RSS | Go To: afterschoolalliance.org
Get Afterschool Updates
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.
Afterschool Donation
Afterschool on Facebook
Afterschool on Twitter
Afterschool Snack Bloggers
Select blogger:
Recent Afterschool Snacks
JUN
18
2015

IN THE FIELD
email
print

Afterschool Ambassadors gear up for summer learning

By Lindsay Damiano

National Summer Learning Day is finally here, and Afterschool Ambassadors across the country have organized exciting and creative ways for their local communities to celebrate.

Ambassadors and Ambassadors Emeriti lead the way in providing afterschool programs to so many kids across the country, and that work doesn’t stop in the summer. National Summer Learning Day is an opportunity to celebrate summer learning and think about how we can get more kids into programs that keep them learning year-round to help close the achievement gap.

To celebrate National Summer Learning Day with STEM and adventure, families in Johnson County, Kansas will participate in “The Mid-Summer’s Night Cache.” This geocaching exploration will lead scavengers with a GPS device to the hidden caches and then to a fire pit with hot dogs, s’mores and summer learning resource materials.

Nearby, Gardner, Kansas L.E.A.D. (Leadership, Education and Development) campers helped the city get ready for the annual Festival on the Trails. In preparation for the festival with more than 11,000 expected visitors, campers helped set up festival structures and learned firsthand about all the planning and hours of work that make large-scale community events possible. L.E.A.D. campers and staff are pictured below preparing the sidewalk for the event.

Gardner, Kansas L.E.A.D. campers help get the community ready for a festival.

 

NOV
12
2014

IN THE FIELD
email
print

Guest Blog: The Cosmic Perspective: A Night with Neil DeGrasse Tyson

By Guest Blogger

Brent Cummings serves as the Program Director for the 21st CCLC initiative managed by Walla Walla, WA Public Schools (WWPS), and was recently selected as an Afterschool Ambassador for the Afterschool Alliance.  He is one of just 13 local leaders from across the country to be chosen for the honor this year. The WWPS 21st CCLC program’s ongoing success rates, significantly higher than expected, reflect Brent's passion for educating at-risk youth in afterschool environments. The unique methodologies and curricula utilized in the WWPS 21st CCLC programs captivate all youth, whose intense engagement prepares them for future success.  A similar post by Brent was first published by School’s Out Washington.

Passionate! Charismatic! Humorous! Celebrity!!! Scientist?!? That’s right.  Dr. Neil DeGrasse Tyson, the “world’s sexiest astrophysicist” (as proclaimed by no lesser an authority than People magazine) wowed a packed Walla Walla, WA audience on Whitman College’s campus the nights of Sept. 11 and 12. 

AUG
6
2014

IN THE FIELD
email
print

Guest Blog: Afterschool programs addressing healthy living and food insecurity through HEPA standards

By Guest Blogger

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.

AUG
4
2014

IN THE FIELD
email
print

Guest Blog: Taking action to provide physical activity afterschool

By Guest Blogger

Wendy Broderick is Chief Development Office of the YMCA of Columbia, SC, and a 2013-2014 Afterschool Ambassador

 

In August 2011, the YMCA of the USA adopted the Healthy Eating and Physical Activity Standards (HEPA Standards) for their afterschool and summer day camp programs. The HEPA Standards outline goals for 1) the nutritional quality of the foods and beverages provided in afterschool programs and those foods and beverages consumed in summer day camps and 2) the amount of physical activity children accumulate while attending these programs.

The YMCA of Columbia and personnel from University of South Carolina partnered together to create strategies to meet the HEPA Standards.  A collaborative workgroup met monthly from September 2011 to May 2012 to identify areas where the programs could be modified, without substantial monetary investment, to achieve the HEPA Standards. The result of these meetings was the development of a comprehensive and coordinated set of strategies called STEPs to HEPA (Strategies To Enhance Practice). STEPs to HEPA were adopted January 2012. Evaluation before the strategies were implemented took place during July, September, and October 2011. Evaluation of the impact of the strategies took place April 2012 through August 2013. 

