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Afterschool Snack, the afterschool blog. The latest research, resources, funding and policy on expanding quality afterschool and summer learning programs for children and youth. An Afterschool Alliance resource.
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OCT
23

RESEARCH
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Two new reports add to the case for investing in youth programs

By Erik Peterson

With Lights On Afterschool upon us and fresh on the heels of the new America After 3PM (AA3) data, two additional reports further make the case for supporting afterschool and summer learning programs. This week, Opportunity Nation released the 2014 Opportunity Index and the Children’s Leadership Council announced a new public opinion poll showing strong support for investing in effective programs that improve the lives of children and youth.

The Opportunity Index is an annual composite measure at the state and county levels of 16 economic, educational and civic factors that expand or restrict upward mobility. The Opportunity Index ranks all 50 states plus Washington, D.C., and found that access to opportunity has increased by more than 6 percent nationwide since the first iteration of the Index in 2011. Much of this growth is due to large improvements on specific economic and educational indicators (such as the unemployment rate, Internet access and on-time high school graduation rate). There was less robust improvement on civic indicators such as access to healthful food, volunteerism and access to health care. In spite of gains in opportunity overall, the Index also shows that this progress is not enough to ensure that all Americans, particularly teens and young adults, get their fair shot at the American Dream. In particular, while the number of young Americans ages 16-24 who are neither in school nor working dropped significantly since 2013—from 5.8 million to 5.6 million in 2014—the four-year trend is more modest: there were 5.66 million disconnected youth in 2011. Afterschool and summer learning programs, particularly for older youth, can help close the opportunity gap by engaging young people through quality college and career readiness programs.

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learn more about: America After 3PM Equity Evaluations Youth Development
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OCT
9

POLICY
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Afterschool and summer learning supporters promote OST child nutrition programs on Capitol Hill

By Erik Peterson

Nutritious meals provided to children during afterschool and summer learning programs have the dual effect of nourishing students while making them more apt to learn and benefit from enriching activities. And according to Baltimore’s Holabird Academy Principal Anthony Ruby, the shared meals also build a sense of community that helps foster student success. Legislation to strengthen out-of-school-time child nutrition programs could increase this positive impact on young people.

On Oct. 8, Mr. Ruby joined Crystal FitzSimmons of the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC), Elena Rocha of the YMCA of the USA, and Terri Kerwawich of Philadelphia Parks and Recreation Department in addressing Congressional staff during a briefing on Capitol Hill focusing on feeding children year-round through the afterschool and summer meal programs. 

A standing-room only crowd of policy makers, advocates and media heard about the vital role played by the At-Risk Afterschool Meals and the Summer Nutrition programs in providing nutritious food for hungry children when school is out of session:

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learn more about: Afterschool Voices Congress Equity Events and Briefings Federal Policy Legislation Media Outreach Nutrition Summer Learning
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SEP
24

POLICY
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House, Senate approve FY15 continuing resolution

By Erik Peterson

With 12 days remaining in the current federal fiscal year, both chambers approved a continuing resolution (CR) late last week ensuring that the federal government will be funded and operational through Dec. 11. The stopgap measure is funded at $1 trillion, which is less than the Senate would like but more than the Budget Control Act actually allows.  Once the bill expires in mid-December, Congress will have to decide whether to extend the CR a few more months until the next Congress gets organized, or to go ahead and fund federal operations for the remainder of the fiscal year. It's not too late to reach out to your representative and senators to encourage their support of afterschool programs.

Congress is now in recess until after the Nov. 4 election. The Senate has already announced its Nov. 12 return. When Congress returns it will resume as a lame duck session that could address a number of issues in addition to the CR. Many Members of Congress will be in their districts campaigning next month, which presents an excellent opportunity to invite incumbents and candidates to Lights On Afterschool celebrations as a way to raise awareness of  the impact that afterschool and summer learning programs have on children, youth, their families and communities.

