth and Other Experts,” released last week by the Wallace Foundation and Next Level Strategic Marketing Group.   Earlier, I wrote ashort blog post on the report’s infographic and 10 principles to attract and keep urban tweens in afterschool arts programs.  This week I was able to take a closer examination of the 136-page report and wanted to share a few key insights.

The arts can play an incredibly important role in a young person’s life.  They can spark creativity and motivation in students—they are a way for young people to express themselves, to gain a better understanding of who they are as individuals, to build confidence and increase engagement in learning.  Afterschool arts programs are a critical partner to help ensure that the arts—which encompass everything from dance to digital media arts to poetry slams and everything in-between—is accessible to all youth, especially those in low-income areas where participation is low.

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learn more about: Afterschool Voices Evaluations Arts
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NOV
20

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup - November 20, 2013

By Luci Manning

“The gap between school hours and traditional work schedules still exists. Latch-key kids are still around. School districts and nonprofits offer programs for after-care or extended-day programs, but all have a cost and limited space. It's an area of education that has remained a no-man's land,” Ginnie Grant with the Tulsa World writes. Grant argues that more resources should be put into afterschool programs because, “After-school hours can be used to put the lessons of the school day into practice.”
 
To turn the library into more of a “learning center,” Somerville Public Library created an After-School Academy to help the library broaden its scope and redefine its mission. In addition to the library’s new afterschool tutoring program, it is also offering free GED preparation classes from the local community college and now opens its doors on the weekends to let patrons use the Internet or do school work, the Associated Press reports.
 
A cast of second- through sixth-grade afterschool students will perform “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” based on the Charles Schulz animated special, as part of the “Junior Theatre” program at Nevada’s annual Winterfest celebration. The show will be directed by Iowa State University senior Zack Hackbarth. He told the Iowa State Daily, “This is the first time many of the kids in my show have ever done theater, so my hope is to inspire them to continue exploring their interests in the arts throughout the rest of their school years.”
 
“Learning how to manage money doesn’t have to be a tedious, boring process, students at Harper’s Choice Middle School are realizing — with the help of a computer game, financial literacy can actually be fun,” the Baltimore Sun reports. Junior Achievement of Central Maryland, in partnership with Walt Disney Imagineering and the T. Rowe Price Foundation, is offering “The Great Piggy Bank Adventure” to afterschool students. In the game students learn about good verses poor financial decisions, interest rates and diversifying investments.
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learn more about: Afterschool Voices Literacy Community Partners
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OCT
27

IN THE FIELD
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'The Graduates' film shows the power of afterschool

By Ursula Helminski

On the heels of kicking off Lights On Afterschool with the national broadcast of afterschool documentary 'Brooklyn Castle,' public television is airing a new film on Independent Lens featuring Latino youth and the programs and people—many from the afterschool field—that helped them on the road to graduation.

The Graduates/Los Graduados, told in both Spanish and English, provides a glimpse into the lives of young Latino students who have been on the verge of dropping out, and the key moments that changed their destinies. Afterschool mentors, college counseling and academic supports provided by community organizations help these inspiring young people overcome some incredibly challenging situations, from homelessness to gangs to teen pregnancy. Dont miss this great new film—it's a wonderful testament to the power of afterschool and a tool you can use in your community to build support or to engage Latino communities.

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learn more about: Afterschool Voices Equity Events and Briefings Media Outreach Youth Development Community Partners
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OCT
23

LIGHTS ON
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48 governors proclaim Oct. 17 Lights On Afterschool Day!

By Sarah Simpson

Throughout the month of October, thousands of afterschool programs rallied their communities to build support for the afterschool programs that keep kids safe, inspire learning and help working families. 

And governors across the country got in on the action, too! In all, 48 governors recognized Lights On Afterschool—some proclaimed Oct. 17 as Lights On Afterschool Day in their state, others issued public letters of support and recognition of the good work being done in the state to support students and working families during the hours after school. 

