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SEP
16

POLICY
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House reauthorizes Child Care Development Block Grant

By Erik Peterson

Last night the House of Representatives 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 will need to pass the bill again before it can go the president’s desk to be signed into law. The Senate is expected to take action this month. 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 last night  reflects a bipartisan agreement reached by Congressional leaders last week 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: Congress Equity Federal Funding Legislation Working Families
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SEP
10

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup - September 10, 2014

By Luci Manning

Commentary: The Importance of Afterschool Programming (The Palm Beach Post, Florida)
Mayors Karl Dean and Betsy Price are asking their fellow mayors, city council members and other community leaders to take action to make afterschool programs a priority. In The Palm Beach Post, Dean and Price write, “Participating in high-quality afterschool programs has been shown to promote positive behaviors such as school attendance, and may help boost academic achievement, civic engagement and self-confidence, while reducing such dangers as obesity and juvenile crime…we need more cities to get on board. We urge city leaders to bring together key stakeholders to talk about—and take action on—local afterschool needs.  Mayors and city council members can lead key players to work together effectively.  And we need cities, businesses and private funders to invest more in afterschool.  Such an effort will change young lives, help families and strengthen neighborhoods.”  Mayors Dean and Price are on the Afterschool Alliance Board of Directors and received funding from The Wallace Foundation to expand afterschool opportunities in Nashville, Tenn., and Ft. Worth, Texas.

Theresa Horton Aces Courtrooms and Kitchens (Greenville Online, South Carolina)
An afterschool program from Resurrection Power Ministries in Travelers Rest is teaching children, ages 6 to 10, how to be self-sufficient in the kitchen.  In the program’s first year, students learned how to boil an egg, chop vegetables, and ultimately made a Nicoise salad at the end of term for their parents.  Instructor Theresa Horton tells Greenville Online that she’s teaching the young kids about nutrition and cooking, one skill at a time.  She said the afterschool program shows students “order and caring and discipline and that work is part of life.”

Flamingos in Payette (Independent Enterprise, Oregon)
Payette Primary School’s teachers have people flocking to donate to their cause. Educators are helping raise money to support the Payette Primary School 21st Century Community Leaning Center kindergarten program and fix the school playground by temporarily migrating a flock of flamingos to yards across Ontario. These quirky birds will roost in anyone’s yard for a day or two if a friend pays the school to place the birds there, the Independent Enterprise reports.

TPS Seeking to Expand Community Hubs (The Blade, Ohio)
Despite funding cuts, Toledo Public Schools and United Way of Greater Toledo are trying to continue expanding the successful “community hubs” they created three years ago.  The community hubs coordinate afterschool programs, medical and dental health programs, and social services to address the whole scope of problems that can inhibit a child’s ability to learn.  Last week leaders at United Way held a strategic planning session to develop a sustainable way to spread community hubs throughout Toledo.  George Chapman, former chief executive of Health Care REIT Inc., has been pitching donations for the concept, saying this money would make a real difference and told The Blade, “Equal opportunity is what this country is about.”

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learn more about: Afterschool Champions Afterschool Voices Nutrition State Policy Sustainability
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AUG
27

POLICY
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Jim Jeffords: A founder of the movement to expand afterschool programs, a hero to children and families

By Jodi Grant

This post was originally published on Huffington Post's Education Blog. Read the original post and share your thoughts with the HuffPost community.

 

Before former Sen. James Jeffords of Vermont introduced the first legislation to provide federal funding for afterschool in 1994, the federal government played essentially no role in providing meaningful support and programming for young people in the hours after the school day ended and before parents arrived home from work. Sen. Jeffords, who passed away on Aug. 18 at the age of 80, was a pioneer in the national afterschool movement. He worked tirelessly to build congressional and presidential support for a national afterschool and summer learning program infrastructure that lives on today as the 21st Century Community Learning Centers initiative (21st CCLC).

Sen. Jeffords had many proud accomplishments, including chairing the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee and helping to shape the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), the No Child Left Behind Act and the Higher Education Act. But advocates for afterschool remember him best as one of the original authors of the legislation that created the 21st CCLC.

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learn more about: 21st CCLC Afterschool Voices Congress Equity ESEA Federal Policy Media Outreach Sustainability Working Families Academic Enrichment
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AUG
27

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup August 27, 2014

By Luci Manning

Letter: YMCA After School (Kansas City Star, Kansas)

“With school starting again, it’s a good time to remember the important role after-school programs play in helping students succeed,” Afterschool Ambassador and Vice President of Youth Development Services at the YMCA of Greater Kansas City Pam Watkins wrote in a letter to the editor in the Kansas City Star.  She continued, “Quality after-school programs, such as the YMCA of Greater Kansas City Y Clubs, are a lifeline for working parents.  They give our youth a chance to engage in hands-on, experimental learning in a safe and structured environment, exposing students to possible careers in the sciences or other fields, teaching them the value of community service and providing them with mentors, meals, physical activity and more…  Many more students in the Kansas City area should have after-school programs available to them.  We need lawmakers and others to fund after-school programs so all our children can have access to the support they need.”