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learn more about: Budget Congress Election Legislation
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SEP
18

IN THE FIELD
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Happy anniversary! AmeriCorps turns 20

By Alexis Steines

Pres. Obama was joined by Former Pres. Bill Clinton last Friday for a special AmeriCorps swearing-in ceremony on the White House lawn in celebration of the program’s 20th anniversary.  Several thousand AmeriCorps volunteers were sworn into service at more than 80 ceremonies across the country.

The first class of AmeriCorps volunteers were sworn into service on Sept. 12, 1994.  Since that day, more than 900,000 volunteers have worked with community organizations across the country, particularly those providing afterschool and summer learning programs. AmeriCorps currently engages more than 75,000 men and women at more than 15,000 locations including nonprofits, schools, public agencies, and community- and faith-based groups across the country.  During their year of service, AmeriCorps members help communities with a wide range of issues including disaster services, economic opportunity, education and healthy futures. AmeriCorps volunteers are a key part of the afterschool workforce.  They provide essential staffing for many programs, where they mentor, teach skills such as computer programming, and coach sports.  AmeriCorps members make it possible for afterschool programs to serve children and youth in many communities.

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learn more about: Equity Obama Vista Community Partners
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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
20

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup - August 20, 2014

By Luci Manning

Bronx Shelter Helps Kids Escape Tortures of Domestic Violence, Heals Emotional Wounds (Daily News, New York)

The Sarah Burke House in the Bronx serves as a safe haven for kids and their moms to start a new life free from domestic violence.  There, the children participate in theater, dance, yoga classes, and do arts and crafts after school and during the summer because as Ted McCourtney, director of the shelter, told the Daily News, “I think it is really important that we address the clinical aspects of what is happening in the children, but also that we just provide a fun, memorable, normal summer experience for these kids.”  Mothers attend job training sessions while their children engage in safe surroundings, fostering the healing process.

Columbia Academy Students Travel Across Globe for Summer Learning (Daily Herald, Tennessee)

High school students from Columbia Academy had a summer to remember as they travelled to different locales as part of a summer learning programs geared towards exploring the students’ passions, reports the Daily Herald.  One student travelled to Los Angeles to study fashion, another went to North Carolina to study oceanography, while others traveled to Austria and Italy to learn more about history and European culture.  The program was a smashing success as the globetrotting students returned inspired and more aware of what they want their future careers to look like.

Engaging a Problem: Auburn Girl Attends STEM Camp in Syracuse (Citizen, New York)

Syracuse University opened its doors this summer to promote talented seventh and eighth grade girls interest in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) curricula.  “The idea is that a lot of girls at that age turn away from science and math,” Project Engage Summer Program Coordinator Carol Stokes-Cawley told the Citizen, explaining how Project Engage is there to show the girls that STEM is for them.  The students explored STEM topics to a greater depth of what they would in their schools’ science labs, pushing the limits of nanoparticles to determine their breaking points and creating prosthetics out of ordinary objects, afterwards calculating their properties, volume, flexibility, and strength.

Rising Second-Graders Shining ‘STARS’ This Summer (Brunswick Beacon, North Carolina)

Fifteen rising second graders from Jessie Mae Monroe Elementary sang proudly at their Seaside Teaching and Reaching Students (STARS) summer program graduation ceremony this week.  The six week program, hosted by Seaside United Methodist Church, helped young students develop a love of reading. Program Director Mary Ellen Good boasted to the Brunswick Beacon, “The changes I saw in their reading ability, their desire to read. When they first came in reading was the last thing on their mind.  Toward the end of the program they were asking to read.  They found joy in going to the library each week.  They were so proud of the fact that they had library cards.”

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learn more about: Science Summer Learning Literacy Community Partners
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AUG
13

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup - August 13, 2014

By Luci Manning

NMSU STEM Outreach Center Expands Summer Camps and Locations (Las Cruces Sun-News, New Mexico)

This year, New Mexico State University’s STEM Outreach Center expanded, giving more students the opportunity to participate in fun summer STEM activities.  Susan Brown, director of the NMSU STEM Outreach program, explained to Las Cruces News how crucial it is to get kids excited about STEM, and that out of school programs are the way to truly engage them because, “summer camps give students a real-project based, problem-solving, inquiry-based approach to the STEM fields.”  NMSU STEM also runs an afterschool program during the school year. 

