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
NOV
21
2017

LIGHTS ON
email
print

STEM partners helped ignite curiosity during Lights On 2017

By Charlotte Steinecke

Afterschool STEM learning was one of our top themes for this year’s Lights On Afterschool, and with good reason. Afterschool programs provide an ideal space to connect kids to exciting, hands-on science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) experiences, helping them engage deeply with these concepts in fun, inspiring ways!

Lots of afterschool programs used STEM as a centerpiece in their Lights On events. Here are a few of the ways programs celebrated STEM on October 26:

  • Students got ready for blast-off at the Mississippi Library in Fridley, Minn., with an activity to build their own rockets. Students and families designed and constructed their out-of-this-world space shuttles with a combination of science and art skills, led by library and afterschool program staff.
  • kidscommons Children’s Museum in Columbus, Ind., offered free museum admission for families with children age pre-K through 6th grade, with science, technology, engineering, art, and math activities available throughout the museum.
  • Think Together Liberty Elementary in Victorville, Calif. held a family night with student-taught 30-minute activity rotations, so students and parents could participate in mad scientist STEM unit lessons, including making moldable goo, engineering and testing different paper airplane designs, and creating monsters out of pipe cleaners and other materials.

This year’s Lights On Afterschool wouldn’t have been the success it was without the help of our amazing STEM partners. We’d like to give a big thank-you to STAR_Net, Association of Science - Technology Centers (ASTC), National Girls Collaborative, WGBH, STEMfinity, 4-H National Youth Science Day, and everyone else in the STEM world who contributed to a fantastic celebration!

NOV
2
2017

LIGHTS ON
email
print

Where were we during Lights On Afterschool 2017?

By Charlotte Steinecke

At the Afterschool Alliance, we spend a substantial part of our year focusing on Lights On Afterschool; when it finally happens, we’re running to keep up! We couldn’t wait to head out of the office (and sometimes out of the state) to explore the amazing programs and events that opened their doors to celebrate on October 26.

In our own words, here’s a small selection of where we were, what we saw, and who we met during this year’s Lights On Afterschool.

Andrews Air Force Base loves afterschool

"I had the pleasure of celebrating Lights On Afterschool with Matrice Brooks and the rest of the Youth Program staff on Andrews Air Force Base," said Shaun Gray, production and office manager. "As parents entered to pick up their kids, local youth programs were set up in the main area to offer sign-ups for sporting, art, and reading programs. McGruff the Crime Dog made an appearance but the highlight of the day was Sparky, a remote-controlled dog in a firetruck that sprays water."

Glowing bright in Tuscon, AZ

"We visited KIDCO, an afterschool program from the Tucson Parks and Rec department that serves 800 students during the school year and 1,200 students during the summer," wrote Andrea Szegedy-Maszak, our field outreach coordinator. "Their event was held in the beautiful Reid Park in Tucson, with an hour of lawn games before each KIDCO site performed a dance routine with a "decades" theme. More than 200 people attended the event, which kicked off with a group countdown until everyone cracked a glowstick and cheered for Lights On Afterschool!"

NOV
1
2017

NEWS ROUNDUP
email
print

Weekly Media Roundup: November 1, 2017

By Luci Manning

Governor Touts Afterschool Program (Daily Inter Lake, Montana)

Last Tuesday, students in the Bigfork ACES and Bigfork Playhouse Children’s Theatre afterschool programs celebrated Lights On Afterschool with Montana Governor Steve Bullock. The event included cookie decorating, choir performances, and a student-led tour of the facility, according to the Daily Inter Lake. Bigfork ACES provides about 500 students with academic support, socialization and meals during the afterschool hours. “Both my wife and I, we couldn’t [have] made it without a solid after-school program,” Bullock said. “What ACES does is provides those opportunities for parents, provides an enriching environment where kids can play, learn and hopefully enjoy yourselves and is a fun place to go after school.”

Boys & Girls Club Helps Raise Awareness for Afterschool Programs (KTVN, Nevada)

The Boys & Girls Club of Western Nevada hosted a Lights On Afterschool event last Thursday that featured students building structures and sculptures with different materials and science experiments. “Every time I come out here, I just get a good feeling in my heart," Carson City Mayor Bob Crowell told KTVN. "I get a feeling that kids are on the road to making good choices, I get a feeling that there's hope for these young kids." Director of Operations for the Boys & Girls Club of Western Nevada and Afterschool Ambassador Matt Sampson encouraged people to call their elected officials to show support for afterschool programs and to volunteer at the Boys & Girls Club to make a difference.

