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FEB
14
2018

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup: February 14, 2018

By Luci Manning

Henley Student Honored for After-School Program (Herald and News, Oregon)

High school sophomore Nicole Cleland was recently honored with a $1,000 donation from U.S. Cellular to put towards the innovative afterschool program she developed for elementary school students. Cleland’s program focuses on teaching students how STEM skills can be put to good use in the agricultural industry. “Nicole’s passion and commitment to educating young lives is truly inspiring,” U.S. Cellular director of sales in the northwest Erryn Andersen told the Herald and News. “She is setting an incredible example for her peers and community, and we are in awe of the selfless acts of good she’s doing here in Klamath Falls.”

Spur Would Connect Students to Swamp Rabbit (Greenville News, South Carolina)

The Greenville community is rallying to give youths in the afterschool Momentum Bike Club safe access to nearby biking trails. At the moment, students in the club ride on busy streets or cut through the woods to get to the trail, but nonprofit Bike Walk Greenville has arranged with the city to build a connecting trail to Lakeview Middle School if the organization manages to raise $100,000 by this summer. According to the Greenville News, the group has already raised more than $47,000 toward the project. “This is going to give safe access to lots of kids, as well as the adults that also live in that area,” Bike Walk Greenville board chair Tim Hibbard said.

Computer Science Students Mentor Youth (Scarlet and Black, Iowa)

Once a week, Grinnell College computer science students head to the Drake Community Library to give coding and computer programming lessons to local middle and high school students. The student-designed curriculum offers students the opportunity to learn different programming languages and work with 3-D printers and other equipment. The afterschool club has been so successful that it has spurred improvements in computer science education elsewhere in the community, according to the Scarlet and Black. “The code club at the library was successful, which helped get the school district to add a computer science class at the high school,” Drake systems administer Monique Shore said.

Alum Teaches Vocabulary Through Hip-Hop (Brown Daily Herald, Rhode Island)

Recent Brown University graduate Austin Martin developed a creative educational platform to help underperforming students learn vocabulary and academic concepts through the hip-hop music they know and love. “I wanted to combine my love for hip-hop and this idea… about the academic viability of hip-hop,” Martin said. “I wanted to bring that spark to kids across the country with ‘Rhymes with Reason.’” Martin’s research has shown that low-performing students who choose to learn through “Rhymes with Reason” eventually surpass their higher-performing classmates who study with flashcards, according to the Brown Daily Herald. The platform is now used in approximately 35 schools and afterschool programs around the country.

JAN
29
2018

IN THE FIELD
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HEPA Success Story: The Alliance of New York State YMCAs

By Faith Savaiano

In recent years, many states across the country have started to seek government support to enact policies aimed at increasing healthy practices in out-of-school time environments. While many of these efforts are just beginning, few advocates have seen as much immediate success as the Alliance of New York State YMCAs. Now going into its third year of state-supported funding, the Alliance of New York State YMCAs, or “the Alliance,” has secured a cumulative $1.3 million for increasing the uptake of the Healthy Eating and Physical Activity (HEPA) Standards.

The Alliance first began to pursue HEPA policy changes at the state level four years ago, when the YMCA was awarded a Pioneering Healthier Communities (PHC) grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Through a series of conversations with YMCA staff and volunteers, the Alliance determined that training and equipment were necessary to fully implement the HEPA Standards at YMCAs across New York. 

According to Kyle Stewart, the Alliance’s executive director, once funding for HEPA training and equipment was deemed a priority for YMCAs in New York and the populations that they serve, the Alliance set out to secure support from state lawmakers and policymakers.

“We held meetings and follow-up conversations with the legislative leadership in both houses and the governor’s office, to help us gauge interest and build a blueprint for our strategy,” said Stewart. “Once we identified our strategy, we had to stay flexible because the ‘right approach’ can be a moving target.”

JAN
24
2018

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup: January 24, 2018

By Luci Manning

New Team Sport Opens for Creston Youth (Creston News Advertiser, Iowa)

Nearly 70 Creston students in fourth through 12th grade are learning focus, self-control, patience and discipline through archery after school. The Creston Archery team opened last year as part of the National Archery in Schools Program, providing archery lessons alongside a curriculum focused on the history of archery, archery safety and even the math behind the sport. Coach Melissa Heatherington told the Creston News Advertiser, “It gives a lot of kids that aren’t into other sports, but are drawn to this sort of individual competition and mindset, an opportunity to be part of a team and that feeling of being part of a team.”

Museum Program Opens World of Glassblowing to Youth (Toledo Blade, Ohio)

Lucas County Juvenile Court is offering youths with difficult backgrounds an interesting opportunity to improve their academics and bolster their self-confidence: glassblowing lessons at the Toledo Museum of Art. Director of the Art Enrichment Program Joe Szafarowicz told the Toledo Blade, “We’ve been teaching art integration at the Juvenile Justice Center in detention for 13 years. We saw that teaching math, science [and] language arts through art works.” Every Wednesday, students from Youth Treatment Center, Lucas County Children Services and area high schools create works of art by melting and shaping glass at scorching temperatures of almost 2,000 degrees, all while improving their teamwork and discipline.