Girls Interest in Helping Environment Gaining Momentum (Santa Fe New Mexican, New Mexico)

Two rising sixth graders at Desert Academy are doing all they can to help the environment through their Global Warming Express!  Marina Weber and Joanna Whysner created Global Warming Express and enlisted supportive adults to raise awareness about climate change.  The camp takes a hands-on approach to teaching elementary students about biology, earth science and sustainability and public speaking, so students can effectively advocate for their cause. So far the students have gotten their school to remove a vending machine to cut down on plastic bottle waste and presented before Environmental Protection Agency officials in Denver, the Santa Fe New Mexican reports.  They hope to expand the camp into an afterschool program.

Book Retailer Teaming Up With Jessye Norman School to Build Library (Augusta Chronicle, Georgia)

Kids at the Jessye Normal School of Arts are getting a library!  The school teamed up with The Book Tavern to collect books this month to build a school library.  Collin Segura, counselor and publicity representative for the school, told the Augusta Chronicle that “the reading program would be a good way to prevent summer brain drain,” and has already been successful in getting its 27 participants to read 63 books in just three weeks. 

Award Winning SD 4-H 'Teens as Teachers' Releases Program Report (Rapid City Journal, South Dakota)

The award winning Teens as Teachers program helped nearly 300 elementary and middle school students throughout South Dakota to “Take A Stand” against bullying, reports the Rapid City Journal.  Teens taught younger students about conflict-resolution including lessons on communication, teamwork, social skills, empathy and cultural awareness and gained valuable inisight into teaching as a career.  The South Dakota State University Extension 4-H Youth Development partnered with the South Dakota Coordinated School Health and the South Dakota 21st CCLC on the anti-bullying program.  

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learn more about: 21st CCLC Robotics Science Summer Learning Sustainability Literacy Community Partners
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AUG
6

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup - August 6, 2014

By Luci Manning

Rally Offers Pittsburgh Public Schools' Youth Chance to Grow Through Art (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Pennsylvania)

Once again, students in the Art Activism summer program displayed a wide range of artistic abilities at the annual MGR Youth Rally for Change.  The program provides free academic and artistic instruction for Pittsburgh students in grades K-8 and encourages them to pursue the art form they find most appealing.   Some chose to sculpt and take photographs, others, dance.  Art Activism does more than help the students learn these mediums, but also promotes using these new tools as a way to express themselves, giving them a voice or an outlet with which to cope with problems, reports the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.  The Pittsburgh Public Schools' Summer Dreamers Academy offers free academic and arts instruction for k-8 students seeking to close the summer learning gap for children from economically disadvantaged families.

Go2College Gives Silver Spring Students the 411 (The Gazette, Maryland)

Middle school students in Silver Spring discovered this summer that it’s never too early to start thinking about college.  The new Go2College summer program introduced the students, many of whom would be the first in their families to go to college, to everything from college lingo and dorm rooms to questionnaires designed to help the students decide what careers would best suit them. Cynthia Rubenstein, executive director of Passion for Learning, one of the nonprofits supporting Go2College, told The Gazette that the program is intended to help the students understand what a college experience entails and what they can do to prepare for it, saying, “It’s become less abstract for them.”

Nourishing Kids' Stomachs and Minds in Treasure Valley Parks (Idaho Statesman, Idaho)

Lakeview Park is the place to be for kids in Nampa.  Through a combination of community efforts, the students get free lunch and entertainment to fill both summer nutrition and learning gaps.  After dining on nourishing lunches provided by Oasis Food Center, the Nampa Public Library’s Summer Literacy in the Park begins story time and other fun activities including science experiments and jump-rope.  The Idaho Statesman reports that the Summer Literacy in the Park has been so successful that it has expanded beyond Nampa, and now operates in 26 sites in Boise and Garden City. 

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learn more about: Nutrition Summer Learning Arts Literacy Community Partners
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