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MAY
8

IN THE FIELD
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Guest Blog: My Brother's Keeper--stories from Jonesboro, Arkansas

By Sarah Simpson

Ed. Note: The White House Initiative, My Brother’s Keeper, is focused on creating opportunities for boys and young men of color.  To help the White House better understand the important role that afterschool programs are playing in supporting boys and young men of color, we are gathering stories from the field and will be sharing them with the White House.  We may also ask you to share additional details in the form of a guest blog or on a conference call or webinar.  Our afterschool ambassador, Rennell Woods, is helping us kick off this project with his story below.  Please submit your story here.

Rennell Woods is the executive director of the At-Risk American Male Education Network in Jonesboro, Ark., and an Afterschool Ambassador for the Afterschool Alliance. AAMEN’s work is supported by the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation.

 

 

The launch last month of the president’s “My Brother’s Keeper” initiative is great news. I’m reminded every single day of the need for such an effort.

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learn more about: Afterschool Voices Afterschool Ambassadors Equity Guest Blog Inside the Afterschool Alliance Obama Youth Development
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MAY
8

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup - May 8, 2014

By Luci Manning

Preventing Violence Will Take Action, Not Just an Action Plan (Star News, North Carolina)

A recent editorial in Wilmington’s Star News urges residents to go beyond community meetings and take action to address recent gang violence.  The editorial says: “It is clear that Wilmington residents and community leaders desperately want to put a stop to the violence that is destroying the lives of many of our young people. And for the most part, they agree on what needs to be done – better resources, more attention to early childhood education and programs to divert kids from gangs and crime, mental health and parenting counseling, second chances for young offenders, higher graduation rates, better opportunities overall…  It will take commitment and cooperation, but also resources. Is this community ready to step up, or will we instead determine that the price is too high? We already are paying too high a price; we can’t afford to lose more of our children to violence.”

South Carolina After-School Program Trains Olympic Hopefuls, In the Ring and the Classroom (KHON 2, South Carolina)

Thanks to the Greenville Boxing Club, two teens are now poised to compete for an Olympic medal.  Shakir Robinson, personal fitness trainer and the afterschool program’s founder, opened the gym’s doors to the students to give them something to do after school to keep them off the streets.  Khalid Johnson, one of the two teens trying out for the Olympic team, told KHNO 2 that  not only does he believe the club is the driving force behind his chances at the Olympics, but that it has also helped him perform better in school, saying “I didn’t like science, but I like it now, more than I used to.  The program has helped me focus in the classroom.”

Our Town: Atlanta Volunteer Helps Kids With Patience, Concentration – One Stitch at a Time (Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Georgia)

Initially a way to pass the time in between helping students with homework, knitting has become a popular activity with students thanks to the tutelage of one volunteer.  Susan Frierson became the knitting teacher at the Brookhaven Boys and Girls Club after many students, fascinated by her handiwork, asked her to teach them.  She told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, “I’ve talked up what a skill this is and how it’s been around for so long.  I’ve explained how it’s a nice quiet activity; how it teaches concentration and patience; how you’re supposed to think about the person you’re knitting for and to make them something that will make them feel warm and loved.” 

Prairie River Middle School Teacher Donates Time to Help Kids Build Their Own Canoes (Daily Herald, Washington)

In a society of instant gratification, Prairie River Middle School is offering students the opportunity to reap the rewards of detail-oriented, hard work through an informal afterschool canoe building club.  Mark Pugh, the program’s founder, told the Daily Herald that he is there every step of the way to guide students through the processes.  Since the program’s inception, five students have worked with Pugh, four making canoes, and one making a canoe shaped shelf.  The club has taught the kids patience and determination, and to pay strict attention to detail. The students can’t wait to get their boats on the water.

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APR
9

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup - April 9, 2014

By Luci Manning

Kindergarteners Take Concerns Over Gunshots in Neighborhood to Mayor (Star Press, Indiana)

After Kindergartener and activist Terry Miles wrote a letter to Muncie Mayor Dennis Tyler about recent shootings in his neighborhood, Terry and the rest of his classmates at the MuncieP3 afterschool program then took a trip to the mayor’s office to discuss ways to prevent gun violence in their community.  Terry’s letter read: “Dear Mayor, I want to ask an important question.  People have been shooting at night and I want to ask you ‘Can you make them stop?’  I want to meet this man who told the other people to shoot guns because it is inappropriate to shoot guns.”  Brittany Cain, an instructor for the MuncieP3 program, told the Star Press that regardless of their age, these students can make a real difference.

Some Teens Are Blown Away By the Rush of Competitive Sailing (Buffalo News, New York)

On Monday, 50 students took to the water to launch another season of a competitive afterschool sailing program at the Buffalo Yacht Club.  The students practice various complicated and scientific techniques during the week, and then on Fridays, they get a chance to put their skills to the test in a race.  While many participants have been sailing for years, anyone interested is encouraged to join the program.  Alyssa Vianese, a senior at Fredonia High School, told the Buffalo News that they “just go for it,” adding that “sailing is a sport for anyone and everyone, and it’s a lifetime sport.”

