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NOV
19

IN THE FIELD
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First Lady honors 12 afterschool arts and humanities programs at White House

By Ed Spitzberg

Many afterschool programs stoke the creative fires of the kids who participate in them.  Sometimes it is that yearning for the arts that draws kids to these programs to start with – and once there, they also gain many other skills, from confidence, to public speaking, to creative expression.

Each year, the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities, in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Institute of Museum and Library Services, honors some of these premier programs with the National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award.  Each honor comes with a $10,000 award, presented during  a ceremony at the White House led by First Lady Michelle Obama.

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learn more about: Celebrities Obama Academic Enrichment Arts Youth Development
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NOV
17

POLICY
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After 18 years, both chambers of Congress reauthorize CCDBG

By Erik Peterson

Today the Senate followed the action of the House of Representatives this past September and passed S.1086–The Child Care and Development Block Grant Act of 2014: Amended Version. The bipartisan, bicameral bill represents a compromise of the legislation that passed the Senate in March by a vote of 96-2.  Due to the changes in the House version, the Senate has to pass the bill again before sending it to the president’s desk to be signed into law. This marks the first time in 18 years that comprehensive Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) reauthorization legislation has passed both the House and Senate.

The bill that passed reflects a bipartisan agreement reached by Congressional leaders in mid-September to reauthorize CCDBG after several months of negotiations by Reps. John Kline (R-Minn.), George Miller (D-Calif.), Todd Rokita (R-Ind.) and David Loebsack (D-Iowa), as well as Sens. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), and Richard Burr (R-N.C.). The agreement will enhance transparency, strengthen health and safety protections, and improve the quality of care for children of low-income families aged birth to 13.

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learn more about: Advocacy Congress Federal Policy Youth Development
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NOV
12

IN THE FIELD
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Weekly Media Roundup  November 12, 2014

By Luci Manning

MentorPlace Program Truly a Worthy Investment (Cincinnati Enquirer, Ohio)

Through the MentorPlace Program, Deer Park (OH) students are gaining the confidence to believe they can accomplish great things.  The afterschool program, a collaboration of IBM, the University of Cincinnati, The Greater Cincinnati STEM Collaborative and Deer Park City Community Schools, pairs IBM employees with middle school students to promote science and technology careers and work through personal issues.  Jeff Langdon, superintendent of Deer Park Community City Schools, told Cincinnati Enquirer, “The closing ceremony was so rewarding when we witnessed the confidence and pride the mentors evoked from our students.  The real-world connection was powerful in linking our students’ learning to their plans for the future.”

12 Computers Donated to Utica's Underground Café (Utica Observer-Dispatch, New York)

In poorer neighborhoods, it’s not uncommon for school to be the only place where youth have access to 21st century technology, and UnitedHealthcare is trying to help.  The group is donating 12 computers to Utica Safe Schools to establish a computer lab at its Underground Café teen center.  The Underground Café, open only to Thomas R. Proctor High School students, also offers an afterschool program, a drop-in center during school breaks and summer for recreational activities, opportunities for college preparation through increasing leadership and resiliency skills, and service learning projects.  Officials told the Utica Observer-Dispatch that the program “helps transform the experiences and perceptions of teens in Utica by creating venues for leadership, civic engagement and create expression.”

Nonprofit to Lock Up Business Leaders for a Good Cause (Brunswick News, Georgia)

Some local Georgia business owners might see the back of the police car this week, but it’s all for a good cause.  The Nonprofit C.I.A. (Children In Action) will be locking up business leaders, nominated by their employees, for their “Most Wanted” fundraising campaign.  Those nominated will be escorted by a Glynn County police officer and a child from the afterschool program back to the “jail” at C.I.A. headquarters, where they will be photographed, booked and held until they can post a $500 bail. All bail money will go directly to the Christian nonprofit’s operations fund for the year.  C.I.A. founder and director Allen Benner told Brunswick News that while in “jail,” he plans to speak to business leaders about his vision for C.I.A.’s future and discuss possible collaborations. Benner said he hopes allowing children to accompany officers on the round-up will help them build trust.

