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JUN
14
2017

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup: June 14, 2017

By Luci Manning

Inside and Outside the Classroom, After-School Programs Work (PennLive, Pennsylvania)

Several Pennsylvania state representatives and Pennsylvania Statewide/Afterschool Youth Development Network Director Laura Saccente argue in favor of afterschool funding in a PennLive op-ed: “Pennsylvania’s 21st CCLC programs provide mentors to students that have no place to go after the school day…. In 21st CCLC programs, students have the opportunity to learn and explore some of the most innovative technology available today through STEM activities…. The worst thing we can do is take these programs away from the kids and families who depend on them. Supporting afterschool is a healthy, smart investment in our kids, our families and our communities. Let’s protect that investment in Pennsylvania.”

Grad Empowers Girls in Wake of Nasty Politics (Cincinnati Enquirer, Ohio)

Frustrated by what she saw as a negative climate for women in last year’s presidential election, recent high school graduate Nico Thom started She Became, an afterschool program meant to empower young girls to follow their dreams. Through the free, twice-monthly program, the third- through fifth-grade students have heard from female photographers, nurses, CEOs, layers and dentists about how to achieve their lofty goals. “There is a big lack in public schools of girl-centered confidence-boosting activity,” Thom told the Cincinnati Enquirer.

M*A*S*H* Actress Teaches Wendell Kids About Theater (Times-News, Idaho)

Students in Wendell School District’s Kids 4 Broadway afterschool program received special acting lessons from former M*A*S*H* actress Connor Snyder last week. The theater program combines lessons in the performing arts and STEM – students will perform a play on Friday about a family visited by a number of famous scientists from the past to explain their inventions and help them solve a technological problem. Many Wendell students come from low-income families and have not been exposed to theater in the past. “They’re learning there’s just this whole other world out there beyond Wendell, Idaho,” 21st Century program direct Jennifer Clark told the Times-News.

Monadnock Officials Find Way to Continue Before- and After-School Program (Keene Sentinel, New Hampshire)

Despite a loss of federal grants and other funding sources, Monadnock Regional School District officials worked out a way to keep the doors open to the popular ACES 93 and Back to Basics afterschool programs. The programs at several elementary schoosl will merge and fees will be raised for some students in order to make up for the funding losses, according to the Keene Sentinel. Approximately 435 students in kindergarten through eighth grade participate in the two programs.   

MAY
31
2017

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup: May 31, 2017

By Luci Manning

Squash Gives Kids a Way to Win Big on Court, in Life (Plain Dealer, Ohio)

Students from low-income neighborhoods throughout Cleveland are being recruited to play a somewhat unusual sport – squash. Some 45 students participate in Urban Squash Cleveland. “This is really about youth development,” Urban Community School Associate Director Tom Gill told the Plain Dealer, “and we are committed to the whole child approach and to the physical, social, emotional, spiritual and academic development of a child, and you can’t do all of that in a classroom during the school day.” Urban Squash Cleveland is one of 23 sites youth development organizations that combine homework help, community service and entrepreneurship opportunities, and squash lessons.

Where Girls Become ‘Mighty’ (Metro Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)

Mighty Writers, a popular and successful afterschool writing program in Philadelphia, has added a new class to its roster focused on empowering young girls. The Girl Power writing series introduces girls ages seven to 17 to the writing of women like Audre Lorde, Maya Angelou, Margaret Atwood, and Malala Yousafzai, inspiring them to find their inner ‘girl power’ through poetry and creative writing exercises. “If we express ourselves in writing, we can get somewhere in life and be just as equal as men,” 14-year-old Nyelah Johnson told Metro

Latinitas Marks 15 Years of Media, Tech Training for Girls and Teenagers (Austin American-Statesman, Texas)

Next month, Latinitas will celebrate 15 successful years of providing digital media and technology training to thousands of girls and teens across Texas. The nonprofit offers workshops, camps, afterschool programs, an online magazine and a soon-to-come virtual reality design program to introduce young Latinas to media and tech, sectors in which they are not currently well-represented. “I believe discussing the representations of Latinas in media at such a young age required me to constantly self-reflect,” Latinitas alumna Krista Nesbitt told the Austin American-Statesman. “I felt compelled to think about what I wanted to represent and stand for. Above all, Latinitas inspired me to be fearless and passionate.”

