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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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AUG
11
2016

LIGHTS ON
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Registration is open for Lights On Afterschool 2016!

By Robert Abare

The new look of Lights On Afterschool

Registration is now open for the nation’s only celebration of afterschool programs! Mark your calendars for Lights On Afterschool: October 20, 2016, and then start preparing for your event by registering today.

Last year’s Lights On Afterschool saw more than 1 million Americans celebrate at 8,200 events across the country. This year, we’re launching a redesigned logo and website along with updated resources to make Lights On Afterschool bigger and brighter than ever.

Top reasons to register today

  • If you register before August 18, you’ll be entered to win a Lights On Afterschool gift pack full of fun swag to hand out to kids and visitors at your event.
  • Receive 10 free copies of this year’s poster to help spread the word about your event. (Stay tuned to the Afterschool Snack learn this year’s winner of the poster design contest!)
  • Get priority registration for our Lights On Afterschool webinar series.
  • Place your event on our national map of Lights On Afterschool events.
  • Start receiving Lights On Afterschool emails that walk you through our redesigned resources, this year’s top event themes and ideas, and more.

More things to check out on the new Lights On Afterschool website

Start getting the word out today! Share your plans for this year's #LightsOnAfterschool on social media and you could get highlighted by the official Afterschool Alliance accounts on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram

AUG
10
2016

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup: August 10, 2016

By Luci Manning

Police Mentorship Program Pairs Officers with City Youth (Jersey Journal, New Jersey)

Students at the Bayonne Youth Center are being given the chance to build self-confidence thanks to a new partnership with the Bayonne Police Department. Several police officers volunteered to mentor the youths for a year, participating in community service opportunities, field trips and educational lectures. “The officers and children have face to face interactions within the community a minimum of one hour per week and act as role models, friends and a support system for them,” Police Lt. Juan Carlos Betancourth told Jersey Journal.

Students Tackle Prejudice in Va. Leadership Retreat (Daily Press, Virginia)

A five-day leadership retreat has armed some 60 students with the knowledge needed to implement new initiatives to support diversity and inclusiveness in their schools this fall. The Emerging Student Leaders Institute program helps students to confront ingrained stereotypes and prejudices. Upon completing the program, the students built action plans to create clubs, workshops, assemblies and awareness campaigns to foster diversity appreciation among their classmates. “When we experience the cycle of prejudice, most times we don’t realize it’s there,” 17-year-old Chanel Rodriguez told the Daily Press. “But when we break down the word and examples, you notice that it happens in everyday life, so it can be definitely implemented into our school system to make safe and open places for people to be themselves.”

Allentown Students Meet Geek Squad (Morning Call, Pennsylvania)

Best Buy employees spent two days teaching middle and high school students how to compose and produce their own music, create digital films and develop designs for 3-D printing at the Geek Squad Academy summer computer camp. The camp received a special visit last week from U.S. Rep. Charlie Dent, who praised the program, telling the Morning Call that it’s good to see “young people are taking time out of their summer holiday to learn, to develop skills that will serve them well in life.” Best Buy runs 30 such camps around the country, aiming to connect with low-income students especially.

Police, Vets Get Thank-You Bags (Norwich Bulletin, Connecticut)

About 30 Norwich middle school students gave special gifts showing their appreciation to the city’s police officers and veterans last week. The youths assembled brown paper bags filled with sweet treats for the officers as part of the Acts of Kindness Project, a six-week summer learning camp focused on service learning projects. According to the Norwich Bulletin, camper Zarya Neal presented the “survival kits” to the officers at a special assembly, describing what was in each bag—candies like Life Savers, “to remind you of the many times you’ve been a life-saver,” Paydays, “because you are not doing it for the money” and Tootsie Rolls, “to help you roll with the punches.” 

AUG
9
2016

IN THE FIELD
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Register for National Voter Registration Day on September 27!

