Students from the Anaheim Achieves afterschool program showcased their science activities, “making homemade ice cream, lighting up a light bulb using organic lemons and batteries, making lava lamps out of soda bottles, volcanic eruptions, homemade quicksand and more,” at the program’s science fair, The Orange County Register reports. Since preparing for the fair, students are now asking program staff for more science clubs and more science projects.
Scotia-Glenville Middle School’s weekly afterschool program for seventh-graders has students solving real world problems with math equations and concepts. Last week students were given coupons and hypothetical money and tasked with buying school supplies while trying to maximize their savings. “I like how it gives us a challenge,” 12-year-old Kate Hillis told The Daily Gazette. “I don’t feel challenged in my normal classes,” she continued. GE officials created the “Igniting Minds” program to help get students excited about math. One volunteer said that he likes showing students practical uses of the math students learn in school.
Communities in Schools of the South Plains held its first Crimson Gala fundraiser to celebrate 13 years of success in keeping kids in school. Of the 749 students at risk for dropping out who received either before- and afterschool programs or one-on-one case management, 99 percent stayed in school and were promoted to the next grade level. Donald Spoon, chairman of the Communities in Schools of the South Plains board, told the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, “Our after-school programs help keep kids involved, help them stay in school.”
Last week, the 13thannual Engineers Day, co-sponsored by the Society of Petroleum Engineers, Kern County Superintendent of Schools and Cal State Bakersfield, was held to encourage Kern County students to study and learn science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) for future use in their pending careers. Lani Cotton, site manager of an afterschool program at Actis Junior High said it’s important to engage students in STEM subjects while they’re young, “because right now it's hands-on and fun, so if we can get them interested in it now, they'll already have that desire and that foundation when they get older and it gets harder," The Bakersfield Californian reports.
This past weekend, the question “Can the Arts save students?” was front and center on the cover of the Washington Post Magazine.The Latino Arts Strings and Mariachi Juvenil program in Milwaukee, WI—one of the recipients of the 2012 MetLife Foundation Afterschool Innovator Awards and a program featured in our MetLife Foundation issue brief, “Arts Enrichment in Afterschool”—is a prime example of an arts program that can make a positive impact in students’ lives. The program contributed the below guest blog to share the Lights On Afterschool event in October they hosted to celebrate their award.
In October, the Latino Arts Strings and Mariachi Juvenil program was excited to participate in Lights On Afterschool, celebrating our Afterschool Innovator Award with our students, parents, staff and community members. Our awards ceremony and student concert was the perfect way to showcase the powerful combination of music and afterschool—highlighting the positive impact programs can have on children’s lives.
With more than 200 people in the audience, students, parents and representatives from the MetLife Foundation and the Afterschool Alliance spoke from their hearts about what afterschool programs mean to them. I was especially proud of our students, Mariana Tellez and Manuel Landin. Mariana shared with the crowd that the strings program has given her a voice: “Not a speaking voice, metaphorically the music I play has a voice. I would not have discovered this way of expressing myself without my violin.” She stated that without the Strings Program, she would never have had the opportunity of playing an instrument. And Manuel explained to the audience that before he began at the program, he was very shy and nervous about speaking before large groups. After participating in the program, he has more confidence in himself, a direct result of learning to perform in front of an audience. He is no longer shy to speak in public. One of our parents, Blanca Rodriguez, also spoke about why the strings program is important to her family. She shared that she is grateful for a safe, caring place for her children to go after school. If it weren’t for the strings program, her children would not have the opportunity to learn a musical instrument.
The program ended with our strings program performing several traditional mariachi songs. After the award ceremony, there was food and a dance for all who came.
Our students are truly amazing, and I am so happy that we could shine a spotlight on their talents through Lights On Afterschool! Our students prove to us daily that music has the ability to transform lives. Afterschool programs like ours are just one way to make certain all of our youth are able to benefit from all music has to offer.