Nonprofit Helps Instill Cooking Skills (Riverton Ranger, Wyoming)

The Arapaho Odyssey Cooking and Gardening afterschool program is teaching elementary schoolers how to cook healthy, satisfying meals. The program uses a mobile ‘kitchen for every classroom’ provided by the nonprofit Charlie Cart Project to give students a hands-on opportunity to learn about nutrition, collaboration, food education and more. Students cook up dishes like herb and cheese frittatas, strawberry shortcakes and banana oatmeal cookies, often using ingredients from the school’s garden. “Cooking is a life lesson,” special education paraprofessional Hope Peralta told the Riverton Ranger. “We’re trying to teach a healthier way rather than eating out of a box.” 

MAY
26
2017

IN THE FIELD
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Not The Onion: Horses, surfboards, and cyberattacks in afterschool

By Jodi Grant

Photo by Pete Markham

Despite a wealth of research showing the importance of afterschool and widespread popularity with parents, students, teachers and community leaders, programs have never been more threatened. This week the president decided to double down on his call to eliminate afterschool funding in his 2018 budget proposal, leaving 1.6 million kids’ with no where to go after school. It’s a serious matter with implications for Americans across the country.  The cut has caught the attention of major national media, local media across the country, and late night comedians and Saturday Night Live.  

The Afterschool Alliance isn’t exempt from the heightened publicity. On Monday, we had our first mention in The Onion, which wrote a satirical piece on the Secretary of Education’s new plan to replace 21st Century Community Learning Centers with afterschool polo programs across the country.

I was flattered to be mentioned, but as in all great satire, the piece contained a lot of truth. If the Secretary of Education did call me, I’d be thrilled to tell her about pretty amazing afterschool programs. I haven’t heard of afterschool polo yet, but given the creativity and ingenuity local communities across the nation have developed, I would not be surprised. Afterschool programs keep kids safe, boost student success, and help working families – and quite often, they also blow your mind.

MAY
9
2017

IN THE FIELD
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Join the Popsicle Project this weekend and celebrate afterschool!

By Charlotte Steinecke

  

Show your community what your garden grows by participating in the Popsicle Project from May 12 to 14. Created by Greenville ISD ACE as a springtime celebration of afterschool, the project encourages participants to plant paper flowers attached to popsicle sticks in an outdoor location to illustrate how many children are impacted by their afterschool programs.

Interested? All you need is a plot of earth, a few craft supplies, and a social media presence! Here’s how to join:

  1. Gather enough supplies for every child in your program: “OST Grows People” front and back flower templates, large popsicle or craft sticks, school bus yellow cardstock, and packing tape.
  2. Print your flowers and the description of the Popsicle Project double-sided on your yellow cardstock.
  3. Cut out the flowers and adhere them to the popsicle sticks. 
  4. Plant the popsicle sticks, one per child, in a spot where students, parents, and your community can view them. Be sure to get permission from the landowner before your plant your sticks!
  5. Take pictures and share them on your social media! Be sure to use the hashtags #PopsicleProjectOST and #AfterschoolWorks.
  6. Remove the flowers by May 15.

This Mother’s Day, grow some support for afterschool and let your community see how many students benefit from afterschool programs!

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learn more about: Afterschool Voices Arts
MAY
1
2017

LIGHTS ON
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Cast your vote in the 2017 Lights On Afterschool poster contest!

By Rachel Clark

Over the last few months, we’ve received hundreds of impressive submissions for the 2017 Lights On Afterschool poster contest. Using paint, crayons, colored pencils, mixed media, and even digital design tools, students of all ages from communities nationwide shared a wide variety of creative interpretations illustrating what afterschool means to them.

Given the volume of artwork we received, it was challenging to narrow down all of these submissions and select our finalists. After much debate, we’ve chosen four designs to advance to our round of online voting. Our finalists are:

  • Angela, an 11th grader from the Youth Policy Institute at Camino Nuevo HS – Miramar in Los Angeles, Calif.
  • Malisa, an 8th grader from the 21st Century Learning program in Kapolei, Hawaii
  • Pamela, an 8th grader from the Valley View Middle School Texas ACE Program in El Paso, Texas
  • Marquez, Ethan M., Andrew, Ethan B., Takhia, Gabby, and Janasia, a team of artists in grades 9 to 12 from BCHS 21st CCLC Afterschool Program in Bay Minette, Ala.

