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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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JUN
11

CHALLENGE
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Youth advocates hone their skills at the Afterschool for All Challenge

By Melissa Ballard

We welcomed more than 30 youth from across the country to this year’s Afterschool for All Challenge. Half came from science center afterschool programs, thanks to our partnership with the Association of Science-Technology Centers (ASTC). Youth from this year’s MetLife Foundation Afterschool Innovator Award-winning programs also attended. These young advocates visited Congressional offices along with their state teams and shared personal stories of how afterschool has impacted their lives. But before they got started, we helped prepare them in an intensive workshop.

The workshop started with the students brainstorming ideas about what advocacy is and how it’s done. The group focused in on one aspect of advocacy—that it gave voice to those that don’t have one—thinking about other kids in their home communities. Then, we discussed what kinds of "asks" state teams would make and how advocacy through Capitol Hill visits fits into the legislative process (and of course, we had to show the classic School House Rock video).

To prepare for their turn to speak in the next day’s Capitol Hill meetings, we spent time crafting and practicing talking points. The task was to come up with a short, succinct way to describe what they did in their afterschool programs; why it mattered to them; and to concretely describe the effect participation has had on their interests, behaviors, knowledge and skills. Our last task for the workshop was to translate these talking points into a memorable document to leave behind with Congressional staff after the meetings. Check out all the youth’s handouts in America’s Afterschool Storybook.

Feedback from both the youth and their adult leaders was overwhelmingly positive. Leaders reported that the youth’s compelling personal stories were a great impact at each office they visited. ASTC is currently working on a video capturing the reactions of the science center youth—we’ll post that next week. We’re looking forward to an even bigger and better Afterschool for All Challenge in 2015!

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learn more about: Advocacy Afterschool Voices Congress Events and Briefings Inside the Afterschool Alliance MetLife Innovator Awards Youth Development
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JUN
10

IN THE FIELD
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Why expanded learning opportunities?

By Sarah Simpson

Our friends at the Providence After School Alliance (PASA) recently published this video discussing the benefits of school district/community collaborations in their area. We hope their experiences can be helpful to you!

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learn more about: Afterschool Voices Media Outreach Sustainability Youth Development Community Partners
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JUN
9

POLICY
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My Brother's Keeper Task Force reports back to the president

By Erik Peterson

In late February, Pres. Obama appointed a high-level task force to oversee his new “My Brother’s Keeper” initiative “to develop a coordinated federal effort to improve significantly the expected life outcomes for boys and young men of color.” Recently the My Brother’s Keeper Task Force released a report on their first 90 days of actions, including key recommendations for the initiative moving forward.

Since the launch of My Brother’s Keeper initiative, the president’s task force has met with and heard from thousands of Americans through online and in-person listening sessions, including a number of afterschool and summer learning providers.  Cities and towns, businesses, foundations, faith leaders and individuals have made commitments to helping youth get a strong start in school and life and later connect them to mentoring, support networks and specialized skills they need to find a good job or go to college.

The 90-day report laid out cross-cutting recommendations, seven broad themes and specific recommendations.  The importance of afterschool is highlighted in the specific recommendations, which call for expansion of effective afterschool and summer programs to accelerate socio-emotional and academic learning and health.  The recommendations also call for a public-private campaign to recruit high-quality, sustained mentors—an important component of many afterschool programs.  Details on the recommendations are below. 

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learn more about: Afterschool Voices Equity Federal Policy Media Outreach Obama Youth Development
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MAY
30

STEM
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Strong STEM presence at the Afterschool for All Challenge this year

By Anita Krishnamurthi

This year at the Afterschool for All Challenge, we had a particularly strong STEM presence at the workshops as well as during the visits with policy makers. 

Thanks to our partnership with the Association of Science-Technology Centers (ASTC), nearly 20 young people and their adult chaperones joined us from the New Jersey Academy of Aquatic Sciences in Camden; the Newark Museum in Newark, N.J.; The Franklin Institute in Philadelphia, Penn.; the National Aquarium in Baltimore, Md.; and the Natural History Museum of Utah in Salt Lake City.  Check out the blog ASTC has posted about their experience.  We envisioned this year's participation as a pilot effort and hope to make it even bigger next year with more science centers participating in the Afterschool for All Challenge.  A big thank you to our ASTC partners for working with us to make all of this happen.  Join the ASTC STEM Afterschool Community of Practice if you'd like to engage in this conversation with us. 