By Elizabeth Tish

photo by Amanda Nelson

In 2008, 6 million Americans didn’t vote because they missed a registration deadline or didn’t know how to register. In 2016, National Voter Registration Day is aiming to make sure more Americans are ready to vote on Election Day this November, and Nonprofit Vote is asking America’s nonprofit organizations to play a part. A coalition of organizations, community leaders and celebrities have already pledged to get out and register voters who might otherwise not have the opportunity to do so when National Voter Registration Day starts on September 27, 2016.

Sign up to become a partner today! When you sign up, you’ll receive a packet of posters, stickers, and a toolkit explaining how you can participate in more detail.

If you’re unsure of how to get involved with the election as a nonprofit, check out the Afterschool Alliance's Campaign for Afterschool Toolkit. It offers information about what an organization can and cannot do as a 501(c)(3), as well as advice about how to make the case for afterschool funding and support to candidates for public office at all levels of government.

After registering for National Voter Registration Day, consider sharing with your networks to get even more people involved:

Sample Tweets:

Celebrate our democracy on Sept 27 by signing up now for National Voter Registration Day at bit.ly/MyNVRD2016 #CelebrateNVRD

Sample Facebook or Google+ Post:

National Voter Registration Day 2016 is around the corner! Just It's never too early to start thinking about how your nonprofit will participate. Sign up now and NVRD will mail you posters, stickers, and a toolkit explaining how to participate. Use this link to sign up: bit.ly/MyNVRD2016 #CelebrateNVRD #BeReady2016 #NPVotesCount #VoterRegistrationDay

You can also share the National Voter Registration Day Facebook event.

share this link: http://bit.ly/2b6eNZ0
learn more about: Advocacy Election Community Partners
AUG
4
2016

STEM
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The Next Generation Science Standards: what do they mean for afterschool?

By Robert Abare

The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) offer a powerful new vision for American science education for the 21st century. NGSS brings long-needed reforms to national and state K-12 science education standards, incorporating decades of new research on how students best learn science—by actively investigating topics and solving real-world problems, just like real scientists and engineers do!

So far, NGSS has been adopted by 16 states and the District of Columbia, as well as several individual schools and districts. If it hasn’t already, NGSS will soon be influencing how your students are expected to learn STEM. To help program providers understand how afterschool fits in to the NGSS, the Afterschool Alliance has developed a new guide, Getting Started with the Next Generation Science Standards.

Key components of our new NGSS guide

  • An explanation and history of how NGSS was developed and who the key collaborators were.
  • The underlying philosophy of the NGSS, which encourages kids to learn science by doing.
  • An overview of the standards themselves.
  • How afterschool providers can work with partner schools and use NGSS as a way to improve their practice.

Back in April, we hosted a webinar that digs into the research behind the standards, and offers a couple examples of how afterschool programs are thinking about NGSS. Watch the recording, and stay tuned for our next NGSS-related webinar in September.

In the meantime, we hope you’ll enjoy Getting Started with the Next Generation Science Standards, and share it with other educators who might find this resource useful!

share this link: http://bit.ly/2alw9Ah
learn more about: Issue Briefs School Improvement Science
AUG
3
2016

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup: August 3, 2016

By Luci Manning

Teens Get Hooked on Surfing, Environment (Marin Independent Journal, California)

Two Marin high schoolers are building a love for the environment in younger students through a surfing summer camp. The free program targets underprivileged preteens who may not know much about environmental stewardship. Students receive more than just surfing lessons at the camp—they also learn about warming ocean temperatures and ocean life. Scott Tye, chairman of the Marin chapter of the Surfrider Foundation, told the Marin Independent Journal, “The goal is to preserve and maintain our beaches and teach about it in a positive way.” The program operates under the umbrella of the nonprofit Surfrider Foundation.

Summer Programs Close the Gap (Rutland Herald, Vermont)

Vermont Secretary of Education Rebecca Holcombe makes the case for summer learning programs in the Rutland Herald: “Summer doesn’t always promise the same opportunities for all of Vermont’s students, especially those students who live in poverty…. It doesn’t have to be this way. We know that access to good nutrition, health care, responsive adults and safe and supportive environments can help even the most challenged child thrive and learn. If we don’t provide these conditions, we are essentially manufacturing inequity at the level of the brain…. High-quality summer learning programs and strong after-school programs, coupled with food programs, will go a long way towards narrowing our opportunity and achievement gaps.”

