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FEB
5

FUNDING
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White House proposes $5.5 billion to help young adults find their first jobs

By Jillian Luchner

Do you remember your first job? Did you find it in the classifieds, through a family friend? Did it provide a reality check on that place called the “real world?" Did it help you make friends, connections, build confidence? Did it help you get your second job?

President Obama’s fiscal year 2017 budget proposal aims to provide $5.5 billion dollars to connect young people with their first jobs. According to the White House, the reason is simple, “one of the first things employers screen for in the hiring process is work experience…Once a young person gets their first job, its much easier to get the next one." Currently, 1 in 7 young people are both out of school and out of work. The new proposal could provide an opportunity for summer learning providers to partner with potential summer work employers to provide a comprehensive learning experience for young people.

The initiative, which coordinates among the Departments of Labor and Education, has multiple components to help youth ages 16-24 get their foot in the door, including:

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learn more about: Federal Funding Obama
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FEB
5

FUNDING
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NRPA announces available funds to support HEPA implementation

By Tiereny Lloyd

The National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) recently announced a new funding opportunity, through the Walmart Foundation, to support park and recreation agencies in their efforts to benefit children’s health. The one-year grants are expected to range from $25,000 to $35,000 and will focus on four main goals:

  • Increase the number of healthy meals children in low-income communities receive through the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) and the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) during out-of-school times;
  • Provide nutrition literacy to children and families that creates behavior change by teaching the importance of healthy eating;
  • Implement nutrition standards that increase access to healthier foods and support a healthy eating environment; and
  • Promote meal and program efficiencies that will decrease food waste and lead to more sustainable meal programs.

All local park and recreation agencies (large and small) are encouraged to apply. Grant funds can be used to support your out-of-school time program's expenses such as transportation, equipment, staffing, marketing, supplies, etc. The funding cannot be used to purchase food.

Applications are due at midnight ET on Monday, March 7, 2016. It is anticipated that NRPA will notify all applicants by April 4, 2016. Visit NRPA's website to review full eligibility guidelines and to submit your application.

Park and recreation agencies are the health and wellness leaders in their communities. Having a safe place to go after school, being active and eating healthy are vital services park and recreation agencies provide. That's why NRPA created Commit to Health—a campaign that supports the implementation and evaluation of Healthy Eating, Physical Activity (HEPA) standards in park and recreation sites across the country.

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learn more about: Federal Funding Health and Wellness Community Partners
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FEB
3

POLICY
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Child nutrition policy proposals focus on afterschool and summer learning programs

By Erik Peterson

With the Improving Child Nutrition Integrity and Access Act of 2016 unanimously passing the Senate Agriculture Committee last month, the process of reauthorizing the federal child nutrition programs is well under way. The bill, which is expected to head to the Senate floor sometime this spring, would impact the National School Lunch Program (NSLP), the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) and the Child and Adult Care Feeding Program (CACFP) At-Risk Afterschool Meals. At the same time President Obama recently announced a new Administration initiative calling for major investments in preventing child hunger.

The bipartisan child nutrition reauthorization bill, crafted by Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts (R-KS) and Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), includes a number of provisions of interest to afterschool and summer learning providers, including:

  • Streamlining summer and afterschool meal coordination, which will allow afterschool meal sites to choose to operate year-round through the Summer Food Service Program. This will allow sponsors to operate one program rather than two, and significantly reduce duplicative paperwork and confusing administrative rules protecting the new school meal nutrition standards that are improving our children’s health and the school nutrition environment. The Afterschool Alliance had strongly recommended such a provision. The streamlining provision is phased in over time.

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learn more about: Budget Congress Health and Wellness
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FEB
3

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup: February 3, 2016

By Luci Manning

Students Get Young Peers Excited About Science Through Outreach Programs (Wesleyan Argus, Connecticut)

Middletown elementary students are gazing through telescopes, designing galaxies and making crystals thanks to two programs run by the Wesleyan University astronomy department that aim to make science fun for young students. Wesleyan students write lesson plans and run the afterschool Kids Korner at five elementary schools in the area, expanding children’s interest in science. “The most rewarding part about being involved with the program is watching the elementary school kids’ faces light up when they learn something new,” club co-coordinator Madeleine Junkins told the Wesleyan Argus.