JUL
9
2014

NEWS ROUNDUP
email
print

Weekly Media Roundup - July 9, 2014

By Luci Manning

Soapbox: Help Students Beat Summer Learning Loss (Coloradoan, Colorado)

Maria Ortiz, an Afterschool Ambassador and the 21st Century Community Learning Center grant director for Poudre School District, calls on parents, school systems, local and state governments and businesses to help students meet the need for summer learning opportunities across the country in a piece for the Coloradoan.  She writes:

“Clearly, we need more summer learning programs, and just as clearly, the problem is funding them. Right now, the federal government provides some funding for summer learning, by way of the 21st Century Community Learning Centers initiative — the principal federal funding stream for after-school programs. But the funding is insufficient to provide summer learning opportunities for all the kids who need them. Until we can find a way to fix that with contributions from parents, school systems, local and state governments, business, and individual donors, too many of our kids will spend more time with video games and remote controls than with all the wondrous opportunities that summer learning programs can offer them.”

ACTC Summer Camp Teaches About Electronic Components (Daily Independent, Kentucky)

In just one week, elementary school children participating in the Ashland Community and Technical College summer learning camp will have created more than 30 electronic devices including burglar alarms, night lights and police sirens.  In this week’s camp the young students are learning theories behind various electrical components and are putting their knowledge to the test.  Craig McDavid, the program’s instructor, told the Daily Independent the time he spent at this camp as a child motivated him to have a career in science and that he hopes these children are similarly inspired.  He said that “this kind of hands-on learning is the best kind of learning. It’s what brings it home.”

YMS Students Film Commercials for Local Non-Profits (York New-Times, Nebraska)

Students at York Middle School’s (YMS) Summer Learning Academy are gaining some real world media experience and helping their community’s nonprofits in a big way.  The students created commercials to help York Adopt-A-Pet and the Palmer Museum.  Matt Maltsberger, YMS social studies and media productions teacher, told the York News-Times that summer learning programs allow students to have educational opportunities outside of the traditional classroom, “I think that getting kids in a different setting—a setting that lets them express themselves—is beneficial.  It’s the ideal situation for great opportunities to learn.”

MAY
8
2014

IN THE FIELD
email
print

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

By Guest Blogger

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.

APR
2
2014

NEWS ROUNDUP
email
print

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. 

NOV
13
2013

NEWS ROUNDUP
email
print

Weekly Media Roundup - November 13, 2013

By Luci Manning

Afterschool Ambassador and Girls on the Run of Montgomery County Executive Director Elizabeth McGlynn and Afterschool Alliance Executive Director Jodi Grant co-authored a piece in the Montgomery County Gazette on the importance of afterschool programs in advance of Girls on the Run of Montgomery County’s 5K fun run on Sunday. They write: “As Montgomery County working moms, we long ago learned what every other working parent can tell you: That every-afternoon chunk of time that starts with the final school bell and ends when parents arrive at home can be filled either with angst or peace of mind, depending on whether your kids are under the watchful eye of caring adults and constructively occupied. After-school programs are a terrific solution, and that’s one reason we’ve both spent years working to make sure such programs are available… Sunday, the girls will be joined by parents, after-school providers, teachers, school administrators, community partners, elected officials, and others — all united by their desire to celebrate the girls’ accomplishment, and to show their support for after-school programs. We hope that message is heard, loud, clear, far and wide!”
 
826DC serves more than 2,000 children in and around the Columbia Heights neighborhood each year inspiring them to become better readers, writers and students. 826DC offers free afterschool tutoring, bookmaking sessions, and in-school writing, storytelling and publishing workshops. “The tutoring center is one of eight 826 locations across the country honored this month with the Library of Congress’ first-ever Literacy Award, meant to recognize organizations working to address illiteracy in America,” the Washington Post reports.
 
“Dozens of Palm Terrace Elementary School students rallied recently to draw attention to the need for more after-school programs,” the Daytona Times reports. Kenneth Walker, who works at the school, told the paper that there are millions of children nationwide who are unsupervised and at risk each weekday afternoon.