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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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MAR
12

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup - March 12, 2014

By Luci Manning

Midnight Basketball Program Provides Safe Haven for Youths (Tampa Bay Times, Florida)
Every Friday night from 6 p.m. until midnight, anywhere from 40 to 80 kids gather to play basketball at the National Football League Youth Education Town Center in Jackson Heights.  This late-night basketball program is a safe space for students in the low-income neighborhood in East Tampa, giving them relief from the pressures outside.  Essie Sims—community leader, pastor and founder of the program—told the Tampa Bay Times that midnight basketball offers mentoring opportunities and teaches students life skills, “We’re bringing in successful business owners and leaders to come in and talk with these kids, and give them positive affirmation on to some of the goals that they have in mind and how we can help them achieve these goals.”

Palm Springs’ Tara Lazar Gives Children Tools to Cook, Eat Healthy (Desert Sun, California)
Students in Palm Springs are talking about the hands-on cooking classes they take part in through an afterschool program.  Tara Lazar, local restaurant owner, told the Desert Sun that she partnered with the Palm Springs Boys & Girls Club to teach middle school and high school students about good nutrition and to show them how they can make their own healthful meals.  The weekly program, which takes place in Lazar’s restaurant, has had a real impact on the students, many of whom prepare what they learn in class for themselves and their families at home.

Phila. Students Sour at State Chess Tourney (Philadelphia Inquirer, Pennsylvania)
Philadelphia students collected 110 awards at the Pennsylvania State Scholastic Chess Championships this weekend, a tournament sponsored by After School Activities Partnerships (ASAP).  Marciene S. Mattleman told the Philadelphia Inquirer that she founded ASAP to promote afterschool recreation and enrichment in the city’s most underserved areas.  Mattleman touted the program’s success, saying that there are “3,200 kids playing chess every week in Philadelphia.”

Middle Village’s Class of Stars (Queens Times Ledger, New York)
Afterschool students have been given a behind the scenes look at what goes into creating Broadway productions thanks to the Cultural After School Adventures program.  The program brought in professional performer Braddon Mehrten, the program’s director and mentor, to help the students put on their own rock- and pop-inspired performances.  Mehrten told the Queens Times Ledger that “it’s great when the light bulb goes off and the kids see there is something beyond school that can help them learn.”

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learn more about: Health and Wellness Nutrition Arts Youth Development 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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FEB
26

IN THE FIELD
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First lady announces two new commitments to healthy eating and physical activity afterschool

By Erik Peterson

Yesterday at a Miami-area afterschool program, first lady Michelle Obama and the Partnership for a Healthier America announced that two more of the largest afterschool program providers have committed to create more healthful environments for five million kids in their programs through adoption of the Healthy Eating and Physical Activity (HEPA) standards.

Over the next five years, Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA) and the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) have committed to encouraging a combined 5,400 sites and clubs nationwide to adopt strong standards for nutrition and physical activity.

In remarks at the event, the first lady applauded the announcement, “Between today’s announcement and our work to serve better food and get more activity into our schools, we’re now ensuring that more and more of our kids will be staying healthy throughout the entire arc of their day.” She added, students “… are getting active through the day, whether that’s during recess, or PE class, or during an exercise break between lessons.  And when the school day ends, they’ll head to an afterschool program like this one, and they’ll get even more nutritious food and even more opportunities to get active.”

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learn more about: Events and Briefings Health and Wellness Media Outreach Nutrition Obama
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FEB
25

POLICY
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Reps. Kildee, DeLauro introduce bill to strengthen support of afterschool and summer learning programs

By Erik Peterson

Yesterday evening Reps. Dan Kildee (D-MI) and Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) introduced the Afterschool for America's Children Act in the House of Representatives, HR 4086.  The  legislation would reauthorize and strengthen the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) initiative—the nation’s chief federal funding stream for afterschool programs—by supporting innovative advances taking root in before-school, afterschool and summer learning programs. The bill is companion legislation to S. 326 introduced previously in the Senate. A summary of the legislation is available here.