A Different Process': Artfigures Studio Provides Foundation, Inspires Creativity in Sculpture (The Citizen, New York)

Janie Darovskikh’s Art After School program held an unusual pumpkin-carving event on Oct. 30. Rather than simply scooping out the inside and cutting out a face on the front, the students researched their designs for the pumpkins and used the sculpting skills they learned in Darovskikh’s afterschool classes to make creative, colorful masterpieces, even using toothpicks to reattach pumpkin chunks as ears and other appendages.  Darovskikh explained to The Citizen that she teaches art based on her life philosophy: give students some initial lessons to provide them with a solid foundation, and then free them to explore their own creativity and figure out their own style through trial and error. While some students stick to one idea throughout an assignment, other students run through a few different ideas before completing their finished project. “Everyone has a different process,” Darovskikh said. “They don't always turn out how you envision them all the time.” For example, she described an assignment in which one student created an alien mask, another built a unicorn head, and a third designed a cartoon-looking bumblebee. In Darovskikh’s class, children are given the freedom to create whatever they can imagine. 

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learn more about: Digital Learning Marketing Media Outreach Community Partners
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NOV
11

POLICY
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Lame duck ahead: FY15 spending decisions on the horizon

By Erik Peterson

After more than a month-long recess leading up to the mid-term elections, Members of Congress are back in the Nation’s capitol and will be in session starting on Wednesday, November 12th for a “Lame Duck” session that must finalize the FY 2015 appropriations spending bills to fund federal government operations for the period December 12, 2014, through September 30, 2015. The government is currently funded through a continuing resolution (CR) at FY 2014 levels.

The Bipartisan Budget Act that passed in December 2013 capped discretionary spending at $1.014 trillion in FY 2015 – essentially the mid-point between Senate budget level of $1.058 trillion and the House budget level of $967 billion. The agreement restored $63 billion in sequestration cuts over two years, split evenly between defense and nondefense discretionary spending programs. Nondefense discretionary spending (which includes most federal support for afterschool and summer learning programs though the Department of Education and Health and Human Services) is capped at $492.4 billion in FY 2015, however that will change going into FY 2016 at which time nondefense discretionary spending faces a $43 billion (8 percent) cut, unless Congress acts to reverse sequestration.

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learn more about: Afterschool Caucus Afterschool for All Budget Congress Federal Funding Federal Policy
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NOV
10

IN THE FIELD
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Guest Blog: Inclusive Out-of-School Time

By Nikki Yamashiro

This blog post was originally published on the National Center on Health, Physical Activity and Disability’s (NCHPAD) blog, which promotes information sharing around increased participation in physical activity among people of all abilities.  Nora Niedzielski-Eichner, executive director of the New York State Afterschool Network (NYSAN), is a contributing author to this blog post and works to raise the profile of the OST field in New York and strengthen OST programs across the state, including promoting the importance of inclusion of youth with disabilities in afterschool, expanded learning, and out-of-school time opportunities.  For additional information regarding afterschool programs providing an inclusive environment where students of all abilities can learn and grow side-by-side, read “Afterschool Supporting Students with Disabilities and Other Special Needs,” a joint issue brief by MetLife Foundation and the Afterschool Alliance.

The purpose of this article is to promote inclusion of youth with disabilities in after-school, expanded learning, and out-of-school time programs. For the purposes of this article, the term “include” and “inclusion” embodies the values, policies, and practices that support all youth, those both with and without disabilities, to participate in a broad range of out-of-school time activities.

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learn more about: America After 3PM Equity Guest Blog Issue Briefs State Networks
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NOV
5

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup --November 5, 2014

By Luci Manning

CV CyberPatriots Test Skills Against Hundreds in Nation (The Spokesman-Review, Washington)
Central Valley High School students are learning to close computer network gaps that can allow hackers to sneak in thanks to the school’s CyberPatriots afterschool program focused on cyber security. CyberPatriot was created by the Air Force Association to encourage students to consider careers in cyber security and STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fields. 17-year-old Riley Madrian wasn’t sure if she’d like it. Now, she’s hooked. “It’s like trapping someone who is super sneaky. It’s relevant,” Madrian told The Spokesman-Review. “It’s like what should be happening at Target and Home Depot to protect people from their identity being stolen.” Madrian had planned on a college major in music performance, but now she’s considering adding some computer science.

