Archives:

Select:

Jacksonville Arts and Music School helps students become leaders and create without limits

READ FULL STORY

Jacksonville Arts and Music School helps students become leaders and create without limits

Photo courtesy of Jacksonville Arts and Music School.

By Nina Holtz, coordinator at Burness Communications.

Students at the Jacksonville Arts and Music School (JAMS), an afterschool program in Florida, expressed their appreciation for afterschool the best way they know how: music. 

The performance, produced for Lights On Afterschool, an annual event that celebrates afterschool programs nationwide, was created entirely by JAMS students. Niveah, a 9th grader, wrote the poem she sang in the video. The students alongside her created the beat that went with her lyrics. Ayviana, also in 9th grade, directed and edited the video with the help of a crew of students working on lighting and sound.

The video reflects the independence and creative freedom students experience at JAMS, and the incredible products that result. Jason Peoples, executive director of JAMS, emphasizes the importance of giving youth a platform to express themselves. 

“It's amazing what young people can do when given access and opportunity,” Peoples said. “We use arts, social and emotional learning, and leadership development as the conduit for developing creative thinkers, capable of solving those problems of tomorrow.” 

The afterschool program provides music, film, visual art and dance classes for students in elementary through high school. The 17,000-square-foot campus, which typically houses 100 students, has innovated to continue serving kids and families during COVID-19. Currently it  operates at a reduced capacity and has implemented safety measures and social distancing practices to help keep students engaged, safe and learning throughout the pandemic. 

JAMS students like Niveah value self-expression in art. “I use poetry as a way to take in everything that's going on around me. In writing, I can channel the emotions I’m feeling and physically put it onto a paper,” she said. “I was never a social kid, and I was also always in love with the arts. JAMS gave me a space to branch out and be with other kids.” 

During her almost five years at JAMS, Niveah has taken on several leadership roles. She is the student leader of House Micheaux, JAMS’ film department named after the African American filmmaker Oscar Micheaux. She also is a member of their Junior Leadership Student Council, which influences the decisions and changes made at the program. 

Ayviana is also a film student and serves on JAMS Junior Leadership Student Council. “We have a whole leadership program, which is rooted in JAMS staff wanting for us to not only blossom in our arts and academics, but as people as well,” she said. 

JAMS students attend a leadership development class every Friday. The program covers topics such as friendship, business etiquette, leadership qualities and any personal challenges students may be facing.

“Leadership class has really helped me as a person to improve myself,” Ayviana said. “I’ve cried in that class. I have. It's helped me to grow emotionally.” 

Niveah also shared how that class has helped her: “Vulnerability was never a problem with me, but leadership class just helped me to do it person-to-person because I was better at being vulnerable to a hundred different strangers than I was being more vulnerable with somebody I knew personally. So I had to work on my skill set within friendships.” 

Niveah says she channels that vulnerability into her art and writing, which is what helped her write the poem for the Lights On Afterschool video. 

Making the Lights On Afterschool video

The JAMS Lights On Afterschool video highlighted each student’s individual capabilities. Although Jason Peoples was in the room while the video was being filmed, he deferred to Ayviana’s judgement as she decided on shots and led her fellow students as the director. 

“I could take the assistant director role knowing that anything Ayviana does she is going to be great at,” Peoples said.  “She knows what she's talking about. She knows that the camera needs to go over here. She knows that the lighting needs to go over here. So I think that the most rewarding thing for me is to be able to say that I could really step out of the room, quite frankly, because of the talented students.” 

Peoples first approached Niveah with the idea for the video because of his trust in her writing skills. He asked if she would be interested in writing about how JAMS and afterschool programs have helped her. Niveah quickly accepted the challenge and began writing. 

As Niveah wrote, the students in the music department began composing and practicing the music to accompany her words. Ayvianah came on board as the director/producer, and assembled a team of students to assist with making the video using professional lighting, sound and video equipment. 

“Everything we do matters. So whether you're the director, the cameraman, the talent, or the lighting person, you are important to the process,” Niveah said. 

JAMS during COVID-19

Because of the pandemic, JAMS is operating at half capacity with just 50 students on its campus. They also offer a daytime service for working parents who need additional help.  Students whose schools are closed can come into JAMS during the day, while students with in-person schooling still arrive in the afternoon. 

On a typical day during COVID-19, students arrive at JAMS on a bus after school. They have their temperature checked, wash their hands and sign in. They then put their cell phones away, so they’re not distracted from their work. Younger students will spend an hour on homework with academic support, and then an hour in their chosen arts class. Older students are given more freedom to determine whether they need to focus on their arts projects or projects for school. 