The House bill:                     

  • Strengthens school-community partnerships to include sharing of data and resources, the ability to better leverage relationships within the community and provide an intentional alignment with the school day.
  • Promotes professional development and training of afterschool program staff.
  • Encourages innovative new ways to engage students in learning that looks different from a traditional school day, with an emphasis on hands-on, experiential learning; science, technology, engineering and math (STEM); and physical activity and nutrition education. 
  • Supports approaches that focus on individualized learning that provide a variety of ways for students to master core skills and knowledge.
  • Provides accountability measures that are connected to college- and career-readiness goals and show student progress over time toward meeting indicators of student success including school attendance, grades and on-time grade level advancement.
  • Ensures that funding supports programs that utilize evidence-based, successful practices.
  • Increases quality and accountability through parent engagement; better alignment with state learning objectives; and coordination between federal, state and local agencies. 
  • Does not prioritize any one model of expanded learning opportunities over another. 
  • Maintains formula grants to states that then distribute funds to local school-community partnerships through a competitive grant process.
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learn more about: 21st CCLC Congress Legislation
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FEB
7

FUNDING
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Searching for inspirational young people to serve as healthy living ambassadors!

By Sarah Simpson

Does your afterschool program inspire youth to live healthfully?

The Alliance for a Healthier Generation, a nonprofit organization founded by the American Heart Association and the Clinton Foundation, is searching for young people excited to share their commitment to healthful living and inspire their friends, families, schools and communities to take action and help stop childhood obesity.

Applications are now being accepted for the Alliance’s Youth Advisory Board (for 2014-2015). Board members serve as ambassadors for the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, share feedback on Alliance programs and activities, and promote health and wellness in their communities.

Applicants must be between the ages of 8 and 17 years old when membership begins in June 2014 and live in the United States. Interested youth can visit www.healthiergeneration.org for more information.
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learn more about: Afterschool Voices Health and Wellness Nutrition
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FEB
5

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup - February 5, 2014

By Luci Manning

Isaac Litton Alumni Feed 70 Boys in After-School Program (The Tennessean, Tennessee)
Five days a week, 70 teenage boys receive delicious meals courtesy of Second Harvest Food Bank thanks to their afterschool program at Isaac Litton High School in Nashville. Micah Kimble, vice president of Backfield in Motion, a nonprofit dedicated to afterschool tutoring and athletics programming, used to prepare the meals himself, until Mary Ann Baker started volunteering. An Isaac Litton alum herself, Baker told The Tennessean how she encouraged other alumni so they could serve the next generation of students and provide an enjoyable afterschool experience.

New Program to Pair Mentors With Young Women (The Daily Reporter, Michigan)
Last week, representatives from the Branch County Coalition Against Domestic Violence and the Court Appointed Special Advocates of Branch County announced a new afterschool program designed to boost self-worth and a positive self-image in young women.  According to The Daily Reporter, the ultimate goal of the program is to make the girls feel good about themselves and to quell destructive behaviors born out of poor self-esteem and bad choices. The Girlz Club of Branch County is looking for mentors to volunteer to work with young women on the issues they face while going through puberty: bullying, teen pregnancy, depression, smoking and drinking, cyber addiction, peer pressure, sex, stress, and eating disorders.

Program Shows Youth a Friendlier Side of Police (Leader Telegram, Wisconsin)
Afterschool students at the Boys & Girls Club of the Greater Chippewa Valley got to spend some quality time with police officers from the local Eau Claire Police Department last month, and will continue to in the future thanks to the new Blue Chips program. Kyle Roder, the police department’s community relations officer, told the Leader-Telegram that they want to build a positive relationship with youth in the community. Students who were respectful, completed their homework and participated in physical activities were chauffeured to Blue Chips' first event, University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire men’s and women’s basketball games. The kids had a great time, saying that they saw the police officers as “friends.”

Food Drive Event Involves Youngest Volunteers Ever (Dayton Daily News, Ohio)
For the first time, afterschool students, as young as kindergarteners, bustled around the Dayton-area Foodbank last month and helped sort and pack food items. Afterschool Program Director Emily Gray told the Dayton Daily News that “Citizenship is one of the values we try to teach the kids. Since the Foodbank has been such a long-time partner for us, we wanted to give back to the community through them.” The afterschool students receive free meals from the Foodbank at the Dakota Center every day. 

