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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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APR
9

IN THE FIELD
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Guest Blog: Take 25 for your afterschool programs

By Alexis Steines

Jenna-Lyn Ryckebusch, Massachusetts, currently serves as the Senior Programs Coordinator at the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. Ms. Ryckebusch has her master’s degree in Forensic Psychology and received a Bachelor of Science from Ursinus College in Psychology and Spanish. She is a proud mentor through Big Brothers Big Sisters and a member of the FBI Citizen’s Academy.

 

I recently exhibited at the National AfterSchool Association Annual Convention and was excited to meet many of you and hear about the needs of your afterschool organizations. I spoke to several attendees seeking innovative educational tools that can easily be implemented into youth programs. At the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC), we understand how important it is to have access to free resources that help educate children and keep them safe. 

What NCMEC can offer you

Keeping children safe is an important role and one with which you are very familiar. As a caretaker for children of all ages, you are the perfect representatives to bring safety resources to your community.  This is why you should join NCMEC in a grassroots campaign, Take 25.

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learn more about: Events and Briefings Guest Blog Youth Development Community Partners
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MAR
28

IN THE FIELD
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Guest Blog: Building trust in afterschool drug and alcohol education programs

By Sarah Simpson

This guest post is by Saint Jude Retreats, a non-12 step non-treatment alternative to traditional drug and alcohol rehab. The program concentrates on self-directed positive neuroplastic change and positive self-change as an alternative to traditional alcohol and drug treatment. 

 

America After 3PM found that nearly one-quarter of American children are left unsupervised after school each day. Creating accessible afterschool programs and encouraging youth attendance can help promote better well-being for thousands of children. Afterschool programs also provide an opportunity for interaction with trusted adults outside the classroom, making them a rich space for discussing issues such as drug and alcohol use and prevention.

Encourage Trust

A study published in the Journal of Alcohol & Drug Education found that building and maintaining trust is essential in effective drug and alcohol prevention programs. The middle school students interviewed for the study overwhelmingly cited the importance of trusting educators in the effectiveness of the program for two important reasons: quality of information and confidentiality. On one hand, the students recognized the need for good information regarding drugs and alcohol. On the other hand, students perceived that asking questions about drugs and alcohol could be tantamount to an admission of using drugs or alcohol, or at least considering it. Many students in the study considered their teachers trustworthy when it came to the quality of the information, but had doubts about their confidentiality. Students with these doubts were worried about their teacher's or peers' opinions about them and if asking a question would affect their academic and social futures. In some cases, they were more likely to talk to a D.A.R.E. officer than their teacher, even though the officer was a police representative.

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learn more about: Guest Blog Health and Wellness Youth Development
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MAR
28

FUNDING
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Guest Blog: Benefits of exercise for school-aged children

By Sarah Simpson

David Reeves is Marketing Manager of Playland Inc. in Carrollton, GA. Playland Inc., is a total solutions manufacturer and supplier to many industries, with its roots deep in the park and playground markets including churches, schools, and day care centers.

 

As kids spend more time watching TV, they spend less time exercising and playing. Just like adults, kids need exercise, and there are plenty of benefits of exercising for school-aged children. As you may know, one hour of physical activity per day is the commonly suggested amount for kids to get the most out of these benefits.

Some benefits of exercise for school-aged children are pretty obvious, such as weight control. Kids who exercise also fulfill a great number of vital emotional, social and cognitive needs. Play helps kids feel better, act better and think better. They feel less stressed, and higher levels of physical fitness also improve confidence. They sleep better at night and are ready to learn more in school. Exercise helps kids build and keep healthy bones, muscles and joints. Kids who exercise with their peers also learn teamwork and goal setting, and the chance of developing diseases later in life is greatly reduced.

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learn more about: Guest Blog Health and Wellness
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MAR
27

STEM
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Guest Blog: Free STEM career role model webcast

By Melissa Ballard

This blog post was contributed by Laura Batt, director of educational programs at JASON Learning, an exploration-based organization that links students to real science and scientists. Laura works in JASON's out-of-school-time division, Immersion Learning, which focuses on developing multi-media ocean science curricula.