We want to extend a special thank you to all of the governors who took the time to help make Lights On Afterschool 2013 such a special event. Here’s the list of governors who proclaimed Oct. 17 to be Lights On Afterschool Day in their state; different actions are noted beside their name. Be sure to tweet them to say thanks!

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learn more about: Afterschool Champions Afterschool Voices State Networks State Policy Working Families
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OCT
23

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup - October 23, 2013

By Luci Manning

Santa Fe’s public radio station, KSFR, reported on the award-winning Project GUTS program. The Afterschool Alliance presented the Santa Fe Institute with an award for its science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) related afterschool program for middle school students at its Lights On Afterschool event over the weekend. The Santa Fe Institute’s Irene Lee told KSFR the rigorous computing program allows middle-schoolers to design and develop test models simulating real-world questions.
 
Hundreds of students in Grand Rapids gathered together to celebrate Lights On Afterschool last week. 
Carrie Teer, site coordinator for the Grand Rapids Public School’s LOOP afterschool program at East Leonard Elementary, said if not for the programs, many students would be going to empty homes after school because their parents still are at work.  “That's the other message stressed by the nationwide celebration, the need for resources so more children can attend safe, structured environments. Due to funding cuts, Grand Rapids has gone from 34 to 25 sites, leaving 600 kids without programs,” MLive.com reports.
 
Deputy Speaker Upendra Chivukula was the keynote speaker at the Raritan Valley YMCA’ Lights On Afterschool celebration last week. At the event Chivukula said, “Investing in enrichment programs is extremely valuable to our youth; they keep children safe and improve academic performance and school attendance,” the Star-Ledger reports. “These benefits are not just restricted to classroom performance, but improve behavior and promote a healthy lifestyle… Parents can rest easy knowing their children are being cared for responsibly while involving themselves in fitness activities and enrichment programs.”
 
Chadron Public Schools celebrated the success of its afterschool program last week with a Lights On Afterschool event at the primary, intermediate and middle school sites. Libby Uhing, who took part in the Lights On Afterschool event with her daughter Eliana, told The Chadron Record that the afterschool program is “a little more laid back, but [the students] get so much academic enrichment,” and that the afterschool program provides a safe place with enthusiastic staff for kids to spend time at.
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learn more about: Afterschool Voices Science
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OCT
22

LIGHTS ON
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Reminder: Submit your Lights On event photos to the Bright House Networks photo contest!

By Sarah Simpson

Just 10 more days to submit a photo to the Bright House Networks Facebook photo contest!

We know you probably took a bunch of photos at your Lights On Afterschool event—show them off by submitting the best one for the chance to win up to $2,000!  Click here for contest rules and details.

Need some inspiration? Check out the submissions from last year:

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learn more about: Afterschool Voices Funding Opportunity Media Outreach State Networks Youth Development
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OCT
17

LIGHTS ON
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Millions to rally for afterschool programs this week during 14th annual Lights On Afterschool

By Sarah Simpson

In Selma, Alabama, today, students in the Police Athletic League afterschool program will   participate in a talent contest and community leaders will act as judges.

In Belfast, Maine, the 4-H Afterschool RSU20 program will hold an “All Things that Glow” event highlighting science, technology, engineering and math activities students have engaged in.

In East Boston, Massachusetts, students will exhibit artwork and share short stories about superheroes they created.

In Portland, Oregon, students at the Jackson Club will screen their summer film project, “The Quest of Illinois James.”

These are just a few of the more than 8,000 Lights On Afterschool events that will take place in nearly every community in the country, and at U.S. military bases worldwide, this week. The events—which run the gamut from showcasing science experiments to dance recitals to computer animation demonstrations to sports contests—are all part of the only nationwide rally for afterschool programs. Lights On Afterschool is now in its 14th year. More than a million people are expected to participate.

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learn more about: Advocacy Afterschool Voices Inside the Afterschool Alliance Media Outreach Working Families Youth Development Community Partners
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