You can see previews of the finalist designs above—be sure to head over to our Facebook page to pick the winner! To vote, simply click “like” (or another reaction) on the image with your favorite artwork. You can vote for multiple designs if you’d like, but we encourage you to stick to picking one favorite—remember, voting for more than one design dilutes the power of your vote.

The voting period will close at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, May 10. The finalist with the most likes and reactions at that time will be your 2017 Lights On Afterschool poster! The winning artist (or team of artists) will see their masterpiece featured on tens of thousands of posters at more than 8,000 Lights On Afterschool celebrations nationwide and take home $500 for their afterschool program.

The exemplary artwork we’ve seen this year not only demonstrates the amazing artistic talent being fostered in afterschool programs across the nation, but also how much students love their afterschool programs. Congratulations to this year’s finalists!

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learn more about: Arts
MAR
1
2017

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup: March 1, 2017

By Luci Manning

New Arapahoe Programs Boost Schools’ Test Scores (Riverton Ranger, Wyoming)

Students in the Fremont County School District have improved their performance on key academic assessments, thanks in part to a new series of reading, math and afterschool programs. The schools’ 21st Century Community Learning Centers program aims to improve graduation rates and to combat alcohol abuse, while a special committee to improve academic performance in the district funds swimming lessons, recreation programs and more. “We give our students the opportunity to succeed, and they shall,” school district Board of Trustees chair Charlene Gambler-Brown told the Riverton Ranger.

Youth Program Shines Light on Richness of Nation’s African American Past (Anderson Herald Bulletin, Indiana)

Students from the Anderson Girls and Boys Club helped educate the public about African American culture at a special Black History Month program this week. The event featured individual and group performances from several Girls and Boys Club members and groups, and was attended by Mayor Thomas Broderick and other city leaders. “The importance of this is for our youth to learn about our history and our culture,” afterschool program director Larry McClendon told the Anderson Herald Bulletin.

Four Years after Oscar, Young Artist Still Paints (San Diego Union Tribune, California)

A San Diego afterschool program helped a young homeless girl nurture her artistic talent in a journey that led her all the way to the Academy Awards. Four years ago, then 16-year-old Inocente Izucar won an Oscar for best documentary short for a film based on her own life as a young woman who used art to create an alternate reality free of abuse, homelessness and poverty, according to the San Diego Union Tribune. She now produces films and sells her artwork, but always makes time to visit A Reason to Survive (ARTS), the afterschool program that helped her thrive and helps other youth cope with adversity through painting and other artistic endeavors.

Davis’ Next Gig: Inspiring Detroit Girls (Detroit Free Press, Michigan)

World champion figure skater Meryl Davis may not be competing in the 2018 Winter Olympics, but she is nurturing the next generation of young figure skaters. Figure Skating in Detroit is a new program inspired by former skater Sasha Cohen’s program of the same name in Harlem, meant to inspire young girls of color to learn to skate and find their passion in life. The program will provide free skates, equipment and training for 300 girls in its first year through introductory workshops, a summer day camp and a year-round afterschool program. “The program will help expose young girls of color, who may not have traveled much further beyond their neighborhood, to skating, education and leadership,” director Geneva Williams told the Detroit Free Press. “It’s about girl power.”

FEB
1
2017

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup: February 1, 2017

By Luci Manning

Students Empower Children’s Futures (Reflector: Mississippi State University, Mississippi)

Mississippi State University students are acting as homework helpers and positive role models to low-income students in Starkville through the Brickfire Mentoring Program. The Brickfire Project helps low-income families through childcare, afterschool programs and job training. The program has proved beneficial for both youth and college students, according to Mississippi State senior Holly Travis. “I fell in love with the kids and saw an opportunity to have a lasting impact on the students,” she told the Reflector.