Human Trafficking May Be Active in Albany (Albany Herald, Georgia)

Albany Crime Stoppers board members learned about human trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation of children and some tips for preventing trafficking at abuse. David McCleary, a representative of Rotary International, gave an overview of how young at-risk girls can fall prey to predatory adults.  “McCleary said communities can help guard against the threat of human trafficking by providing mentors for the children, summer lunch programs, after school programs and homeless shelters,” the Albany Herald reports.

Ardsley's United Martial Arts Going Strong at 1st Anniversary (Rivertowns Daily Voice, New York)  

United Martial Arts Center (UMAC) in Ardsley is celebrating its first anniversary next month.  In addition to the full course of Taekwondo training for all ages, UMAC Ardsley also offers an afterschool program with transportation for local elementary students.  "We have a Martial Arts Reading Program, where the children are reading at home, and relating the books to Taekwondo values," master instructor Vinny Bellantoni told the Rivertowns Daily Voice.  He continued, "Every 10 books that they read, they earn a ‘next level’ patch, eventually becoming a ‘black belt’ in the Martial Arts Reading Program. The reason has even more purpose than just to get children excited to read, it actually helps them start to understand how these values relate to their every day lives."

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AUG
22

IN THE FIELD
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Back to afterschool meals

By Alexis Steines

In many parts of the country, summer is drawing to a close as many kids are heading back to the classroom during the final days of August.  For children that rely on federal child nutrition programs, back to school also means back to consistent, healthful and nutritious meals, including those provided by the Department of Agriculture’s At-Risk Afterschool Meals Program.

If you're not already serving afterschool meals in your program, consider participating in the At-Risk Afterschool Meals Program.  Afterschool programs with more than 50 percent of their students receiving free and reduced price school lunches are eligible to serve these meals. Participating in the program is easy and it gives you the opportunity to build community partnerships with your school district’s school nutrition department and anti-hunger advocacy organizations.

Whether you're just starting to serve afterschool meals or are looking to increase participation in your program, the following tips should help you successfully maximize participation:

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learn more about: Federal Funding Funding Opportunity Nutrition Sustainability Community Partners
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AUG
8

IN THE FIELD
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Guest Blog: After-School All-Stars youth leaders from across the nation converge on Washington, D.C.

By Erik Peterson

Guest blog by Alyssa Plotkin, national program assistant for the After-School All-Stars.

 

“Because of After-School All-Stars, I feel like I’m important, that my opinion matters. I’m so fortunate to have been chosen to be a yabbie. I feel happier, more social and more knowledgeable.” – Citlali of ASAS Los Angeles

After-School All-Stars (ASAS), a leading national provider of comprehensive out-of-school-time programs that serves more than 90,000 children in 13 cities across the U.S.—brought 40 extraordinary 8th grade leaders and staff to Washington, D.C., in July for a week-long leadership summit. Each chapter, from New York to Hawaii, selected an outstanding student-based on their leadership abilities, strong attendance, academic performance and unwavering commitment to community service.

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learn more about: Advocacy Afterschool Voices Congress Guest Blog
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AUG
6

IN THE FIELD
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Guest Blog: Afterschool programs addressing healthy living and food insecurity through HEPA standards

By Erik Peterson

Pam Watkins is the vice president of youth development services at YMCA Youth Development Services in Kansas City, Kansas, and a 2013-2014 Afterschool Ambassador.

 

The YMCA of Greater Kansas City is one of many afterschool programs nationwide that has embraced the Healthy Eating and Physical Activity (HEPA) standards. Recently, at one of our afterschool sites with a high rate of students receiving free or reduced-priced lunch, we had a family that had just moved here from California and enrolled four of their children in our program.  The oldest child, Juan (name has been changed to keep anonymity), was ever-watchful over his siblings and was constantly correcting them if they were doing something inappropriate.  After about a week the site supervisor overheard Juan tell his siblings that they needed to eat a snack because their mom had said she wasn't sure whether they would have dinner that night or not.  When the site supervisor pulled Juan off to the side, he told her that his dad had still not found a job and his mom was working two part time jobs—but it still wasn't enough and they usually didn't have money for food.

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learn more about: Afterschool Voices Afterschool Ambassadors Guest Blog Nutrition Working Families Community Partners
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AUG
5

RESEARCH
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New MetLife Foundation issue brief: Afterschool Programs Using Data to Better Serve Students

By Nikki Yamashiro

FUSE, an afterschool program in Chicago, Illinois, uses the student participation information they’ve collected—through their Web platform, in-person observations, video observations and student surveys—to determine what activities are most appealing to their students, why they sustain student interest, and then designs new activities that can better support the development and continuation of students’ learning pathways.

BUILD, a 2014 MetLife Foundation Afterschool Innovator Award winner, developed a new program aimed at addressing their students’ mental health, physical health and overall wellness after they discovered through program data that 10 percent of their students identified as LGBTQ and 40 percent were unsure if they had health insurance. 

These are just a few examples of afterschool programs that are using data to improve programming and are featured in the final issue brief of our latest MetLife Foundation issue brief series. “Looking at the Data: Afterschool Programs Using Data to Better Serve Students” was released today at the National Summit on Authentic Youth Engagement in Chicago, where our Field Outreach Manager Alexis Steines and Dr. Roslind Blasingame-Buford, executive director of BUILD, spoke about how afterschool programs can engage youth by connecting them to a network of supports.

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learn more about: Evaluations Issue Briefs MetLife Innovator Awards
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