Girl Power: Feminist Meeting Draws Full House (Brockton Enterprise, Massachusetts)

The first meeting of a new afterschool feminist club at Stoughton High School attracted the attention of more than 150 students, girls and boys hoping to spur discussion of sensitive issues in the midst of the #MeToo movement. The U-Knighted Feminists of Stoughton High School will tackle issues like sexism and equality through open discussion, and eventually will aim to address some practical topics, like how to give a strong handshake or eat healthfully. Discussions will be driven by the students under the supervision of teachers and guidance counselors. “It’s a group to support and empower each other,” senior Emerson Sprague told the Brockton Enterprise.

‘This Is a Cool Place:’ Brewers ‘Pitch’ in to Renovate Boys & Girls Club Game Room (WITI, WI)

A $75,000 grant from the Boys & Girls Clubs of America and MLB, in partnership with the Milwaukee Brewers, has let the Pieper-Hillside Boys & Girls Club update its facility to be modeled after real-life MLB clubhouses, Fox 6 WITI reports. The Club serves more than 200 youths every day, and students will now be able to play pool and foosball and enjoy new furniture, electronic gaming equipment and refurbished lighting, flooring and paint. 

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JAN
17
2018

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup: January 17, 2018

By Luci Manning

Students Learn How to Create Meals with Sparse Resources (Tahlequah Daily Press, Oklahoma)

A Hulbert High School senior is helping her peers learn to cook delicious, creative meals through Kayla’s Teen Cooking Club. Kayla Rooster runs the club through the Hulbert Community Library, working with fellow students to prepare everything from cupcakes to pizza grilled-cheese sandwiches, emphasizing how to prepare tasty food without fancy resources. “I feel like people my age need to be more educated on cooking,” Rooster told the Tahlequah Daily Press. “That’s why people should come here. It’s a great way to learn how to make really neat food, be around your friends and enjoy yourself.”

Middle-School Girls Learn to Lead Via Improv After-School Program (Youth Today)

An afterschool improv program in Queens is doing more than just teaching girls to be funny and creative – it’s teaching them how to be leaders. Funny Girls helps middle-schoolers improve their self-awareness, empathy, collaboration, resiliency and agency, all skills that the program’s parent organization, the Harnisch Foundation, sees as essential to effective leadership. The program gives girls the chance to develop these skills in a safe space where they can experiment and make mistakes. “Funny Girls is an opportunity and an outlet to express themselves in ways they didn’t think they could,” Global Kids director of middle school programs Lisalee Ibenez told Youth Today.

Gwinnett Resident’s Sewing Studio Teaches Confidence, Pride and Skills (Gwinnett Daily Post, Georgia)

Lifelong sewing aficionado Courtenay Christian recently opened her own studio, where she shares her love for the craft with teens and preteens through afterschool classes. Lessons at her studio, Threaded from Heaven, are geared for children ages eight and up, and teach students how to measure, follow patterns and think creatively. “Sewing gives kids so much more than just what they sewed,” Christian told the Gwinnett Daily Post. “It makes you work with your cognitive skills, hand-eye coordination, concentration and things of that nature. But you also see this sense of accomplishment in the kids when they’ve sewed something and the pressure is off from the school environment.”

PeacePlayers Strive for Equality On, Off Court (Baltimore Sun, Maryland)

A conflict resolution-focused basketball program started in South Africa is helping mend police-community relations in Baltimore. Through PeacePlayers International, city police officers serve as volunteer basketball coaches to elementary and middle school students, helping the youths improve their game while serving as mentors. The program teaches students to resolve conflicts peacefully and gives them lessons in leadership and self-awareness that they can apply off the court. “We teach them how to be leaders, how to have responsibility, how to resolve conflicts,” detective Joseph Bannerman told the Baltimore Sun. “To watch them grasp those concepts and use them… while on the basketball court, but also in the classrooms and in the community, that’s the ultimate goal. To be better citizens and better kids.”

JAN
9
2018

FUNDING
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New grant opp: Start a physical activity program with GO! Grants

By Charlotte Steinecke

Get your students active in the new year with a GO! Grant. Launched in 2015 through a partnership between PHIT America, KIDS in the GAME, and the Sports and Fitness Industry Association, GO! Grants are available for all schools, grades K-12, who wish to add a more robust physical activity component to their programming.

