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JAN
13
2016

POLICY
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President's final State of the Union sets agenda for the future

By Jillian Luchner

President Obama’ final State of the Union address appealed to the commonalities among us as a nation and posed 4 major questions:

  • How do we give everyone a fair shot at opportunity in this economy?
  • How do we make technology work for us and not against us?
  • How do we make the world safe without becoming the world’s police?
  • How can we make our politics reflect what’s best in us and not what’s worst?

In the afterschool field, there is much we can do—and are already doing—to help propel the vision the president sees for “the next five years, ten years, and beyond."

Afterschool programs provide daily access to the academic enrichment skills, interpersonal skills, mentors, and career introduction that young people need to be successful in life. Afterschool plays a key role in nurturing equal opportunity in the new economy.

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learn more about: Congress POTUS Service Community Partners
AUG
12
2015

IN THE FIELD
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Celebrating the power of national service in helping kids succeed

By Rachel Clark

During the month of August, the Corporation for National and Community Service is celebrating the work national service programs do to help kids succeed in school. We’re joining them to celebrate our dedicated team of AmeriCorps VISTAs, who work tirelessly to ensure that all kids have access to quality afterschool, as well as to provide healthy afterschool meals and to increase afterschool STEM opportunities.

To keep kids’ bellies full and minds ready to learn, New Jersey meals VISTA Erin Moran has helped pilot Newark, N.J.’s new “Lunch and Learn” program, giving Newark kids an opportunity to receive a free healthy meal and participate in an engaging enrichment activity to curb summer learning loss. In nearby Jersey City, VISTA member Orlane Baghana had monumental success in recruiting summer learning sites to enroll in the Summer Food Service Program—through her outreach efforts, more than 80 summer learning sites have been approved to receive summer meals. That equates to more than 2700 students receiving healthy meals this summer!

JUL
15
2015

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup: July 15, 2015

By Luci Manning

Alice Cooper Unveils Computer Lab at Teen Center (Arizona Republic, Arizona)

Rock star Alice Cooper’s Solid Rock Teen Center recently opened a new technology center to enhance the center’s afterschool tutoring program and give disadvantaged teens better access to technology. In addition to the computer lab, the teen center provides music, dance and cooking lessons as well as vocational training in the arts and entertainment industries. “What we want is for kids to have a creative outlet,” Cooper told the Arizona Republic. “Not all of them are gonna be players or dancers…. As long as there’s some creativity going on, that’s the ticket.” Since its opening in 2012, the center draws about 100 teens a week. According to Cooper, they’re currently planning to build a full art studio and a recording studio.

Anacostia Vending Machines Provide a New Snack: Free Children’s Books (Washington Post, District of Columbia)

Children in the Southeast Washington neighborhood of Anacostia are getting more than junk food from the Salvation Army community center’s newest vending machine. The machine, funded by JetBlue airlines, aims to dispense about 100,000 free books this summer to kids under the age of 14. Anacostia has one of the District’s lowest literacy rates and is a “book desert,” with only one age-appropriate children’s book for every 830 kids. JetBlue hopes the machine will be a creative tool to help close that literacy gap. “We wanted to do something that made kids wants to read, and want books,” JetBlue director of corporate responsibility Icema Gibbs told the Washington Post. “This way, they come to the machine, they choose what they like, instead of us deciding what they get and when they can get it.”

Manatee County Children Clean Up 32 Pounds of 'Unseen' Trash at Coquina Bayside (Bradenton Herald, Florida)

About 100 students and volunteers from various summer programs learned a lesson about environmental stewardship last week when they cleaned up 32 pounds of trash and more than 16 pounds of recyclable material at Coquina Bayside on Anna Maria Island. The goal of the 90-minute cleanup, organized by the Nature Academy, was to show kids how much of an impact even “unseen” trash and pollution can have on animals and the environment. In addition, it helped teach them a lesson about personal responsibility. “The environment is like your room, only bigger,” 11-year-old Cayenne Adams told the Bradenton Herald. “You have to keep it clean even if you have a brother or sister that’s making the mess.”