Raytheon Helps Afterschool Club Members Discover Physics of Fun at Frisco’s Dr. Pepper Arena (Frisco Enterprise, Texas)

Three hundred Boys & Girls Club members recently learned how math and physics affect the basketball skills of their favorite professional players. Employees from defense contractor Raytheon used basketballs to demonstrate different science lessons to students and let them show off their physical prowess. They discussed how air pressure affects the buoyancy of a basketball, compared their heights and wingspans with those of several Dallas Mavericks players and tested their leaping abilities. Raytheon hoped the event would show students how important science is to everyday life. “Music, sports – there’s math and science in everything you love to do,” senior community relations manager Kim Parks told the Frisco Enterprise. Raytheon’s eight North Texas locations have supported area Boys & Girls Clubs with Engineering Week events and other volunteer activities.

Lessons in Learning: Aloha Angels Funds Almost 50 After-School Programs Districtwide (Garden Island, Hawaii)

Several years ago, Koloa Elementary Schools stopped receiving government funding for afterschool programs. Thanks to Aloha Angels, this year they were able to offer 15 programs, including ukulele band, art and cooking. Aloha Angels, a nonprofit that raises funds to support teachers and students, turned its attention to afterschool a few years ago and has since raised $334,000 to help fund programs throughout the school district. “The organization started funding afterschool programs in 2014 after Sherry Gonsalves, principal at Kilauea Elementary School, emphasized the importance of needing an outlet for students to learn subjects like art, music and sports, which are not taught during the school day, said Ric Cox, president of Aloha Angles,” the Garden Island reports. Now six different schools offer at least five programs, each emphasizing the mentoring relationships between teachers and students.

Afterschool Program at Centennial Farm Earns an Award (Los Angeles Times, California)

The California Park and Recreation Society recently recognized the Ranch Afterschool Program, an initiative of Costa Mesa’s Parks and Community Services Department that provides students with hands-on farming experience. According to the Los Angeles Times, the program teaches students agricultural techniques and how to care for farm animals, even maintaining a portion of the farm’s land. “Agricultural education helps children learn about healthy food choices and teaches them different ways to access fresh fruits and vegetables,” city spokesman Tony Dodero said. “Most importantly, students begin to understand the deep impact agriculture has in their lives: past, future and present.” 

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learn more about: Science Sustainability Youth Development Community Partners
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FEB
2

RESEARCH
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A second look at "Parenting in America"

By Nikki Yamashiro

Last month, we wrote a blog highlighting key findings from the Pew Research Center’s report, Parenting in America: Outlook, worries, aspirations are strongly linked to financial situation. Due to the enormous amount of questions asked in the Pew survey and the variety of demographic breakdowns covered in the 100-plus report, we weren’t able to dive deep into each and every one of the findings that stood out to us. Which is why we decided to go back, take a second look at the report, and this time take parents’ responses related to afterschool in Pew’s survey and compare them to parents’ responses from America After 3PM, our national household survey examining how children spend the hours after school.

A key takeaway from Pew’s report that I'd like to spend a little more time on are the socioeconomic and racial gaps that arise, especially when looking at parents’ ability to find afterschool opportunities for their children. The report found that for some parents—especially lower-income families and African-American parents—locating affordable, high-quality afterschool activities and programs in their community is challenging. More than half of families making less than $30,000 annually (52 percent) report that it is hard to find affordable, high-quality afterschool programs and activities. This is 23 percentage points higher than families with an annual income of over $75,000. African-American parents are even more likely to report difficulties. Fifty-six percent of African-American parents report that it is hard to find afterschool programs and activities. This is also higher than both White and Hispanic parents (35 percent and 38 percent, respectively). 

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learn more about: Working Families
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JAN
29

STEM
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Encourage your female high school students to try coding this summer!

By Erin Murphy

Girls Who Code has just opened applications for their FREE Summer Immersion Program, a seven-week introduction to computer science for 10th and 11th grade girls. If you have girls who are or might be interested in coding or STEM, please encourage them to apply! No prior experience is required.

During the program, participants connect coding to their passions, explore career opportunities within the world of computer science and engineering, and join a supportive and diverse community of girls who are passionate about coding.

Girls Who Code will be hosting 18 Summer Immersion Programs in the following cities:

  • Atlanta, GA (new!)
  • Austin TX (new!)
  • Boston, MA
  • Chicago, IL
  • Miami, FL
  • New York, NY
  • Newark, NJ
  • Seattle, WA
  • Washington, DC
  • Emeryville, CA
  • Los Angeles, CA
  • Mountain View, CA
  • Palo Alto, CA
  • Redwood City, CA
  • San Francisco, CA
  • San Jose, CA
  • San Ramon, CA
  • Santa Clara, CA

Though the program itself is free, additional transportation stipends and need-based scholarships are available to support students who qualify.
Applications are due March 1, 2016 at 11:59 PM PST.