L’Oréal USA For Girls in Science is inviting students 13-18 years of age, to produce and upload a video on why they think S.T.E.M. is cool. Students can submit videos in 1 of 4 categories: science, technology, engineering or mathematics on: http://forgirlsinscience.org/compete-achieve/. Videos must be between 30- 60 seconds long. The Grand Prize is a $2,500 cash award, a 16GB tablet, and $500 (retail value) worth of L’Oréal USA beauty products. There are four Second Prizes: a 16GB mini-tablet and $250 (retail value) of L’Oréal USA beauty products. For more information, visit http://forgirlsinscience.org.
An afterschool program is making a difference in the lives of Latino students and families in Atlanta. LaAmistad differs from traditional afterschool programs because it provides classes and workshops for parents. “In addition to English as a second language classes, there are also workshops on finance, health, nutrition and parenting,” CNN.com reports. “Parents learn everything from balancing a checkbook to how to cook healthy meals on a limited budget.” LaAmistad says that parents are more comfortable in social settings and more invested in their child’s education thanks to the skills they learn in the program.
State Sen. Ronald L. Rice (D-Essex) represents New Jersey’s 28th Legislative District and wrote a column on gun violence for the Star-Ledger. He writes: “If we have a gun violence problem in this country — and I believe we do — the answer isn’t as easy as limiting access to guns… we have to look at the socio-economic issues that drive urban residents to crime. We have to look at the failings of our education system to give students the resources to compete. We have to look at the failings of government to provide an alternative to life on the street for potential gang recruits. We need to invest in after-school programs that teach kids they can be more than just a statistic, if they put their minds and hearts behind the notion of pulling themselves out of poverty and into success…. There are no simple answers. But if we get enough diverse voices involved, we stand a better chance at coming up with a comprehensive plan to make New Jersey safer for everyone.”
An afterschool program that started in 2010 for 65 third graders at Otay and Lauderbach elementary schools in Chula Vista, has expanded to schools, providing more than 250 third graders with 90 minutes of music instruction a week as part of their curriculum. Last week business and community leaders were treated to a concert from 15 fourth and fifth grade musicians in the Community Opus Project. The students played Schubert’s “The Trout,” segued into Strauss’ “The Blue Danube,” and concluded with “Clocks” by Coldplay.
“Through a volunteer community service program called Bucknell Buddies, a group of Bucknell University students visit the TIES II afterschool programs at Milton Area elementary and middle schools four times a week,” to tutor students in reading and math and provide homework help, The Daily Item reports. Organizers say the mentoring program has made a huge impact on students’ lives, they talk about college and there’s been an overall improvement in grades and morale.
Last week our friend and colleague Richard Murphy, former National AfterSchool Association board chair and dedicated youth advocate, passed away in New York City.
Richard spent his career as a dedicated advocate for youth. He provided invaluable guidance to the Afterschool Alliance during its formation, and we are grateful for the leadership and direction he gave to the afterschool field and the education community.
Richard was the founding director of the Rheedlen Center for Children and Families, now known as Harlem's Children Zone, and served as Commissioner of the New York City Department of Youth Services from 1990-1994. During that period, New York City made an investment of $40 million new dollars to create Beacon Schools and YouthLine.
After his time in New York City government, Richard served as the Director of the AED Center for Youth Development and Policy Research. Richard led the Center in the creation of Community Youth Mapping, a model that has been replicated in more than 100 localities and
Richard was a tireless and dedicated advocate who always believed in the limitless possibilities of our young people. He will be greatly missed.
Teens from the Boys & Girls Club of Anaheim signed a pledge not to text and drive in front of “Iron Outlaw,” one of the monster trucks that will be featured at the Advance Auto Parts Monster Jam at Angel Stadium last week. The students met with representatives from the Anaheim Police Department and the Advance Auto Parts Monster Jam and received a valuable lesson on the dangers of distracted driving, The Orange County Register reports.