The Boston Summer School Students Reach by Ferry – Not Bus (Christian Science Monitor)

Boston Afterschool and Beyond partnered with Outward Bound, Boston Public Schools and the National Parks Service to put together a top-notch, free summer learning program for low-income students in Boston. The program, hosted on Thompson Island, uses the surrounding natural environment to engage some 70 students in hands-on science lessons. Instructors try to take a holistic approach to their teaching, giving students the skills to reason and analyze and apply the lessons to their everyday lives, rather than just drill them with facts from a book. “If a student isn’t excelling in one kind of environment September through June, why would go and stick them back in that same environment for the whole summer?” Boston Afterschool and Beyond summer learning program director David McAuley told the Christian Science Monitor.

The Young Hustlers Prove Anyone Can Be an Entrepreneur (San Francisco Chronicle, California)

Statistics show that 87 percent of venture capital-backed startup founders are white—but this doesn’t faze the Young Hustlers, a group of minority preteens who started their own business making music and selling branded clothing. The business grew out of the 15 Seeds afterschool program, which provides underprivileged students a space to explore what they’re passionate about. The program gives youngsters, most of whom live in public housing, a chance to make money without resorting to gangs, drugs or violence. “When people hear where you live, where you’re from, they think they know you,” group hip-hop artist Dominique told the San Francisco Chronicle. “But they don’t know…. We’re making a difference. We’re entrepreneurs.” 

AUG
2
2016

IN THE FIELD
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Afterschool & Law Enforcement: Building relationships and trust

By Erin Murphy

A photo of the Philadelphia Police Athletic League (@phillypal1947) via the Afterschool Alliance on Instagram

The Afterschool Alliance is pleased to present the third installment of the Afterschool & Law Enforcement blog series. Through interviews with police officers and public service officials, this post focuses on how afterschool programs and law enforcement partnerships help build relationships and trust between officers and members of the community. For more information on this topic, check out our previous blogs on motivations for partnerships and on the law enforcement caucus’ briefing on youth mentoring.

Partnerships between law enforcement and afterschool are playing an important role in building relationships and trust between police officers and their communities. For example, at the OK Program in Santa Barbara, CA, most students’ interactions with officers prior to their involvement in the program were through late night police calls in response to family or neighborhood disturbances. This trend allowed distrust to grow between youth and officers in their community—until the OK Program provided a way for beneficial relationships to develop.

The Corona Police Department in California had a similar experience, so the department began to look for a way to reach out to young people and give them more positive interactions with law enforcement. Partnering with afterschool programs was a natural way to do this. These partnerships allow officers to interact with youth in their community on a regular basis and support the work providers are already doing to keep kids safe and supported.

In the fledgling stages of these partnerships, many officers were met with reluctance and distrust. Most children and families in the Santa Ana Police Athletic and Activity League were intimidated by interacting with uniformed law enforcement officers, and Sergeant Ron Edwards of San Diego described the first time students met officers at their program as being similar to a high school dance, “except instead of girls and boys on either side of the room, it was youth and law enforcement.” Yet through these partnerships, officers and youth were able to break down barriers and develop strong bonds.

Here are some stories highlighting how officers worked with programs to build relationships and trust:

  • The Massena, NY Police Department recently launched a program called “True Blue”, where uniformed police officers spend a minimum of 30 minutes each day interacting with youth, such as playing street hockey or basketball. They use daily interaction, because the more time youth and officers spend together the stronger their relationships become.
  • Chief Fowler of the Syracuse, NY Police Department has partnered with and led afterschool programs for over 20 years. In his co-ed basketball program for teens, student teams were coached by officers. The students taught officers about basketball, and officers worked with students on team building and sportsmanship.
  • In the Youth Advisory Group, a program started by the San Diego Sheriff’s Department, all meetings are focused on team-building between sheriff deputies and youth. They eat, talk, and complete activities together in each session. They also bring the group together to talk about law enforcement and experiment with role playing, allowing both youth and law enforcement to better understand where the other is coming from.
AUG
1
2016