Lights On for Learning (Hammond Daily Star, Louisiana)

The Ponchatoula Community Center celebrated Lights On Afterschool last Thursday with Louisiana First Lady and former educator Donna Edwards. Edwards toured the center and told the Hammond Daily Star, “More than 140,000 Louisiana children return home to an empty house while their parents are working hard to provide for their family. How a child spends those few hours from when school ends and when a parent typically comes home is very important." Students also worked with artist Kim Zabbia to create “Stars of Hope” to send to hurricane victims in Texas and Florida.

Guest Essay: Nazareth College Students Celebrate Mentors (Democratic and Chronicle, New York)

Nazareth College student Kaitlyn Kinney and Rochester Department of Recreation and Youth Services mentor Kirmani Scott celebrated the Nazareth College Community Youth Development’s Lights On Afterschool event and mentors in an op-ed for the Democrat & Chronicle: “Without the guidance and mentoring of youth workers during our academic service-learning and internship experience at their agencies, there could not be a true sense of ‘community’ in Community Youth Developments…. Mentors show us the importance of positive youth-adult relationships in order to change behavior and maybe change lives…. We are in awe of their passion, persistence and sense of purpose for the youth in Rochester – lessons that could not be easily learned from a book or in a classroom.” 

share this link: http://bit.ly/2z5C3AS
learn more about: In The News Lights On Afterschool
OCT
31
2017

LIGHTS ON
email
print

Lights On Afterschool 2017 in pictures

By Charlotte Steinecke

Javan Ng Photography

This year might just be our most photogenic Lights On Afterschool yet!

The Empire State Building lit up the night in blue and yellow on the evening of October 26, the Lowry Bridge gleamed on the waters of Hennepin County, and social media buzzed with our amazingly successful “My Light’s On Afterschool” lightbulb challenge.

We saw amazing images taken with drones, the STATE Grill and Bar surprised us with a sweet shoutout, and the youngest afterschool advocate we’ve ever seen showed support for #LightsOnAfterschool. Middle schoolers from LEAP in Brooklyn blew us away with a musical extravaganza all about afterschool!

In the lead-up to October 26, the 50 statewide afterschool networks worked with 44 governors, including New York, Idaho, Florida, and Alaska, to proclaim Lights On Afterschool day. (We’ve got the Delaware and South Carolina proclamations in our office — love them!) We also saw a wonderful post proclaiming Lights On Afterschool day from the office of the mayor of Houston.

share this link: http://bit.ly/2z1P12E
learn more about: Lights On Afterschool
OCT
26
2017

LIGHTS ON
email
print

Today is Lights On Afterschool!

By Charlotte Steinecke

Happy Lights On Afterschool!

Today is a day to celebrate the amazing impact afterschool programs have on the lives of millions of children every day. Thank you for everything you do to keep the Lights On Afterschool!

For the next 24 hours, our home page will be populated with a social media wall, showing all the action online. Join the party by using the #LightsOnAfterschool hashtag and challenge your friends to show their support by participating in the “My Light’s On Afterschool” Challenge.

If you’re not hosting an event today, use our lookup tool to find an event to attend near you!

We would love to see your pictures, as well — please send images of your event loa@afterschoolalliance.org with the name of the program and the location in the subject line.

Enjoy the celebration!

share this link: http://bit.ly/2yOcnIM
learn more about: Lights On Afterschool
OCT
25
2017

NEWS ROUNDUP
email
print

Weekly Media Roundup: October 25, 2017

By Luci Manning

Topeka Program Working to Bring After School Activities to All Kansas Kids (WIBW, Kansas)

The Kansas Enrichment Network (KEN) hosted a Lights On Afterschool event last Friday on the Kansas Statehouse steps to encourage community support of afterschool programs. "[Afterschool activities] help the working families because they provide a safe learning environment for their students between 3 and 6 p.m. so they get a snack, they get homework help, and then they do enrichment activities, and then some wellness activities," KEN research project manager Rachel Willis told WIBW. As part of the celebration, students took a tour of the Statehouse, participated in a scavenger hunt and played kickball on the Statehouse lawn. Governor Sam Brownback also proclaimed October 26 Lights On Afterschool Day in support.

Local Schools Celebrate Tapestry (Rutland Herald, Vermont)

Last Wednesday, students in the Tapestry and EPIC afterschool programs celebrated Lights On Afterschool with a glow-in-the-dark party. State Senator Brian Collamore attended the event. Tapestry and EPIC provide about 300 students with academic support, socialization and a creative outlet during the afterschool hours. “I was so happy when we started coming to Rutland Town to know that the Tapestry program was here. Just knowing that the kids had a place that’s safe and fun and academically engaging to be after school while we were working,” Sheryn Whalen, a mother of two Tapestry Program participants, told the Rutland Herald.