Girls Explore Science, Technology, Math with Help from Lieutenant Governor (Lexington Herald Leader, Kentucky)

Kentucky Lt. Gov. Jenean Hampton is trying to boost the number of women in STEM fields through a new afterschool initiative, the Lieutenant Governor’s STEM Challenge for Girls. The program involves 33 students from two Fayette County middle schools and aims to eventually expand statewide. Students will participate in six afterschool sessions working on STEM projects and hearing from professionals in various scientific fields. Melissa Graham, science department chairwoman at Leestown Middle School, told the Lexington Herald Leader that the program is “going to show girls that it doesn’t matter what your gender is, that you can be successful in a STEM occupation.”

Partnership to Take Learning in Detroit Beyond Classroom (Detroit News, Michigan)

A collaboration between Detroit schools and a variety of arts and science venues is expanding learning opportunities for students throughout the city. The participating organizations—including the Detroit Institute of Arts, Belle Isle Nature Center and Detroit Symphony Orchestra—will engage students and families in afterschool events focused on STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math). “Our families and students need these experiences, and what happens inside the classrooms needs to be supported by what happens outside the classroom,” interim Detroit Schools Superintendent Alycia Meriweather told Detroit News.

Highlands Resident Working to Preserve After-School Program (Tucson Explorer, Arizona)

After the afterschool program Project YES lost one of its major grants, a local woman decided to take supporting the program into her own hands. Dot Santy, who has volunteered for and donated to Project YES for the past ten years, is now trying a variety of methods to raise $35,000 so that the program can boost its enrollment from 19 to 85 students. She believes the program provides huge benefits to the community and the children it serves. “Success early encourages them to continue with their education and become contributing citizens to our community,” she told the Tucson Explorer

JAN
18
2017

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup: January 18, 2017

By Luci Manning

‘Hidden Figures’ Stars Encourage Girls to Pursue STEM Careers During LA Screening (EdSource)

Approximately 10,000 middle and high school girls from the Los Angeles area had a chance to attend a special screening of the new film ‘Hidden Figures’ and hear from some of the film’s stars about why it’s important for women of color to pursue careers in STEM fields. The event was organized by the LA Promise fund, a nonprofit that helps middle and high school girls prepare for college and careers, and featured Grammy winner Pharrell Williams, Oscar winner Octavia Spencer and actors Janelle Monáe and Aldis Hodge. “Our goal here is to kill that very old-school mentality that math, science, technology and engineering are made for the male mind,” Williams told EdSource

A Splash of Tropic Sunshine (Coeur d’Alene Press, Idaho)

Students at the Sorensen Magnet School of the Arts and Humanities are taking a break from winter to visit Hawaii – without leaving their afterschool classroom. The school’s artist-in-residence, Bria Zan Thompson, is spending two weeks teaching students about Hawaiian dance, legends, environment and culture. The two-week unit will culminate with a big dance production at the end of the week, with different grades responsible for different dances. According to the Coeur d’Alene Press, the artist-in-residence program brings in an outside professional to teach something students wouldn’t normally learn during the school day.

Alumnae Expose High School Students to Art, Stained Glass Making (Temple News, Pennsylvania)

Students in a Philadelphia afterschool program are learning to create art that can last a lifetime. The middle and high school students involved in the Stained Glass Project learn stained glass window-making from two Temple University alumnae. In the 11 years the program has been running, the students have donated at least 115 stained glass windows to schools and centers around the world, including a primary school in South Africa and a Native American reservation in Minnesota, according to Temple News. “When in [the student’s] lives do they have a chance to do something and … donate it?” Joan Myerson Shrager, one of the women in charge of the program, said. “I think there’s a lot of pride in our students that they have created something very beautiful that they then donate.”

Volunteers, Students Work to Bridge Generation Gap (Herald-Dispatch, West Virginia)

Teens and seniors came together over Bingo this MLK Day as part of President Barack Obama’s national call-to-service initiative, United We Serve. More than 100 students from the Westmoreland Teen Center and 31 AmeriCorps volunteers played games at nursing and retirement homes and passed out gift bags filled with compression socks, lip balm and lotions. “(I hope they learn) there isn’t really a difference between the populations,” teen center director Dawn Baumgardner told the Herald-Dispatch. “They are just like us. There is a lot that they can learn from the older generation. Hopefully it will encourage them to help out and volunteer more when they see the older population.” 

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learn more about: Science Service Arts Community Partners