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learn more about: Advocacy Afterschool Voices Congress Events and Briefings Inside the Afterschool Alliance Obama Science State Networks
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MAY
30

CHALLENGE
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Hundreds of you took action for the Afterschool for All Challenge; Congress heard you loud and clear

By Sarah Simpson

Last week, hundreds of afterschool advocates took action to urge their Members of Congress to support the Afterschool for America’s Children Act.  While afterschool leaders from across the country spent the day on Capitol Hill to hold 200 meetings with Members of Congress and their staff, almost 700 more amplified their voices by calling and emailing from home.

You spoke, they listened.  Here’s what your actions were able to do:

  • 7 new co–sponsors of the Afterschool for America’s Children Act in the House: Reps. Beatty (D-Ohio), Grijalva (D-Ariz.), Kirkpatrick (D-Ariz.), Sewell (D-Ala.), Velazquez (D-N.Y.), Higgins (D-N.Y.) and Lowey (D-N.Y.). That more than quadruples the number of co-sponsors from before the Afterschool for All Challenge!
  • At least 1 new co–sponsor of the Afterschool for America’s Act in the Senate—we’ll keep you posted on who they are once the Senate is back in session next week!
  • At least 3 new members of the Congressional Afterschool Caucus.

Thanks again for taking the Afterschool for All Challenge and advocating for the afterschool programs that keep kids safe, inspire learning and help working families. We couldn’t have done it without you!

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learn more about: Advocacy Afterschool Voices Congress Inside the Afterschool Alliance Legislation
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MAY
29

CHALLENGE
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Personal experience and research share the stage at Congressional afterschool briefing

By Erik Peterson

On May 22—in conjunction with the 13th annual Afterschool for All Challenge—the Senate Afterschool Caucus, the Afterschool Alliance and the Expanded Learning Project joined forces to host a Capitol Hill briefing featuring compelling stories and encouraging research that point to the success and potential of afterschool and summer learning programs. 

Dr. Deborah Lowe Vandell, founding dean of the University of California-Irvine School of Education, shared new data that shows how quality afterschool programs can help close the achievement gap. She emphasized findings that show afterschool programs are particularly effective at improving achievement and positive behavior among low-income students. She noted that afterschool researchers and advocates have data that show that the long-term outcomes associated with afterschool participation are positive and compelling and should move the discussion about the benefits of afterschool beyond the safety and good behaviors conversations.  In addition, Vandell stated that in recent years the research tools and findings have facilitated the incorporation of measures of intensity, duration and quality. 

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learn more about: 21st CCLC Advocacy Afterschool Caucus Afterschool Voices Equity Events and Briefings Academic Enrichment
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MAY
12

CHALLENGE
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Call Congress to support Afterschool for America's Children Act

By Sarah Simpson

On May 22, we’re teaming up with the National Network of Statewide Afterschool Networks to bring afterschool leaders from around the country to Washington, D.C., to meet face to face with Members of Congress and urge them to co–sponsor the Afterschool for America’s Children Act. We need your help to amplify their voices.You’re the local expert on afterschool. Members of Congress need to hear from constituents like you who care about making afterschool for all a reality. Help us make 535 calls to Congress–that’s one for every senator and representative on Capitol Hill.

Click here to call your Members of Congress. We have everything you’ll need to make the call, including a sample script!

Feeling ambitious? Click here to learn how to set up a district meeting with your local Congressional office.

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learn more about: 21st CCLC Afterschool Voices Congress Legislation Media Outreach State Networks
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MAY
9

STEM
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Remembering Alan Friedmann

By Anita Krishnamurthi

As many of you have heard by now, the informal science education (ISE) field recently lost one of its greatest champions—Dr. Alan Friedmann, a physicist, former director of the New York Hall of Science, a trustee of the Noyce Foundation, a former board member of the National Assessment Governing Board (NAGB); his credentials make for a long list.  There have been many wonderful op-eds, blogs, and tributes paid to him already—see for example, the moving “Thinking of Alan” page at the New York Hall, the New York Times article, and the blog post from the Coalition for Science After School.  They all serve to not only celebrate his life and accomplishments but also underscore just how deep our loss is and how much of an impact he had on the ISE field and the individual people in this field.  

I had known of Alan for a long time but started working with him only when I came to the Afterschool Alliance in 2010 and started working closely with the Noyce Foundation.  In my new role as an advocate for afterschool STEM education, I learned a great deal about advocacy from him.  He was such an enthusiastic and tireless advocate for ISE and afterschool that he gave me hope and much-needed support when I felt demoralized and lonely in the fight.  I treasured how gentle and humble he was for such a distinguished scholar and how unfailingly kind he was to me and all who met him. 

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learn more about: Afterschool Voices Education Reform Inside the Afterschool Alliance Science Youth Development
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