Keeping the Lights On After School (Post Bulletin, Minnesota)

The Somali Kulan Community, along with many other local afterschool programs, celebrated Lights On Afterschool this week. The afterschool program is held in a converted apartment space through a partnership with Rochester Public Schools. “It's another chance for our kids to work with their peers and supportive adults in a positive environment,” Rochester Public Schools director of community education Amy Eich told the Post Bulletin. The program provides students a place to receive academic support, food, sports, college preparation and more.

Tom Haggard Says ‘Lights On Afterschool’ Event Calls Attention to Funding Needs (North Kentucky Tribune, Kentucky)

In a letter to the editor of the North Kentucky Tribune, Covington Partners Program Director and Afterschool Ambassador Tom Haggard details the importance of access to afterschool programs: “This Thursday, several hundred parents, students, educators, business leaders, policymakers and others will come together across our region to mark the 18th annual Lights On Afterschool, the nation’s only nationwide celebration of afterschool programs…. But because of funding difficulties, we don’t have nearly enough programs…. Our challenge in the afterschool movement: To make sure every child in the nation has access to afterschool.”

share this link: http://bit.ly/2iyZDj4
learn more about: In The News Lights On Afterschool
OCT
23
2017

IN THE FIELD
email
print

Afterschool & Law Enforcement: Advice from 22 years of successful programming

By Arielle Kahn

The Afterschool Alliance is pleased to present this post as part of the Afterschool & Law Enforcement blog series.

22 years ago, in the back seat of a police car, an organization that would significantly reduce the juvenile crime rate in Dunn, North Carolina was born. A few officers perceived the need for a community policing initiative and sought a way to connect positively with youth in their area. In 1995, the Dunn Police Athletic and Activities League began offering a few sports programs and a handful of volunteers serving 10 children.

Today, Dunn PAL serves about 400 K-12 children per year in their afterschool program, mentoring program, and sports program. Dunn PAL is a Non-Profit 501(C)(3) organization under the Dunn Police Department that works to establish mutual trust between law enforcement, citizens, and youth.

I had the opportunity to interview Lieutenant Rodney Rowland, the Executive Director, and Stephanie Coxum, the Enrichment Instructor, about their program and their Lights On Afterschool event.

Both Lt. Rowland and Ms. Coxum emphasized the relationship-building that occurs between law enforcement and children. When kids see law enforcement officers on the street they are more likely to say “hey, what’s up” than to run away in fear. And when law enforcement see children in precarious situations, they have the clout with them to have a conversation about their behavior and encourage children to think critically about their choices.

“We are unique because we actually have police officers in the city directly involved in the lives of kids, which directly affects their parents, their families, and the community as a whole. And in such a positive way,” Lt. Rowland explained.  

OCT
19
2017

LIGHTS ON
email
print

Easy, last-minute ideas for an amazing Lights On Afterschool!

By Charlotte Steinecke

Lights On Afterschool is just seven days away! While many programs are wrapping up their plans, some will only start planning this week. Luckily, we’ve got something for everyone over at our Last-Minute Ideas page. Use these ideas as the foundation of your event, or add an extra dimension to your celebration with another fun activity.

Looking for a few more easy ways to celebrate? We’ve got you covered:

  • Celebrate health and wellness by planning a make-your-own-pizza, -snack, or -taco night, with fresh and flavorful fixings that kids can mix and match to make their own meals. Polish it off by offering blank recipe cards so kids can write down their favorite combinations, decorate the cards, and take them home.
  • Bring art to your event with easy crafts and activities: Pinterest is full of instructions for tealight holders, galaxy and tornado jars, yarn pumpkins, dreamcatchers, and more.
  • Connect with your local library and ask if a librarian or staff member can come down to your event for a library card sign-up station. Then, host a read-aloud and encourage students to practice their peer-to-peer reading skills. Staple together some blank booklets so kids can write their own stories!
  • Plan a sidewalk parade around the block, showcasing student art, signs, and representations of all the activities you do in afterschool. Take pictures and tweet @ your reps with a message about why they should keep the #LightsOnAfterschool!
  • Take students on a nature walk or a field trip to explore the changing seasons. Encourage students to observe their surroundings and record their observations by taking notes and sketching points of interest. (Interested in more outdoor STEM fun? Check out the PLUM LANDING Explore Outdoors toolkit!)
  • Host a fall-friendly line or square dance party to get kids and parents moving at your event.

We’ve also got an activity so you can celebrate afterschool anywhere, with anyone: the “My Light’s On Afterschool” challenge! To join the challenge, just recreate our Lights On logo, snap a photo, and share it on social media with a message of support for #LightsOnAfterschool and a challenge to your friends and followers to participate. Head over to the Facebook event page for full details — and be sure to use our Facebook frame!