IN THE FIELD
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Teens become health mentors through Health Ambassadors Program

By Robert Abare

When Jason Smith first arrived at Hiram Johnson High School to help turn the struggling school around, he expected to find a community overrun by gangs and violence. “That’s not what I found,” he said. “I found kids with lots of potential, who wanted to do something in their community and make it a better place.”

Smith, who is currently the Director of Health and Wellness for the Sacramento Chinese Community Service Center, quickly identified the school’s health and physical activity environment as a key area for improvement. “Many of the sports teams were having trouble finding recruits, and the cafeteria wasn’t serving healthy foods,” he said. “The kids were not leading healthy lifestyles.”

To help turn this trend around, Smith spearheaded the creation of the Health Ambassadors Program at Hiram Johnson and Luther Burbank High Schools. The Health Ambassadors Program is an out-of-school time collaboration between the Sacramento Chinese Community Service Center and the Sacramento City Unified School District. The program trains high school students to become champions for change in their communities by mentoring elementary and middle school students through nutrition and health education workshops.

The Health Ambassadors Program provides critical academic support, community service experiences and work force development for disadvantaged Sacramento area high school students. “The Health Ambassadors get the opportunity to work in an organization that is deeply involved in the local community, and they gain experience that colleges are looking for,” said Smith.

The first three months of Health Ambassadors’ training consist of educational activities, guest speakers, and a field trip. The next month is focused on guiding the students to create an outreach plan for younger youth who attend elementary and middle schools that feed into Hiram Johnson and Luther Burbank High Schools. Smith explained that the Ambassadors’ training program and outreach plans are influenced by and consistent with the Healthy Eating and Physical Eating (HEPA) standards.

JUL
28
2016

IN THE FIELD
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Duluth YMCA finds 'intentionality' in HEPA standards

By Robert Abare

Kids from the Duluth YMCA visit a local farm. Photo courtesy of Duluth YMCA.

Written by Matt Freeman

When it comes to food choices, children at the YMCA in Duluth, Minnesota, are probably a lot like kids everywhere. “The truth,” says Tracie Clanaugh of the Duluth Y, “is that we’re kind of swimming upstream. Kids want sugary snacks, and many aren’t used to eating vegetables. So we’re not just providing them with nutritious snacks and meals; we’re trying to teach them good habits.”

At the Duluth Y’s afterschool programs, that effort got a big boost from implementation of the Healthy Eating and Physical Activity (HEPA) standards, making good on a commitment by national YMCA leadership to implement the standards at more than 2,700 Ys across the nation.

“In all the work we’ve done,” Clanaugh explains, “HEPA has raised our intentionality around health, nutrition and physical activity. Ys have always been healthy places; it’s who we are. And we moved toward achieving HEPA standards even before there were HEPA standards! But we’ve really appreciated that the new standards have provided that level of intentionality – giving us new tools and helping us think through the goals and the specifics for achieving them.”

At 13 sites across Duluth, Clanaugh’s Y branch operates afterschool programs in partnership with the local school systems. HEPA standards in hand, she and her team met with a district food service manager to work through an afternoon menu, and she says the standards allowed them to dig into the specifics. “In the past, that conversation might have resulted in granola bars and playground time,” she laments – snacks that were too sugary and physical activity time that was too unstructured. “The reality is that we want them to have protein, fruits, vegetables and a balanced snack.” She goes on to explain that HEPA standards have helped the Y find a balance between time on the playground for free play, and more active games that get children running around.

The Y programs also use the Coordinated Approach to Child Health (CATCH) curriculum to help drive home the importance of healthy eating habits and regular physical exercise. It provides lesson plans, goal-setting and the context for one-on-one conversations with children about the importance of nutrition and physical activity.