Have you heard the news? This week, the National Institute on Drug Abuse is holding the third annual National Drug Facts Week. In this video, teens from three Maryland youth programs—TEENWORKS, Voices for Change, and DrugFree's Teen Advisory Council—share their thoughts on drug abuse.
Every day, teens are bombarded with conflicting messages that may leave them feeling confused and unsure of who to ask for information about drug use. With 7% of teens reporting abuse of prescription drugs in the past year and 22% of 12th graders reporting using marijuana in the past month, it’s crucial to reach teens with the facts.
Wondering how you can take part? There are plenty of ways to get involved and help shatter the myths about drug use for teens:
- Host a local event in your community—don’t forget to register online
- Distribute the "Drugs: Shatter the Myths" booklet or other helpful resources to teens and parents in your community
- Take the National Drug IQ Challenge
- Help spread the word
For more ideas and the latest news, visit the National Drug Facts Week website.
We’re inviting teachers, afterschool leaders and educators everywhere to celebrate Digital Learning Day by accepting the #make4DLDay challenge, a set of digital storytelling activities that allow youth and adults to be makers for Digital Learning Day.
Both the maker education and digital learning movements are grounded in the belief that kids learn best by doing. From cardboard and clay to circuits and computers, kids can use a variety of analogue and digital tools to tell their story. The #make4DLDay challenge is about sharing ideas among educators, and experimenting with modern ways of engaging youth in making and digital storytelling.
Accepting the #make4DLDay challenge is easy—here’s how:
- Choose your level. We’ve got multiple activities for educators with varying levels of experience using digital tools. Choose your level based on the tools most readily accessible to you.
- Pick a relevant topic. Digital storytelling can be applied to almost any topic, from geography to STEM. Design your activity around a topic of interest to your students.
- Share your work. On Feb. 5, share your photos, videos and links to students’ work with other innovative educators by using the hashtag #make4DLDay.
On Feb. 5, thousands of educators will take part in the third annual Digital Learning Day, a nationwide celebration of common sense, effective applications of digital learning that support educators, improve learning and provide opportunities for students to achieve at their highest potential. As part of this celebration, we’re excited to announce the #Make4DLDay challenge and want you to join the fun!
Thanks to digital media and technology, our education system is undergoing a major shift in how, where and what students are learning. The organizations collaborating in this challenge—the Afterschool Alliance, Edutopia, and the National Writing Project (via its Educator Innovator Initiative and Digital Is platform)—share a common belief that this shift should reflect connected learning principles, including interest-driven, production-centered learning opportunities for youth, in school and out. These principles allow youth to collaborate with peers and mentors in person and via the Web as they become producers of digital artifacts and not just consumers.
To that end, we’re inviting you to join us in accepting the #Make4DLDay challenge—a set of digital storytelling activities that allow youth and adults to be makers for Digital Learning Day.
By Luci Manning
In my previous blog post, I covered researchers’ insights into what tweens want in and expect from an afterschool arts program. Based on hundreds of hours of interviews, focus groups and analysis, the authors of “Something to Say: Success Principles for Afterschool Arts Programs from Urban Youth and Other Experts” shared the barriers that keep tweens from participating in afterschool arts programs and program aspects that tweens are most drawn to.
This week I want to take a look at the second part of the report that details what afterschool arts programs can do to address the needs and demands of urban tweens and better engage this hard to reach group. For this section of the report, authors conducted a literature review of afterschool arts programs; interviewed program providers, administration staff and researchers; and visited the sites of eight programs to create case studies for the report. Based on the collective information, 10 principles for effective, high-quality afterschool arts programs emerged:
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.
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.
By Luci Manning