An afterschool program for Latino youth, kindergarten through sixth grade, who live in homes where Spanish is the first language, is addressing academic, cultural, and social needs with an emphasis on self-esteem in Philadelphia and helping to close the achievement gap for English Language Learner students, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports. Students at the Puentes Hacia El Futuro, Bridges Toward the Future, afterschool program are paired with college and graduate-school volunteers for homework supervision and mentoring in English.
The International Boxing Club (IBC) in Toledo is not only showing afterschool students how to box, but also how to become better students in the classroom. IBC founder Harry E. Cummins III said he started the program 15 years ago because he wanted to get kids off the streets and out of gangs, the Toledo Blade reports. Students who join the IBC must maintain a “C” grade point average to participate on the boxing teams. The IBC plans to expand its educational efforts by building a vocational and technical training facility next to the Club later this spring.
President and CEO of Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee Vincent Lyles wrote in the Milwaukee Courier about how partnerships are helping the Club address early literacy. “Together, we’re working to increase the number of students reading at grade level and increasing their likelihood to graduate from high school. Having more high school graduates will benefit the entire community in the years to come. Strong partnerships like the one between Boys & Girls Clubs and [Milwaukee Public Schools] allow for both sides to share their expertise and resources to meet their respective goals while positively impacting others.”
Arkansas: The Arkansas Out of School Network worked with allied organization Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families to take the Afterschool for All Challenge to the state capitol in Little Rock on February 7. Child advocates from across the state met at the Arkansas State Capitol to participate in the legislative process, meet with local legislators, attend legislative committee meetings, and observe lawmakers voting on bills that affect the lives of children and their families.
In conjunction with Kids Count Day, Arkansas Senate Bill 249 was introduced to provide $5 million to fund the pilot phase of the Positive Youth Development Act.
Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe stopped by Kids Count Day to lead pre-k children in singing Itsy Bitsy Spider. Watch:
More than 200 state afterschool leaders and experts backed up your outreach with face-to-face meetings on Capitol Hill with senators and representatives to echo your message that afterschool works to keep kids safe, inspire learning and help working families.
Lacey teen Terrence Krall credits the afterschool program at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Thurston County with helping him turn his life around. He told The Olympian that the program made him a better athlete, a “great leader,” better public speaker and a hard worker. Krall was named the Club’s “Youth of the Year” and will vie for the Washington Youth of the Year title in March.
CEO and President of the YMCA of Central Florida Jim Ferber wrote a column for the Orlando Sentinel calling on the community to invest in youth. He writes: “Studies by child-development experts, sociologists and law-enforcement groups affirm what we at the YMCA of Central Florida have long known — simply that unsupervised time leads to trouble for children and teens. It's why our focus on youth development is at the heart of how we serve local families, and our community. One of our strongest, longest allies in this effort has been Orange County Public Schools, which partners with us to provide after-school programs that annually serve thousands of students attending 44 county elementary and middle-school locations… These centers provide a nurturing, caring environment that give kids a sense of belonging, as well as the vital skills and resources they need to grow up and become the healthy, compassionate adults of tomorrow.”
The Harvest Youth Club (HYC) is building a community storm shelter so that the next time a dangerous storm threatens North Alabama the afterschool program won't have to shut out its students, AL.com reports. In the past, when tornados or other dangerous storms were in the area, the afterschool program had to send students home because the program did not have safe shelter. HYC is partnering with the Good Shepherd United Methodist Church and the Harvest Meadows community to build the shelter. A ribbon-cutting ceremony is expected to take place in March.
Afterschool students at Piner Middle School in Sherman are prepping for a 5K run thanks to a $1,000 grant to help fight childhood obesity. The Healthy Choices Go Out For A Run program trains students for the 5K run two days a week and educates students on making healthy food choices another two days a week. “The funds from this grant will allow us to provide students healthy snacks to support the students on the days they are actually running,” Alicia Thurston, ACES site manager at Piner, told the Herald Democrat. “During the food lessons, students will be researching ways to make some of their favorite snacks and desserts healthier by substituting some ingredients.”