We’re excited to announce that the hit documentary Brooklyn Castle will help kick off the Lights On Afterschool season with its national broadcast debut tonight on the award-winning PBS series POV.
Check local listings to find when it’s airing near you.
Tune in to your local PBS station tonight for the premiere of this award-winning documentary, which tells the inspirational story of a chess team at a below-the-poverty-line inner city junior high school—one that has won more national championships than any other in the country—facing recessionary budget cuts to extracurricular activities that threaten to eliminate the chess program.
With help from PBS, afterschool programs can show the film at local Lights on Afterschool events to entertain and engage adults and teens, or use trailers to help make the afterschool story come alive and spur conversation on the need for afterschool in local communities.
Afterschool Ambassador Deepmalya Ghosh is the director of youth development programs at the Child Center of New York, Inc.
Increasing public awareness of your afterschool program is an important key to running a successful advocacy campaign. While traditional media sources, such as newspaper articles and TV news stories, are great ways to increase visibility, afterschool programs are increasingly turning to social media as a way to build support and momentum. One of the benefits of social media is that it is a low-cost, effective way to reach a large number of people.
During my term as an Afterschool Ambassador sponsored by the Bowne Foundation, I found great success using social media to build momentum for an afterschool advocacy campaign. I am the Director of Youth Development for the Child Center of NY, an organization that provides afterschool programming, among other services, to children in New York City. Realizing we needed to reach beyond traditional media sources when promoting our programs, we developed a campaign to leverage social media to maximize our advocacy efforts. There was a sense of joint purpose among other afterschool providers in the city, so I often shared what they were doing to advocate for afterschool with our team.
The Census Bureau’s new report citing a lack of change in household income and the poverty level from 2011 to 2012 may not sound like terrible news, but Ron Haskins, co-director of the Brookings Center on Children and Families and Budgeting for National Priorities project, may have said it best: “The poverty and income numbers are a metaphor for the entire economy…Everything’s on hold, but at a bad level.”
According to the report, in 2012 there were 9.5 million families living in poverty. Looking at children under the age of 18, there were more than 15 million living in poverty. To help put the figure into perspective, that number is greater than the total 2012 estimated populations of Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut combined. While the report points out that both numbers weren’t statistically different than the numbers from 2011, it highlights the staggering number of children and families who are struggling in today’s economic environment.
A Huffington Post piece by Mark Shriver, senior vice president for strategic initiatives for Save the Children, makes some excellent points linking the Census Bureau report to what is taking place in Congress right now. His example of the tough choice Save the Children had to face because of cuts to their Head Start programs in Louisiana—having to choose between closing one community’s classroom over another—during a time when children and families need more support, not less, was incredibly upsetting. But, unfortunately, this is a choice many youth serving providers, including afterschool programs, are forced to deal with. I hope you’ll take the time to read the rest of Mark’s piece "Boom and Bust: Economic Recovery Falling Short for Kids."
Why should you register to celebrate Lights On Afterschool this year?
We're glad you asked…
- Help us break a record. Last year we had 9,300 events—more than ever before. Wouldn't it be cool to hit 10,000 events this year? We think so, too. If you don't register, we can’t count you in our total.
- For the sixth year in a row, the Empire State Building will light up in honor of Lights On Afterschool. You can say: "The Empire State Building lit up in honor of MY afterschool program." Now that's what we call bragging rights.
- Register by Sept 3rd and you could win the ultimate Lights On Afterschool event kit, complete with:
- 8 foot cold air Lights On Afterschool balloon
- Afterschool for All banner
- 100 Afterschool for All wristbands
- 100 Lights On Afterschool posters
- 100 Lights On Afterschool postcards
- Influence afterschool policy. Elections are happening a few weeks after Lights On Afterschool. It's the perfect opportunity to make afterschool an election issue in your community.
- Tell your afterschool story by reaching out to the media. Reporters seek out stories that affect the community--they will want to tell readers, viewers and listeners about threats to afterschool programs. So plan your Lights On Afterschool activities with the media in mind.
- Starting this week, Discount School Supply will be giving away a free item from their NEW Recreation catalog each week to a registered program. This week's prize: a set of 4 board games that strengthen vocabulary and strategic thinking, all while having fun (and isn't that what afterschool's all about?!). Maybe host a game night with parents for your Lights On Afterschool event.
- Raise $. Celebrations can be done on a tight budget, and can even help you raise money! Turn your event into a fundraiser or attract sponsors, partners to share costs and in-kind donations.
- Let your community know that afterschool programs keep kids safe, inspire learning and help working families.
- Get 10 free posters (just for registering!) to help you promote your event in your community. This year’s poster was drawn by 10-year-old Rosani Cazeau of Children of Promise NYC in Brooklyn, NY.
- Get parents engaged. Use your event as an opportunity to bring parents into the mix, get them more involved with your program, and even connect them to the school.
So what are you waiting for? Register now!
Sarah Carter is the STEM and Outreach Specialist for SciGirls, a children’s television show, website, and outreach effort produced by Twin Cities Public Television in St. Paul, Minnesota. SciGirls mission is to inspire millions of girls to explore STEM and STEM careers.
If you haven't seen the Emmy-nominated SciGirls television show from PBS Kids Go, you're missing out on a powerful teaching tool that features real tween girls putting science and engineering to work in their everyday lives. The SciGirls brand has grown into a far-reaching transmedia enterprise, serving girls, families and educators in both English and Spanish. Using evidence-based practices in STEM education for girls, SciGirls’ videos, online resources, hands-on activities and professional development work together to address a singular but powerful goal: to inspire, enable and maximize STEM learning and participation for all girls, encouraging greater interest in STEM careers.
Today a spacecraft orbiting Saturn will turn toward Earth for one day and photograph every living being on the planet. It’s the first time this has happened with advance notice in human history. All of the children in LA's BEST summer program are participating: they’ll go outside, look to the sky, and smile – at exactly 2:27 pm, when the satellite will be photographing Los Angeles.
The Obama administration has for some time been supporting the expansion of learning time in school—which sounds useful but often isn’t—by diverting money intended for afterschool programs, many of which are high quality and offer different venues for kids to learn. Our Executive Director Jodi Grant explains what's at stake.
Last week the Miami Heat defeated the San Antonio Spurs in a seven game series to capture the 2013 NBA title. The official program for the games in Miami included a great article on the partnership between the Miami Heat and the After-School All-Stars (ASAS) South Florida chapter. The article highlighted that during the spring break week of March 25-29, when many students were left with little to do, the Miami Heat hosted “Camp Hoop Heroes,” a free week-long, intensive youth leadership and mentoring program held at the exclusive Heat team practice facility in the American Airlines Arena. Camp Hoop Heroes responds to the need for more mentors willing to work with local youth.
The ASAS Camp Hoop Heroes is a replicable flagship sports-based youth development program that leverages the game of basketball to provide participants with caring mentors, leadership skills, and exposure to different educational and career paths. Each night for a week, 40 college-educated volunteers came after work to mentor and play basketball with 40 participants one-on-one and to educate them about high school, college and careers. Through basketball drills, tournament games, leadership classes, service projects, field trips and nightly guest speakers, students learned about leadership skills such as discipline, fairness, respect, leadership, selflessness, resilience, vision and responsibility. They also learned about sports careers beyond being a professional athlete from speakers such as Michael McCullough, Miami Heat Executive Vice President of Marketing, and Gaby Schoepflin of FOX Sports Television.