James Hmurovich: Reach Out to Others to Help End Child Abuse (State Journal-Register, Illinois)

To commemorate Child Abuse Prevention Month, President and CEO of Prevent Child Abuse America James Hmurovich issued a call to action to all Americans and specifically Illinoisans, to improve the lives of children and families.  In an article for the State Journal-Register, Hmurovich writes that everyone has a part to play. 

“We all have a role to play in healthy child development and the prevention of child abuse. Coaches, teachers, babysitters and health care professionals work with children every day and already are working to move the country toward being a greater place for children. But even if you don't work with or around children, you still can have a positive effect on their lives. If you have time in the afternoon, you could volunteer at after-school programs or help coach sports teams to ensure parents have a safe place for kids to go when they get out of school and before parents typically get home from work….  By taking the time to volunteer for before- or after-school programs, offering to help families in your own neighborhood, or working to ensure that programs proven to prevent child abuse continue to be funded, you can have a meaningful effect on the lives of children throughout the community. Actions like these help bring together communities, reduce isolation and help children and families succeed by providing them with tools and resources for optimal development. If we all pledge to do each of these activities at least once during the month of April, we can make a real difference.”

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APR
2

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup - April 2, 2014

By Luci Manning

One Good Reason to Support Renewing Fort Worth’s Crime Prevention Tax (Star-Telegram, Texas)

Star-Telegram columnist Bob Ray Sanders makes a compelling case for why Fort Worth’s crime prevention tax needs to be renewed, citing the positive learning experiences at the Fort Worth After School (FWAS) program.  Miguel Garcia, an Afterschool Ambassador and program director of FWAS, told the Star-Telegram how the afterschool programs “provide a safe, positive learning experience for students at the end of the school day when many of them otherwise would be at home, or somewhere else, without adult supervision.”  Sanders calls the $1.1 million the FWAS program receives in Crime Control and Prevention District funding, “a small amount of money for all the benefit that comes from this exceptional program.”

Shabazz Napier Has Sturdy Base in Roxbury (Boston Globe, Massachusetts)

Roxbury coach Tony Richards was there many years ago when Shabazz Napier, point guard for the University of Connecticut, learned to play the sport he loved at the Roxbury YMCA.  Richards started coaching kids in Boston neighborhoods in his “No Books, No Ball” program to keep his son and nephew off the streets.  Richards told the Boston Globe, “You see these single mothers, you see these kids that need mentoring… that’s the energy that keeps me coming back.” Napier will play in this year’s Final Four on Saturday.

Checkmate: After-School Club Draws JHS Students (Jacksonville Daily Progress, Texas)

On any given Monday night, dozens of students are engaged in some friendly competition at Jacksonville High School’s chess club.  The newly formed club was intended not only for the students to improve their chess skills for the sake of winning the game, but to employ those skills in all areas of life.  Club co-founder Larry Richmond told the Jacksonville Daily Progress that to excel in chess, the students need to utilize logical thinking and a strong work ethic, qualities he believes are “the greatest value to academics.”  

‘Little Doctors’ Work Blood Drives (Hicksville Illustrated News, New York)

Donors at Hicksville blood drives were treated to snacks and juice from a special group of “little doctors.”  Students from seven Hicksville Elementary schools, who volunteer through the Little Doctors afterschool program, not only served refreshments but also assisted potential donors before clinicians took over the process.  “Little Doctors is an opportunity for students to learn the value of volunteerism and the importance of participating in community service,” Fork Lane School Principal Christopher Scardino told the Hicksville Illustrated News. 

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learn more about: Afterschool Voices Afterschool Ambassadors Youth Development Community Partners
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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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MAR
14

IN THE FIELD
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National League of Cities and Department of Education team up for afterschool

By Jen Rinehart

Photo Credit: Youth Today—Read their coverage of the announcement.

Earlier this week, I had the opportunity to talk with a room full of mayors, city council members and education/policy advisors about the role of federal policy in local afterschool efforts.  With a crowd like that, I certainly felt like I was standing on the wrong side of the podium!

It was a dynamic discussion about how federal policies related to 21st Century Community Learning Centers grants, Child Care Development funds and newly proposed initiatives—like Race to the Top-Equity and Opportunity—may impact local afterschool initiatives. 

Many of the city leaders in the room were first drawn to afterschool because they recognized it as a strategy to keep their communities safe.  After learning more about afterschool, they readily saw how keeping youth safe also supports working families, which is linked to worker productivity and therefore economic development.  This necessitates a skilled workforce of the future, which brings you right back to education and safety again.  In short, they were quickly sold on the importance of afterschool. 

I’d like to take credit for the participants’ excitement about afterschool, but in truth it was most likely the result of an announcement made earlier that morning.  Saint Paul, Minnesota, Mayor Chris Coleman, president of the National League of Cities, and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan laid out a plan detailing how they would work together to boost partnerships among federal and local governments, schools, families, faith-based organizations, businesses, nonprofits and universities to advance learning, enhance student engagement and improve schools in cities across the country.

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learn more about: 21st CCLC Afterschool Voices Department of Education Education Reform Equity Events and Briefings Federal Policy Inside the Afterschool Alliance Community Partners
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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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