PS 39 Students Use Their Green Thumbs, Learn About Eating Well and Growing Heart-healthy Foods (Staten Island Advance, New York)
Students at PS 39 – many of whom were affected by Hurricane Sandy – are getting a hands-on lesson on growing, harvesting and eating healthy foods, the Staten Island Advance reports.  Earlier this year the afterschool students planted the borough’s first teaching garden thanks to a partnership between the Staten Island YMCA and the American Heart Association. After planting tomatoes, mint, basil, squash, peppers and cucumbers, students made heart-healthy lettuce wraps from the freshly picked ingredients. PS 39 afterschool students were involved in the project from start to finish; they built and painted containers, filled them with soil, took care of watering and weeding, grew the various fruits and vegetables, harvested and ate them.

Piedmont Middle School Offering Coding Class (The Anniston Star, Alabama)
Eighth grade student Chris Chandler has already programmed at least six games in his free time thanks to the skills he’s acquired during Piedmont Middle School’s afterschool program. In weekly afterschool sessions students are learning using Google Computer Science First’s curriculum via Scratch programming, which is a simplified version of the coding languages offered in upper-level classes. Superintendent Matt Akin told The Anniston Star, “The earlier we can expose kids to STEM fields—in this case computer science—the better.” He continued, calling the afterschool program, “a neat way to get kids attracted to programming where normally they wouldn’t be attracted.” 

Carnival Mentors Help Students Cruise Into A Brighter Future (The Miami Herald, Florida)
Student Earl Generato from Pembroke Pines never imagined he’d be able to attend a private university because of the tuition bill. “My sister is going to college soon, too, and my parents wouldn’t be able to pay for both our college tuitions,” he told The Miami Herald. “I didn’t want to overburden them.” However thanks to The Carnival Foundation, the charitable branch of Carnival Corp., and the foundation’s scholarship and mentoring program, Generato was able to do just that. Now finishing his first year as a University of Miami Stamps Leader Scholar, majoring in English and biomedical engineering, he credits Carnival with enabling him to continue his education. The Carnival Foundation recruits students who attend the HEAT Academy, an afterschool program for kids in Little Haiti and Little Havana. Those who maintain good academic standing are invited to join the high school mentoring program, in which students are paired with a Carnival mentor. Students, like Generato, are also eligible for scholarships.

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learn more about: Nutrition Science Service
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NOV
4

LIGHTS ON
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Vote for your favorite afterschool photo

By Sarah Simpson

The photos are in, and it’s time to cast your vote!

Throughout the month of October, almost 300 photos were entered into the Lights On Afterschool photo contest and we’re letting Facebook users decide which programs will shine the brightest. Up to three programs are eligible to win $1000 in cash, and one program in a Bright House Networks service area can win up to $2000.

To help your favorite program win, all you have to do is vote for their photo on Facebook. You can only vote for a single photo once per day, but come back the following day to vote again! Now until Nov. 17, each Facebook user can cast up to 14 votes per photo by voting every day. Make sure to encourage parents, program staff, community members and friends to help your program win by voting often. Click here to vote now!

For more information check out the Lights On Afterschool contest page or see the official rules for details.

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learn more about: Funding Opportunity Media Outreach
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OCT
31

IN THE FIELD
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Focusing on the role of afterschool programs during bullying prevention month

By Erik Peterson

While Bullying Prevention Awareness Month concludes today, thousands of afterschool programs nationwide will continue to play an important role in helping to combat bullying among students.  One of our 2011 MetLife Foundation issue briefs outlines strategies that schools and communities can use to help combat bullying through quality, effective afterschool programs. The brief, entitled “Afterschool: A Strategy for Addressing and Preventing Middle School Bullying,” exhibits how afterschool programs that provide access to caring adults and offer a more informal environment that is distinct from the school day allow children to feel safe from peer pressure, build confidence and learn how to deal with bullies.  

The brief delves into every aspect of bullying, including cyber-bullying, and displays the potentially damaging future effects that peer intimidation can have on both the person being bullied and the bullies themselves. In particular, it highlights how dangerous the middle school years can be for children, showing that middle school students—who are undergoing physical, social and emotional transitions—are particularly vulnerable to teasing and intimidation. However, the brief counters with successful examples, showing that afterschool programs can have immense benefits on children’s social and emotional well-being by offering them a sense of community, a chance to develop leadership skills and a safe place to go once the school day ends. Beneficial programs across the country are aiding in the fight against bullying and teaching children that aggressive and detrimental behaviors are not something to be taken lightly.

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learn more about: Issue Briefs MetLife Innovator Awards Youth Development
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