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Congratulations to Columbus State Community College's ESL Afterschool Communities!

By Nikki Yamashiro

We are proud to announce that this year’s Dollar General Afterschool Literacy Award winner is Columbus State Community College’s ESL Afterschool Communities (ESLAsC)! Thanks to the generous support of the Dollar General Literacy Foundation, the Ohio program is the recipient of the $10,000 award and is featured in a Dollar General afterschool literacy issue brief, Afterschool Providing Key Literacy Supports to English Language Learner Students.

About the winner

With a student population comprised of 100 percent English language learners, 99 percent of whom live in low-income families, the program stood out from more than a hundred nominations for its wraparound approach to supporting both students and families. In addition to individualized instruction and a diverse set of literacy activities for their students, ESLAsC performs home visits, provides social service referrals, and offers translation services to the families in their program.

Originally the idea for ESLAsC came from parents and community members who attend the community college’s basic English classes and expressed a need for similar programming for their children. Since 2002, the program has grown to serve four schools and one community center. It remains a central part of the communities it serves, performing a six- to nine-month community needs assessment before opening their doors and gaining the support and buy-in of school-day staff, community-based organizations, parents, and community members at the outset.

Learn more about ESLAsC, including what a typical day looks like for students in the program, and read about some key program characteristics in our Afterschool Spotlight.

Accepting the award

Florence Plagenz, supervisor of ESLAsC, accepted the award on behalf of the program at yesterday’s Capitol Hill event during the Afterschool Alliance’s annual Afterschool for All Challenge. Amal Abdi, an alumna of the program who just finished her first year of college at Harvard, was also in attendance.

The inspirational event could not have come at a better time: it is more important than ever to recognize and celebrate on one of numerous quality afterschool programs making a powerful positive impact on the lives of children, families, and communities. The president’s full budget proposal for 2018 recommends eliminating the 21st Century Community Learning Centers initiative, which supports afterschool programs in all 50 states, including ESLAsC.

Show your support for afterschool programs like ESLAsC by joining us today in our national call-in day of action