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learn more about: Digital Learning Science Community Partners
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JAN
28

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup: January 28, 2016

By Luci Manning

College Classes for Middle School Students? It’s Happening in Hayward (EdSource, California)

Middle school students in Hayward are studying anthropology, sociology, engineering and music after school – and earning college credit for their efforts. The district has partnered with Chabot College, a community college in Hayward, to offer courses at five area middle schools. Hayward may be the only middle school in California – or the country – to reach out to younger students. The primary purpose of the program is to expose middle school students to college work and show that they are college material. “Administrators in the district say that many of their students have no relatives or friends who have gone to college and are in danger of thinking or being told that college is not for them,” reports EdSource

Tutor Helps Student Get Back to ‘A’ Level (Chicago Sun Times, Illinois)

Former math teacher Andrea Morgan is going above and beyond the call of duty as a tutor and mentor with the Chicago Lights Tutoring program. Her weekly one-on-one after school tutoring sessions with 17-year-old Zaria Greenlee turned into regular hang-outs for the pair. They cook dinner, shop for school supplies and even visit colleges together. The program pairs tutors with 400 students of all ages from underprivileged neighborhoods on Chicago’s Near North Side and West Side, and while many of these relationships extend beyond the walls of the classroom, Zaria and Morgan have formed a uniquely strong bond. “She’s more than a tutor to me – she’s like my best friend,” Zaria told the Chicago Sun Times.

SFA Partnering with Children in Nature to Encourage Kids to Get Outdoors More (KTRE, Texas)

While many of their peers stay inside and play video games, children in the Nacogdoches Boys & Girls Club are learning to cook outdoors and carry backpacks, thanks to a partnership with Stephen F. Austin State University (SFA). The afterschool outdoor education program is part of a Texas Children in Nature Network statewide initiative, a partnership of 300 organizations (including SFA) that aim to connect children and parents to the natural world. “In 2009, a bipartisan group got together and said this is really important that we need to get more kids and families interacting with nature,” state coordinator Jennifer Bristol told KTRE.

The Science of Food, Taught Peer to Peer (Philadelphia Public School Notebook, Pennsylvania)

Kids often don’t listen when their parents tell them to eat their vegetables, but one program in Philadelphia is proving that they may listen to their peers. Nonprofit Greener Partners, which works to increase access to fresh food, trains high school students to be Food Youth Leaders, tasking them with building lesson plans and running afterschool programs that promote gardening, farming and healthy eating. One such leader, high school junior Lacretia Jefferson, currently runs a food science course at Girard College, where she puts together fun nutrition-based activities and healthy cooking lessons for a group of high school students. “I think young people talking and learning from other young people is the best way to get them to understand,” she told the Philadelphia Public School Notebook. “I like showing other kids that if they can learn about something like a new vegetable, they can come to like it.”

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learn more about: Media Outreach Academic Enrichment Community Partners
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JAN
27

FUNDING
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New webinar: Creating the conditions for social and emotional learning

By Dan Gilbert

Join us on Wednesday, Feb. 3 at 2 p.m. EST for a great discussion on best practices for encouraging social and emotional development in afterschool and summer learning programs.

By now, many of us have heard of the critical importance of developing social and emotional skills, but it is often difficult to connect frameworks and research to the everyday practices that help foster skill building in afterschool. In this webinar, we will focus on bridging the gap between research and practical applications of social and emotional learning practices that support skill building.

Deb Moroney and Jaime Singer from American Institutes for Research (AIR) will be joining us to talk about their resources that support the application of best practices in social and emotional learning in afterschool. AIR is a leader in the field of supporting social and emotional development through quality summer, afterschool, and expanded learning programs.

AIR has recently released a series of briefs and related tools that focus on connecting research to action. To accompany the first brief, AIR created an incredible new self-reflection tool to help programs identify both strengths and areas for potential growth, entitled Social and Emotional Learning Practices: A Self-Reflection Tool for Afterschool Staff.

Stacey Dario, from Temescal Associates, will also be joining the discussion to talk about how the Expanded Learning 360/365 group, in collaboration with the California School-Age Consortium, is using AIR’s Self-Reflection Tool for building quality in afterschool systems throughout California.

Come prepared to learn how research and action is moving the afterschool field toward ensuring all participants have opportunities for skill building and positive development.

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learn more about: Events and Briefings Youth Development
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