Ag Business 101: Cortez Middle School Students Learn the Business Side of Farming (Cortez Journal, Colorado)

Nine middle school students are learning the ins-and-outs of farming production as part of the four-week Youth Farmers Market Apprentice Program. Throughout the summer, kids will tend an acre of row crops, create budgets, set prices and schedule vegetable harvests. Whatever money the students make selling their produce at the local farmers market will go toward $100 stipends for each participant. “Our hope is that these students choose to be in the Ag elective next year, be advocates for the garden and really help spread enthusiasm,” Cortez Middle School farm production coordinator Danyel Mezzanatto told the Cortez Journal

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learn more about: Science Service Arts Literacy
JAN
13
2015

IN THE FIELD
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Celebrate National Mentoring Month: Bring mentoring to afterschool

By Rachel Clark

January’s National Mentoring Month marks a national celebration of the thousands of adults who guide, support, and encourage young people as mentors.  Rapid growth in mentoring programs has brought the care and support of a mentor to three million youth in recent years—but almost 15 million youth have been left unserved.

Afterschool can help close that gap.  The flexible structure and partnerships enjoyed by afterschool programs enable providers to develop creative mentoring approaches, building off the resources and needs of their students and communities. Movement City in Lawrence, MA brings together academic support, the arts, and mentoring, while Science Club for Girls encourages confidence in STEM by pairing girls with female mentor-scientists and by allowing teen girls to mentor younger children.

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learn more about: Service
NOV
5
2014

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
OCT
8
2014

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup - October 8, 2014

By Luci Manning

Teen, Mentor Are ‘Prefect Match’ (The Free Lance-Star, Virginia)
13-year-old Aaron Johnson already has the experiences of a world traveler, even though he rarely leaves his hometown. Thanks to his “big brother” Gerald Fennemore and the Rappahannock Big Brother Big Sisters program, Johnson has met people from every continent except Antarctica. However, Johnson is gaining much more than cultural experience. “If you have a big brother, the family is like a second family, and a second home, so you’ll have two homes, and they can support you and help you with anything you have issues with,” Johnson told The Free Lance-Star. Fennemore has not only been teaching and mentoring Aaron, but the duo also love watching football and playing games together. “If you could find at least one other caring adult to make a difference in a kid’s life, that’s all it takes. Another adult might be able to find a spark to nurture something in your child that maybe you don’t see,” Johnson’s mother told The Free Lance-Star.                                                                                                                                                                              

Computer Science First Opens New World, Opportunities to Students (The Post and Courier, South Carolina)
High School Freshman Monica Washington had no idea what she was in for when she enrolled in the Google After-School Program. Through the afterschool and summer computer science program, Washington has learned how to use Scratch, a fashion design program, and has taken classes on cyber security, yo code and an introduction to computer networking.  After discovering a passion for cyber security during the summer, Washington tells The Post and Courier, “I am so thankful that I have the chance to get involved in learning about technology. It’s exciting… It is my hope that many more girls will take advantage of these awesome programs.” 

Our Bridge Program Offers Classroom Aid to Immigrant Children (The Charlotte Observer, North Carolina)
Thanks to a 21st Century Community Learning Center grant, Our Bridge, a nonprofit afterschool program in South Charlotte, was able to re-open to provide immigrant and refugee children with a safe and welcoming place to learn English. Our Bridge provides meals and transportation for the kids and celebrates their cultural holidays to make them feel at home, while still learning a whole new language in an unfamiliar country. Program Director Andrew Eastwood told The Charlotte Observer about a recent project on frog hibernation in which students made edible tadpole-winter hibernation exhibits of whipped cream, blue jello, chocolate pudding and gummy worms. “The kids loved learning about it and eating it,” Eastwood added. 

OCT
2
2014

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup - October 2, 2014

By Luci Manning

Wake Forest Parents Cheer Transportation to Boys & Girls Club (News & Observer, North Carolina)
Parents in Wake Forest burst into applause at a recent meeting when they learned that their children would continue to have bus service to their afterschool program. For years the option for children to be dropped off at the Wake County Boys & Girls Club had become routine, but this year, due to a drop in 100 bus routes and 4,000 stops to speed up service, the stop had been eliminated.  “Families had to wait for several weeks beyond the first day of school to find out whether they would have service, leaving parents anxious about their children’s after-school plans,” the News & Observer reports.  Families had to apply for stop reassignment and the routes are now being altered on a first-come, first-serve basis, with no guarantees. Leaders at the Wake County Boys & Girls Club are looking into long-term solutions to ensure families have transportation.

