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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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The prevalence of adverse childhood experiences

By Nikki Yamashiro

Close to half of children (45 percent) in the U.S. have experienced at least one adverse childhood experience (ACE)—an experience that could have negative and lasting effects on one’s health and wellbeing, such as depression, drug abuse, and poor physical health. One in 9 children has experienced three or more ACEs, placing them in a higher risk category for negative health outcomes both mental and physical. And African American and Hispanic children are more likely to have experienced ACES than white and Asian children. These are a few of the sobering key findings from a recent research brief by Child Trends, “The prevalence of adverse childhood experiences, nationally, by state, and by race/ethnicity,” examining the incidence of adverse childhood experiences in the U.S.

Based on data from the 2016 National Survey of Children’s Health, Child Trends reported on eight ACEs measures, which range from if a child has ever experienced economic hardships somewhat or very often to if a child has ever lived with anyone who was mentally ill or suicidal or severely depressed for more than a couple of weeks. Nationally, the two most common ACEs are experiencing economic hardships and having a parent or guardian separate or divorce, with approximately 1 in 4 children experiencing at least one of these.




The view from Ground Zero: Q&A on the opioid crisis

By Guest Blogger

By Nila Cobb.

Welcome to the first of a two-part question-and-answer session with Nila Cobb, healthy lifestyles specialist and assistant director of the West Virginia Statewide Afterschool Network. In the first part, Nila describes the earliest signs of the opioid crisis impacting her community and her view on the role of afterschool in supporting children through the epidemic. Read part two here.

What were the first signs of the opioid crisis in your community?

I was aware in 1997 that a crisis was brewing. I worked as a medical social worker at both the Veteran’s Affairs Medical Center and a private hospital. I saw the damage opioids were causing when patients arrived at the hospitals with drug-seeking behaviors and I watched as they were often provided with prescriptions they would either abuse or sell. Unfortunately, I also saw an extremely personal side of the crisis as my then-19-year-old daughter became addicted through prescriptions. As a family, we have been through many traumatic experiences as she went through the spiral of addiction and then fought back through recovery.



How to bring older adult volunteers into youth-serving organizations

By Elizabeth Tish

“Every child deserves a web of support, and every older adult has something to give.”

That is the motto of the Generation to Generation (Gen2Gen) campaign, a national effort launched by to inspire adults over 50 to make a positive difference in the lives of children and youth. By dismantling the age barriers between generations and connecting youth and children to older adults through positive, everyday interactions, Gen2Gen aims to improve the lives of people across the age spectrum: empowering older adults to give back to their communities and rebuilding the villages that raise our children.

As personal testimonies and research point to benefits for kids and older adults alike, intergenerational friendships and interactions present themselves as a path to creating closer-knit and happier communities. In particular, informal learning and childcare programs stand to benefit from an invested, diverse cohort of volunteers—making afterschool programs prime opportunities to bring senior volunteers into the lives of school-age children.

Are you interested in getting involved with the campaign? Here are a few ways get started: