|Read more about Ashley's afterschool experience in America's Afterschool Storybook.|
This year we had thousands of afterschool artists answer our call and submit artwork for the chance to be featured on the 2014 Lights On Afterschool poster. We had such a good time looking through all the artwork and seeing the talent and creativity coming out of these programs—it’s clear that these artists really love their afterschool programs!
After much consideration, we’re pleased to announce the 2014 Lights On Afterschool poster contest winner: Ashley Parker from Farmington, New Mexico!
Ashley says she was inspired to draw a bright, Broadway-style marquee sign with lots of color and doodles around it. We think it’s the perfect way to promote your event and let your community know that the lights are ON afterschool!
The artwork will be printed on 70,000 posters and sent to all registered Lights On Afterschool events to help them promote their events. Get yours now! Register your event to receive 10 free posters.
Guest Blog: After-School All-Stars youth leaders from across the nation converge on Washington, D.C.
Guest blog by Alyssa Plotkin, national program assistant for the After-School All-Stars.
“Because of After-School All-Stars, I feel like I’m important, that my opinion matters. I’m so fortunate to have been chosen to be a yabbie. I feel happier, more social and more knowledgeable.” – Citlali of ASAS Los Angeles
After-School All-Stars (ASAS), a leading national provider of comprehensive out-of-school-time programs that serves more than 90,000 children in 13 cities across the U.S.—brought 40 extraordinary 8th grade leaders and staff to Washington, D.C., in July for a week-long leadership summit. Each chapter, from New York to Hawaii, selected an outstanding student-based on their leadership abilities, strong attendance, academic performance and unwavering commitment to community service.
Guest Blog: Afterschool programs addressing healthy living and food insecurity through HEPA standards
Pam Watkins is the vice president of youth development services at YMCA Youth Development Services in Kansas City, Kansas, and a 2013-2014 Afterschool Ambassador.
The YMCA of Greater Kansas City is one of many afterschool programs nationwide that has embraced the Healthy Eating and Physical Activity (HEPA) standards. Recently, at one of our afterschool sites with a high rate of students receiving free or reduced-priced lunch, we had a family that had just moved here from California and enrolled four of their children in our program. The oldest child, Juan (name has been changed to keep anonymity), was ever-watchful over his siblings and was constantly correcting them if they were doing something inappropriate. After about a week the site supervisor overheard Juan tell his siblings that they needed to eat a snack because their mom had said she wasn't sure whether they would have dinner that night or not. When the site supervisor pulled Juan off to the side, he told her that his dad had still not found a job and his mom was working two part time jobs—but it still wasn't enough and they usually didn't have money for food.
How is your afterschool program creating opportunities for disadvantaged youth? There's still time to share your story!
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've been gathering stories from the field to share with the White House. We may also ask you to share additional details in a guest blog or on a conference call or webinar.
By Jen Rinehart
New research from the 2014 edition of America After 3PM, the most comprehensive household survey of how students in America spend their after school hours, shows that summer learning programs are strongly supported by parents and that participation in summer learning programs is on the rise.
According to the survey of nearly 14,000 families:
- Eighty-six percent of parents indicate support for public funding for summer learning programs, a statistically significant increase of 3 percentage points over the already very strong support registered in 2009.
- One-third of families report at least one child participated in a summer learning program last summer, up from the 25 percent of families reporting at least one child participated when the survey was last conducted in 2009.
- Demand for summer learning programs for 2014 is high. More than half of families reported a desire to participate in a summer learning program this summer.
- Thirteen percent of families reported that summer programs were available to them at no cost in 2013. However, the vast majority of parents paid for programs and the average weekly per-child cost for a summer learning program was $250—high enough to put the programs out of the reach of many children and families.
By Jodi Grant
What an incredible way to start the summer! Two events, two days and two great shout-outs for our afterschool and summer learning programs.
White House Summit on Working Families
On Mon., June 23, the White House hosted its first ever White House Summit on Working Families. The event featured celebrities, journalists and Members of Congress, as well as Dr. Jill Biden, Vice Pres. Joe Biden, Pres. Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama, and pulled out every stop to showcase and highlight the challenges facing our working families.
While every speaker mentioned the need for high-quality childcare, I cheered loudest for Vice Pres. Biden, whose impassioned speech kicked off with a tribute to the power and impact of afterschool programs. Defining families as more than just parents, the vice president spoke about how afterschool programs make a tremendous difference not only for working families, but also for the students who are at the gravest risk during the hours of 3 to 6 p.m. The vice president even gave a shout-out to many of the community-based organizations that help to provide care during the afterschool hours.
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!
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!