Ever wondered how to get a job designing video games? Or what it feels like to swim with sharks? Or what it takes to be a rocket scientist? For answers to these questions and more, JASON Learning invites you to participate in our free, live, interactive webcasts with career role models in STEM .
The mission of JASON Learning, a nonprofit managed by Sea Research Foundation in partnership with the National Geographic Society, is to inspire and educate kids everywhere through real science and exploration. One of our focus areas is inspiring kids to pursue careers in STEM. According to the 2010 Lemelson-MIT Invention Index, two reasons kids feel discouraged from pursuing careers in STEM fields are 1) a lack of understanding of what people in the fields do and 2) not knowing anyone who works in the fields. Although we at JASON do take some kids on actual scientific expeditions through our National Argonaut program, taking the 1 million kids we serve each year would be a bit impractical. So we do the next best thing — invite them all to tune in to our live webcasts with real STEM professionals. If you have struggled with finding STEM role models for your youth, you don’t need to worry any longer—we bring the role models to you!
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learn more about: Digital Learning Events and Briefings Guest Blog Science Community Partners
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MAR
10

FUNDING
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Guest blog: Summer nutrition programs--providing energy and enrichment

By Alexis Steines

Signe Anderson is the senior child nutrition policy analyst at the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC).

 

Summer should be an exciting time for all children, yet millions of low-income students lose access to healthful meals and enrichment opportunities when the school year ends. In summer 2012 only 1 in 7 low-income children who participated in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) had access to free summer meals. The Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) could assist summer programs in filling both voids of lost nutrition and lost enrichment opportunities for children who participate. Your program may be eligible to receive federal funding to provide healthful meals to children 18 years or younger in addition to the activities youre already providing. To be eligible, summer programs must be located in or near an elementary, middle, or high school where 50 percent or more of the students qualify for free or reduced-price meals. Once qualified, the program can provide meals to all participating students. Census data can also be used to qualify your program site for the meal program. A summer meal program site can exist anywhere children congregate during the summer months such as parks, pools, churches and schools.

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learn more about: Federal Funding Guest Blog Nutrition Summer Learning
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MAR
7

STEM
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Guest Blog: Quality afterschool STEM necessitates quality teaching and learning

By Melissa Ballard

Jeff Davis is the Program Director of STEM in OST Programs at the California AfterSchool Network.  This post originally appeared on the Click2SciencePD blog on Nov. 28, 2013.

 

 

 

The Expanding Minds and Opportunities compendium highlights persuasive evidence on the effectiveness of expanded learning (afterschool, summer, inter-session, etc.) opportunities.  In one article, the authors state:

“…Quality afterschool and summer learning opportunities work.  We know that quality expanded learning programs are associated with increased academic performance, increased attendance in school, significant improvement in behavior and social and emotional development, and greater opportunities for hands-on learning in important areas that are not typically available during the school day” (Peterson, Fowler, and Dunham, p. 357).

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learn more about: Guest Blog Science State Networks Youth Development
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MAR
4

STEM
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Guest blog: Anytime, anywhere STEM professional development

By Melissa Ballard

Lisa Mielke, a former zookeeper, is the Science Manager at TASC (The After-School Corporation). She leads STEM training and professional development for directors and front-line staff at out-of-school-time programs throughout New York City. One of the ways TASC supports schools and community partners to expand learning opportunities is to build the capacity of staff members to lead STEM inquiry.

This post originally appeared on TASC’s blog on Feb. 27, 2014.

As someone who trains hundreds of New York City out-of-school-time program directors and frontline staff every year, I’m excited about the best resource I’ve seen in ages for supporting more and better STEM learning. It’s a new, interactive professional development website called Click2Science.

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learn more about: Guest Blog
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DEC
12

POLICY
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Guest Blog: Teens take D.C.

By Sarah Simpson

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.

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learn more about: Advocacy Afterschool Voices Congress Guest Blog Youth Development
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