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JUN
12
2017

CHALLENGE
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Facts and figures from the 16th annual Afterschool for All Challenge

By Erik Peterson

Thank you to the thousands of friends of afterschool for the hard work this week in Washington and nationwide to send a clear message Congress that afterschool works!

More than 200 attendees were in Washington DC this week for the 16th annual Afterschool for All Challenge. Advocates from 45 states participated in 200 meetings with members of Congress and their staff on Capitol Hill on June 7. While the congressional visits were happening, a team of afterschool STEM advocates met with officials from the Office of Management and the Budget (OMB), the Department of Education, and the National Science Foundation (NSF). Outside of Washington, D.C. friends of afterschool made hundreds of phone calls and sent thousands of emails to congressional offices. In one day, there were 3,700 meetings, calls and emails in support of federal afterschool funding.

We are still getting feedback from the meetings and calls, but so far three members of Congress have signed up as new Afterschool Caucus members (one Republican and two Democrats) and 12 members signed on as new co-sponsors of H.R. 2353 The Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (11 Republicans and one Democrat). The feedback on 21st CCLC support has also been overwhelmingly positive!

On June 6, an inspiring Afterschool Showcase celebrated the power of afterschool with youth and staff from amazing afterschool programs from around the country. Sens. Patty Murray (D-WA), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Reps. Bobby Scott (D-VA) and Nita Lowey (D-NY) made brief speeches and the American Federation of Teacher’s president Randi Weingarten made a passionate appeal for afterschool.

Some of the most memorable moments came from the amazing youth and parents who described how afterschool works to support their success and help their families thrive. A number of incredible afterschool programs from around the country attended, demonstrating their STEM activities, music production, creative arts and dance, and many other afterschool highlights. Programs included:

  • ACE Academy from Takoma Park, Md. A culture-rich teaching and creative arts after school program for first through fifth grade students, ACE Academy addresses the needs of a growing population of African and immigrant families by focusing on writing, reading fluency, comprehension, and English language learning.
  • After-School All-Stars DC from Washington, D.C. The program provides low-income, at-risk youth a safe and healthy environment, inspiring them to be All-Stars both in school and life.  
  • Alternatives, Inc. from Hampton, Va. Dedicated to inspiring young people to realize their inherent potential as valued members of the community, Alternatives focuses on increasing creativity, civic leadership, and youth empowerment through enrichment activities, training opportunities, and service-learning.
  • Caroline County Recreation & Parks from Denton, Md. Students participate in academic enrichment, homework support, and recreation, and benefit from partnerships with Maryland 4-H, the YMCA of the Chesapeake, Caroline County Council of Arts, the Caroline County Health Department, and the Caroline County Public Library.
  • Columbus State Community College’s ESL Afterschool Communities (ESLAsC) from Columbus, Ohio By creating a safe, caring, respectful environment where children are able to develop academic, social, and personal skills that will last a lifetime, the program provides a bridge between school and home for the families of refugee and immigrant children.
  • On the Road Collaborative from Harrisonburg, Va. This non-profit youth empowerment organization sets underserved middle school youth on the road to college and careers by connecting them to dynamic educational experiences and caring adult mentors during the out-of-school hours.
  • ourBRIDGE for KIDS from Charlotte, N.C. The program supports the refugee and immigrant communities in the Charlotte area by offering a one-of-a-kind enrichment program for newly arrived and first generation American children and advocating for the success, happiness, and fair treatment of their families as they acculturate to the United States.
  • Raider’s ARK (Academics Reinforcing Knowledge) Afterschool Program from Arcadia, Wis. While working to involve students, parents, and the broader community in the enhancement and acceleration of daytime learning in an afterschool setting, this program also connects students, parents, and the community with the principles of lifelong learning.
  • Techbridge Girls, Inc. from Washington, D.C. Beyond delivering girl-centered STEM after-school programs to seven local schools, Techbridge DC serves as a collaborator and alliance-builder with other STEM education supporters and a catalyst for broad initiatives that diversify the nation’s STEM workforce.
  • Communities In Schools of Pennsylvania This program’s mission is to surround students with a community of support, empowering them to stay in school and achieve in life by establishing relationships with local businesses, social service agencies, health care providers, and parent and volunteer organizations to provide needed resources. 

The event closed with Sen. Murkowski inviting all of the children at the event to join her on stage where she thanked them and all the gathered advocates for their passion

The action is not over! We invite you to participate in a tele-town hall on June 12 at 7 p.m. ET, focusing on the implications of the president’s FY18 budget for health and education. Hosted by the American Federation of Teachers in partnership with the Coalition for Community Schools and the Afterschool Alliance, national partners and local leaders will share the great results of investments in child development programs and what we stand to lose. 

To participate, please RSVP through this link. You will receive a call, close to 7 p.m. ET on June 12 to connect you to the tele-town hall.

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learn more about: Afterschool for All Challenge Congress