These grants offer equipment and registration or activation of a physical activity program for your school. You’ll be asked to rate the five programs in order of your preference to participate. Here are the possibilities:

  • HOPSports Brain Breaks®: Recipients will receive two registration activations to utilize the HOPSports Brain Breaks® platform.
  • Morning Mile: Recipients will receive a full start up pack to activate Morning Mile at their school.
  • STEM Soccer: Recipients will receive one full STEM Soccer package.
  • USAMiniVolley: Recipients will receive Minivolley kit.
  • USTA Net Generation: Recipients will receive access to their suite of teaching and promotional tools, starter kits with curriculum and Net Generation gear, and event opportunities.

Want to learn more? Check out the FAQ to learn more about the five-minute application process. The deadline for applications is Monday, January 15. 

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JAN
8
2018

IN THE FIELD
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How to make afterschool health and wellness resolutions a reality

By Tiereny Lloyd

At the beginning of each year, most of us set personal goals that we would like to accomplish. Although the list of New Year’s resolutions vary from person to person, eating better and exercising more are two of the most popular resolutions we make. As we start the year, let’s not only resolve to make healthier choices for ourselves but to also commit to creating heathier learning environments for our children. 

Since out-of-school-time programs provide a host of supports for students, finding an effective, easy-to-implement healthy eating and physical activity strategy can be somewhat challenging. To that end, here are a few tips to help you improve the health and wellness of students in your programs.

Set clear, individualized, and achievable goals

Start with the end in mind by identifying clear, achievable goals that are specific to your program. When developing goals, keep in mind that they should be measurable, budget-aware, and suited to your staff capacity. A good resource to establish appropriate physical activity and nutrition program goals are the National AfterSchool Association’s Healthy Eating and Physical Activity Standards. Remember, you don’t have to achieve every standard at once or in one year. Take your time and go at a pace that makes sense for your program.

DEC
14
2017

IN THE FIELD
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How afterschool can support school meals: 3 activities

By Guest Blogger

By Daniel W. Hatcher, MPH, director of Community Partnerships at Alliance for a Healthier Generation.This article was original published on December 5, 2017 on the Healthy Out-of-School Time New & Notable blog.

Partnerships between school and afterschool educators are essential to ensure our community health efforts are sustained.

On November 29, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) published a new School Meal Flexibility Rule that will weaken nutrition standards aimed at reducing sodium and increasing whole grains for meals provided under the USDA’s National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs.

Afterschool programs that voluntarily adopted the National AfterSchool Association Standards for Healthy Eating and Physical Activity have the potential to be impacted by any weakening of school nutrition standards. In particular, if their school oversees the afterschool snack and meal program.

Below are three ways afterschool leaders can share their voice for healthy school meals while championing the power of afterschool.

Write a letter to the editor of your local paper

Shout your hard work creating healthy afterschool from the rooftop! Share the story of how your program is bringing the National AfterSchool Association Standards for Healthy Eating and Physical Activity to life.

Writing and submitting a letter is simpler than you think! Check out Tips on Writing Letters to the Editor.

Submit a comment on the flexibility rule

As someone who works directly with children and families, your voice is important. Share your feedback and questions with the USDA by January 29, 2018 using the online comment form. Five minutes is all it takes to share your essential perspective!

Encourage families to go on a #CafeteriaDate

In addition to these three tips, encourage families to schedule a time to go on a “cafeteria date” with their child. Want to learn more about this campaign and why building a relationship with your school lunchroom is so important? Visit http://www.thelunchtray.com/cafeteriadate/ and share your experience by using the hashtag #cafeteriadate.

DEC
5
2017

IN THE FIELD
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Los Angeles afterschool program builds 'a world fit for kids!'

By Matt Freeman

25 years ago, riots exploded in South Central Los Angeles in the wake of the acquittal of four police officers charged with beating a prostrate taxi driver named Rodney King. The event called attention to issues of race and economic inequities, one element of which was cutbacks in the L.A. school system that had resulted in the elimination of physical education and other programs.

From the ashes of the riot grew an innovative afterschool program called A World Fit for Kids! (WFIT), whose leaders were determined to give inner-city youth opportunities for physical fitness, wellness and self-esteem programming that had been lost to budget cuts. In the 25 years since, the program has touched the lives of more than 460,000 children and family members in the city, encouraging them to make healthy decisions over the course of their lives. Along the way, it has pioneered a research-based training model called Mentors in MotionSM that prepares high school “Coach-Mentors” to work with elementary and middle school children, helping both age groups achieve health and fitness goals and develop strategies for success in all aspects of their lives.

“We believe physical activity is a vital tool for personal growth,” says Normandie Nigh, the program’s CEO. “Traditional programs usually emphasize competitive sports and stand-alone recreational activities. But we take a more comprehensive approach, training our staff and Coach-Mentors to address the whole child by linking healthy bodies with healthy minds. We train them to help students increase their self-awareness, improve their capacity to self-manage, and take greater responsibility for the decisions they make.”