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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.

JUL
27
2016

POLICY
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Congressional staff learn how to support rural afterschool programs

By Erik Peterson

The benefits provided by afterschool programs can be integral to the fabric of a rural community—including STEM learning experiences, community connections, caring mentors, and healthy snacks and meals. On July 26th, a Senate Afterschool Caucus briefing on “Afterschool in Rural America” highlighted research and experiences from providers that demonstrates how rural parents not only view afterschool programs as a support system for children’s academic growth, social development, and overall health and wellness, but how they also regard programs as a critical resource for working families.

An audience of Congressional staffers and representatives from national organizations heard from an expert panel about why the demand for afterschool programs in rural America is even greater than the overall national demand:

Nikki Yamashiro, director of research for the Afterschool Alliance, spoke on data gathered from parents and rural afterschool providers and featured in the 2016 America After 3PM Special Report: The Growing Importance of Afterschool in Rural Communities, sponsored by John Deere. Nikki reported on statistics about the demand for afterschool, including the finding that 3.1 million rural children who aren’t in an afterschool program would be enrolled in a program if one were available. She also noted how parents say that afterschool supports children and families, and that rural support for public investment in afterschool is strong. She also touched on the challenges faced by rural providers, including those challenges around providing quality STEM learning opportunities.

Liz Nusken, technical advisor for the YMCA of the USA, spoke about rural afterschool from the perspective of a national afterschool program provider. She painted a clear picture of what a rural YMCA program looks like, and the ways that YMCAs and schools work together in rural communities with key academic and behavioral outcomes. In particular, her presentation spoke to the work of the YMCA Achievement Gap Initiative in rural communities.   

Tammy Shay, director of programs, policy and communications for the Maryland Out of School Time (MOST) Network, talked through rural afterschool from a state perspective covering three key areas:

  • Assets of rural providers. Strong partnerships are key to success for afterschool in general—but absolutely essential in rural communities, where everyone wears many hats and can speak about a variety of issues. Schools are "community schools" in rural areas by default, and afterschool programs can be the bridge between schools and other services in area.
  • Transportation challenges. The distances involved and high costs of transportation for rural afterschool program providers form a large hurdle for rural providers to overcome.
  • The supports that rural programs need. The briefing emphasized the importance of 21st CCLC funding, which helps to provide a backbone for programs that includes supporting core staffing that is needed to loop in other partners, managing day to day operations, and finding and retaining staff.

Tammy also detailed the Maryland STEM ambassador program as an example of how statewide afterschool networks create a bridge and make essential connections between community assets in rural areas across the state. 

This briefing covered an important topic for the afterschool field. America After 3PM research found that for every one rural child in an afterschool program, there are three more rural children who are missing out on the amazing opportunities that afterschool programs have to offer. Afterschool supporters and providers can learn more about rural afterschool programs through the 2016 America After 3PM Special Report: The Growing Importance of Afterschool in Rural Communities and the rural afterschool data dashboard.

JUL
27
2016

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup: July 27, 2016

By Luci Manning

Camp Beautiful Teaches N.O. Teens Leadership, Self-Esteem (The Advocate, Louisiana)

Young women in New Orleans have spent the last few weeks learning about cyber bullying, social media responsibility and how to build their self-confidence at Camp Beautiful this summer. The camp is run by the Beautiful Foundation, a nonprofit that aims to empower and educate young women by teaching them leadership skills. “It’s like being with not just friends, but a real family every day,” eighth-grader Symone Bolds told The Advocate. “Here I can say anything and nobody judges me. We’re all here to help each other and to have fun.” The group runs summer and afterschool programs that have empowered more than 2,500 girls and helped them build relationships with one another.

Grace Place Offers Summer Camp for Students (Naples Daily News, Florida)

For the last 12 years, Grace Place has been aiding non-English speaking families in Golden Gate with early learning programs, adult education, food pantries and the eight-week Grace Place Academy of Leaders Summer Program. This summer, 144 elementary and middle school students are attending the academy to keep their math and English skills fresh until school starts again in the fall, the Naples Daily News reports. Students also get to partake in weekly field trips to museums and local businesses through the program.

From Coding to Slack-Lining: Cool Camps Aim to Stop Summer Slide (East Bay Times, California)

Low-income students often don’t have access to the innovative, educational summer camps that their more privileged peers do, but several groups in the Bay Area have set out to remedy that. Aim High, BELL and the Gilroy Unified School District’s Super Power Summer Camp provide free summer programming for underprivileged students that mix academics with fun, out-of-the-box activities. Aim High’s offerings range from jewelry making to slacklining to graphic-novel designing. “We think learning should be joyful, relevant and engaging,” Aim High cofounder Alec Lee told the East Bay Times. The program is hosting 2,200 middle school students this summer.

Students Use Summer Mariachi Camp to Help Bridge Family, Cultural Gap (Daily Oklahoman, Oklahoma)

A lot of second- and third-generation Hispanic immigrants in the United States don’t have the same connection to their heritage that their parents or grandparents might have, but a number of students in Oklahoma City are learning more about their roots through a special mariachi camp this summer. Learning the Mexican style of music can help to bridge the cultural gap between these youths and their families, according to camp coordinator Robert Ruiz. “The kids can be passionate about these traditions,” he told the Daily Oklahoman. The summer camp hopes to expand to a full-time afterschool program this school year. 