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learn more about: Nutrition Youth Development Community Partners
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JAN
22

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup - January 22, 2014

By Luci Manning

Norman After-School Program Takes on Unhealthy Party Foods (The Norman Transcript, Oklahoma)
According to the The Norman Transcript, “Norman’s Community After School Program is taking a bite out of bad childhood eating habits.” The afterschool program released “Kids in the Kitchen,” a holiday cookbook with 49 tasty and healthy recipes.  Recipes include a zombie smoothie for Halloween, Grinchy Party Poppers for Christmas, and raspberry applesauce for sweet treats on Valentine’s Day, and more.  The afterschool program emailed a copy of the cookbook to parents and printed 100 copies. “We are hoping to make slow and steady changes to the unhealthy holiday party snack culture,” Lindsey Ellis, CASP Be Fit coordinator, told The Norman Transcript.

Nicol David, Top Female Squash Player in World, Inspires Girls in New York (Daily News, New York)
Earlier this week, the world’s top female squash player, Nicol David, spent time with two dozen pre-teen and high school-age girls and gave squash pointers and spoke to them about the sport.  David also talked about how supportive her parents have been and what it was like to grow up in Malaysia.  The girls are part of the afterschool program at Harlem’s SL Green StreetSquash Center.  “One of the issues at this age is girls don’t really push themselves, and don’t have a lot of role models at this point,” Sasha Diamond-Lenow, StreetSquash’s director of social work, told the Daily News.  “It’s inspiring to see a facility like this,” David told the Daily News. “To have squash bring all these girls together, to see all of them smiling, it’s really fulfilling. And it’s so nice that I can, hopefully, contribute something.”

Funding After School Programs (Off the Kuff, Texas)
In a post on Off the Kuff, Charles Kuffner writes: “Kids who are bored are more likely to get into trouble than kids who are busy. Doesn’t make them bad kids, it just makes them kids. I don’t know about you, but I certainly did a few stupid things when I was a kid and didn’t have anything better to do. The fact that federal grants are getting scarcer for [afterschool programs], presumably in the name of “austerity” or “smaller government”, is a scandal and a travesty, but this is the world we live in right now. We can pay now to help keep kids busy and engaged and productive, or we can pay later when they’re not. You tell me what makes more sense.”
 
Free Dinners Offered to Waco-Area Children (Waco Tribune, Texas)
As part of an expanded effort to combat child hunger, the Food on the Move program is providing free evening meals to children ages 18 and younger at 17 different sites in Waco.  In order to participate in the free meals program, each of the sites must offer some sort of enrichment activity, such as tutoring, homework help, sports or a reading club. “If we think of all that parents, in particular low-income working parents, have to face—of scheduling problems and transportation issues people face often in Waco—we know this program can combine a couple of really basic needs and help meet those for families in a way that will allow them to focus on continuing to provide for their families and work hard at their jobs if they know that there’s a place that’s safe that their children can go to after school and receive some homework help as well as a free meal,” Kelsey Scherer, child nutrition outreach specialist for the Texas Hunger Initiative, told the Waco Tribune.
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learn more about: Health and Wellness Nutrition Sustainability Youth Development
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DEC
20

IN THE FIELD
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Afterschool meals program provides meals during school holidays

By Erik Peterson

While many students nationwide are excitedly awaiting their winter holiday break,  for the 21 million children who rely on school breakfast and lunch as their primary source of nutrition, school holidays can lead to hunger pains. Since 2011, the Afterschool Meals Program offered through the USDA Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) has provided federal funding to afterschool programs operating in low-income areas to serve meals and snacks to children 18 and under during school holidays as well as after school and on weekends. A number of schools will offer meals during their winter breaks.

Other communities are coming together to provide students in need with a backpack of groceries to take home to their families and provide nourishment over the long school holiday.  In Erie, Pennsylvania, more than 1,000 second- and third-graders, will receive five-pound bags of food to take home for the winter break. Coordinators with the Erie School District and Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest Pennsylvania's backpack program know that these children will be without free school meals until they return to school on Jan. 2.  In Hancock, Michigan, volunteers packed 6,000 meals into backpacks to ensure that 125 students in the area would have food for three daily meals over the 16-day break.

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learn more about: Equity Nutrition Working Families
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