Students Restore Atrium in Memory of Librarian (Idaho Press-Tribune, Idaho)
Afterschool students in the West Middle School Leo Club, an offshoot of the Nampa Lions Club, cleaned up the atrium in the middle of the cafeteria and dedicated it to the memory of a librarian and mentor to the students who died in 2010.  The students raised funds with candy and bake sales, car washes, and dances.  Sebastian Griffin, an eighth-grader at West who is hoping to be the Leo Club’s president this year, said he has enjoyed being in the club for the past year, “It’s a fun after-school activity that you can do with your friends and help the community at the same time,” the Idaho Press-Tribune reports.

Students On Track To Graduate Thanks To Success Program (WNCT 9, North Carolina)
The Student Success Academy is helping hundreds of at-risk students in Pitt County get on track to graduate with high expectations—and they’re only in middle school.  Thanks to a $1.27 million grant from the 21st Century Community Learning Center program, graduation rates have increased from 50 percent to 82 percent because students are actually excited about school, thinking farther ahead about their exciting future careers. “It’s about beginning with the end in mind,” student Javante Mayo tells WNCT 9. “It helps me set goals and talk about how I can achieve my goals.” Pitt County Schools predict the graduation rate to keep increasing each year, now that this program is in place. 

State Rep Promotes After-School Fitness (Cleveland Daily Banner, Tennessee)
Russell Cliche, a representative from The Governor’s Foundation for Health and Wellness, spoke to 30 people from afterschool and extended learning programs about how to help students become more physically active in afterschool programs.  Cliche told the Cleveland Daily Banner that increasing blood and oxygen flow to the brain help the brain’s ability to concentrate, “When you’re moving and learning, you’re creating brain cells.” This is the first year that 21st Century Community Learning Centers and state-funded Lottery for Education Afterschool programs are required to incorporate physical activities into their programs.

SEP
24
2014

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup - September 24, 2014

By Luci Manning

Derrick Rose Gives $1 Million to Chicago Charity (Chicago Tribune, Illinois)
Chicago Bulls star Derrick Rose is donating $1 million to After School Matters, a Chicago charity that arranges out-of-school apprenticeships for teens. “When Derrick looks at the kids we work really hard to serve, he sees himself or saw himself as one of those kids,” Vice Chairman of After School Matters Robbie Robinson explains to the Chicago Tribune. Rose grew up in the same area and told the Chicago Tribune, “To have a strong community of people who believe in your potential can make all the difference in the world. So many people have invested in me and I want to do the same for Chicago’s teens.”

Students Show Love for Cops on Police Appreciation Day (The Daily Home, Alabama)
Afterschool Students from First Baptist Church’s Child Development Center in Talladega adopted a new tradition: Police Officer Appreciation Day. The afterschool students created “survival kits” filled with candy and treats.  Students explained the special significance of each candy on the outside of the bag and presented the kits to the police officers, The Daily Home reports.

Kids 4 Kompany to Hold Food Drive (Times-Herald, Georgia)
Kids 4 Kompany Learning Academy in Newnan is organizing a food drive this month. Children in the academy are working on all aspects of the food drive: collecting non-perishable food items, organizing the food, and helping deliver it to a local organization in need. Denita Barnett, creator of the food drive, tells the Times-Herald, “I want to instill in the children here to give to others.” Barnett says she plans on making the food drive an annual event from here on out.

NOLA Access Grant Puts Technology Help Within Reach of Central City Youth, Adults (The Times-Picayune, Louisiana)
Thanks to a $19,600 NOLA Access Media Grant, students in Central City will get a chance to learn and develop their computer skills in a high-tech environment.  The afterschool program at the Israelite Baptist Church rapidly grew after the program was one of the few able to stay open after Hurricane Katrina.  Afterschool Program Director Eureka Harris told The Times-Picayune that the program aims to not only help students with homework and improve digital literacy, but also “to expand their belief in what is possible in their lives.”