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learn more about: Digital Learning Summer Learning Arts
JUL
26
2016

IN THE FIELD
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Meet Andrea Szegedy-Maszak, our new Field Outreach Coordinator!

By Andrea Szegedy-Maszak

My name is Andrea Szegedy-Maszak, and I’m excited to introduce myself as the new Field Outreach Coordinator for the Afterschool Alliance! I’m joining the Afterschool Alliance as a recent graduate of Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson, New York, where I completed my B.A. in Biology with a concentration on STEM education. I originally became interested in studying biology after participating in an out-of-school time microbiology program, and I’m thrilled to be contributing to the Afterschool Alliance’s mission to promote those opportunities for young people around the country.

During my time at Bard College, I focused my studies and extracurricular work around the development of curricula, educational tools and programming to support informal STEM education. I volunteered with a number of afterschool STEM programs, including hosting a weekly science club for K-5 students and serving as a mentor for a local public school’s annual science fair. Building on those experiences, in 2014 a peer and I organized and directed a series of free, week-long summer STEM camp sessions hosted at local libraries in the Hudson Valley. I’ve witnessed firsthand the power of afterschool and summer programming to engage and excite students who may not have felt confident pursuing STEM in the classroom, and I deeply value the opportunities these programs can provide. 

As a Field Outreach Coordinator, I’ll be working with the Afterschool Alliance VISTA team to coordinate and support the members of the new nationwide STEM Ecosystem VISTA project. STEM Ecosystems are multi-organization, cross-sector partnerships that share the common goal of making STEM learning widely available and a top priority for their communities. I’ll be supporting our VISTAs as they work to enhance the accessibility and quality of resources for Ecosystem partners, STEM educators and community members, and promote the capacity and sustainability of Ecosystem-supported programming.

JUL
21
2016

FUNDING
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An insider's guide to funding afterschool: Tips for prospect research success

By Michael Burke

The Afterschool Alliance is pleased to present the third installment of "An insider's guide to funding afterschool," a new blog series from the development team at the Afterschool Alliance, featuring strategies to successfully fund and sustain out-of-school time programs. Check out the first and second installments.

As Grants Manager at the Afterschool Alliance, my role is to research, explore and help cultivate funding opportunities, and prepare and submit grant proposals to a wide array of potential funders.

One of the challenges your development team likely faces is: “How do we most efficiently maximize our fundraising efforts with limited time and human resources?” One key step is setting time aside to conduct thorough prospect research.

Why Research?

Because of the sometimes complicated nature of putting together a quality and persuasive grant proposal, it is important to target potential funders with the greatest chance of success. Taking the necessary time to find out whether the donor is a good fit will result in a higher chance of success once you have submitted your proposal.

Instead of spending time crafting grants cold, it is far more effective to spend that time researching those donors that:

  • Fund, or have a history of funding, afterschool programs
  • Provide funding for programs in your geographic area
  • Have a philanthropic focus on areas such as STEM or health & wellness that align very well with your program focus

After you’ve narrowed your prospect list by the criteria above, don’t forget to:

  • Look for personal connections: Spend some time researching whether your organization has a connection to a potential donor (e.g. perhaps a member of your Board of Directors was once an employee of a prospective corporate donor).
  • Revisit old research: If you have lost a funder who has refocused their philanthropic efforts or put a prospect aside because it doesn’t seem to fit, do not just assume that the donor is gone forever – spend some time researching whether the donor has pivoted back to an area that aligns with your program.

Fundraising Resources

You can find valuable research resources at:

The following digests can also keep you up to date with what is happening in the world of philanthropy, and can highlight donors that might be very strong potential funders for you:

Prospect research takes time, just as preparing a grant proposal takes time. Setting time aside, however, on the front end to identify the strongest possible targets will maximize your human resources so that your development team has the best chance of success in acquiring the necessary funding for your afterschool or summer leaning program. 

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learn more about: Sustainability Community Partners
JUL
20
2016

IN THE FIELD
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Meet Elizabeth Tish, our new Special Assistant to the Executive Director

By Elizabeth Tish

Hi, my name is Elizabeth Tish and I’m the new Special Assistant to the Executive Director here at the Afterschool Alliance. My first experience with afterschool occurred in high school, when I participated in a summer learning program focused on college access and success. The program taught me how to succeed as a first generation college student—lessons I’m thankful for to this day. I’m excited to be here at the Afterschool Alliance, where I can work toward the goal of more students having a transformational experience in an afterschool program like I did!

I graduated from the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill with my BA in Public Policy this past December, and have completed two internships here in Washington, D.C. focusing on access to higher education and college affordability. While completing my degree, I had the opportunity to return to my summer program and complete research on what it means to enter college as an underserved student, as well as share my experiences in college with high school students who would soon start that process themselves.  

As Special Assistant, I will provide administrative and program support to the Executive Director, as well as work on special projects. I’m looking forward to learning more about the management of a national nonprofit like the Afterschool Alliance. I also hope to study and share the ways that afterschool programs can offer career and college readiness programming for their participants, especially programs that serve communities with many potential first generation college students like mine.  

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learn more about: Inside the Afterschool Alliance