“High school students get the choice as to whether they go to homework help or not. We try to treat them like college students with self-managed, peer-to-peer accountability,” Peoples said.

The staff at JAMS trusts in their students to do their best work and learn more every day. 

“[Mr. Peoples] is always pushing me. He’s always making me a better version of myself. It was emotional for me to write the poem in the video because I owe it to him and to every mentor I’ve ever had, specifically at JAMS, who pushed me to do what I do now,” Niveah said.

Meet Afterschool Youth Ambassador Aundre Smith

Aundre Smith is 15 years old and lives in Galveston, Texas. He has attended the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Houston his whole life and appreciates the opportunities and sense of community that he has found at the Club. Whether it was taking a break after school to play basketball with his...

BY: Erin Hegarty      02/05/21

Youth Voice Week: Join us in celebrating the power of youth voices!

Mark your calendars: starting Thursday, February 4 through Friday, February 12, the Afterschool Alliance will be shining a spotlight on our seven incredible Youth Ambassadors. During Youth Voice Week, each day will be dedicated to a different Youth Ambassador whose story we will be sharing on...

BY: Erin Hegarty      01/29/21

Community Learning Hubs: Coming together to support students during the pandemic

A guide to how Hubs work & examples in place  As schools began shutting their doors and moving to virtual classrooms last spring, afterschool programs and youth development organizations stepped up to help students and families with access to the internet, learning support, meals, and...

BY: Alexis Steines      01/28/21

Wrapping up: Afterschool in 2020

As 2020 comes to a close, I am hoping it is a year we will never have to repeat. At the same time, I reflect on this year with a tremendous amount of pride and gratitude for afterschool; I am blown away by the ability of our field, our allies, and our team to quickly pivot in the midst of a...

BY: Jodi Grant      12/28/20

Access to COVID-19 vaccines for out-of-school time program staff

Update: January 5, 2021: As an update to the request detailed in the blog below regarding out-of-school time workers being classified as “Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers” for the purposes of COVID-19 vaccination eligibility, a change was made by the CDC Advisory Committee...

BY: Erik Peterson      12/22/20

New resources to support Park and Recreation & OST professionals in the fight against substance use & mental health disorders

By Lauren Kiefert, NRPA program specialist. As parks and afterschool settings continue to play a larger and more substantial role in contributing to community health and well-being, the substance use and mental health epidemics are no exception. Combined with the negative impacts of COVID-19,...

BY: Guest Blogger      12/18/20

My afterschool experience: Before and during the pandemic

By Malika Ali, an 11th grader in New Jersey. BEEP. BEEP. BEEP. I wake up around 6:30 AM to the sound of my blaring alarm clock and hear birds chirping faintly in the background. I somehow manage to get out of bed and start getting ready for school. I wake up my siblings, brush my teeth, change...

BY: Guest Blogger      12/14/20

Building Healthy Habits: New initiatives from Alaska that are helping to keep kids and families safe

Ensuring that children, youth, and families are healthy is a priority now more than ever due to the pandemic. Before the pandemic, afterschool programs already played key roles in making sure that youth stay healthy, providing opportunities to be physically active, offering snacks and meals to...

BY: Marisa Paipongna      12/07/20

Youth stories: Raising student voices during difficult times

By Erin Hegarty and Riley Whitlock. Afterschool has long been a space for lifting up youth voices and providing young people with the confidence and tools they need to share their ideas and their stories. Our youth are among the most powerful voices we have to shape our future in a way that...

BY: Guest Blogger      12/04/20

Views from VISTAs: Updates from November 2020

AmeriCorps’ Volunteers In Service To America (VISTA) work to alleviate poverty by providing indirect service to their communities. Our afterschool VISTAs and the work they do are essential to the expansion of afterschool access for the children who need it most, especially in the fields...

BY: Marisa Paipongna      12/03/20

Community Learning Hubs: Coming together to support students during the pandemic

A guide to how Hubs work & examples in place  As schools began shutting their doors and moving to virtual classrooms last spring, afterschool programs and youth development organizations stepped up to help students and families with access to the internet, learning support, meals, and...

BY: Alexis Steines      01/28/21

Access to COVID-19 vaccines for out-of-school time program staff

Update: January 5, 2021: As an update to the request detailed in the blog below regarding out-of-school time workers being classified as “Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers” for the purposes of COVID-19 vaccination eligibility, a change was made by the CDC Advisory Committee...

BY: Erik Peterson      12/22/20

My afterschool experience: Before and during the pandemic

By Malika Ali, an 11th grader in New Jersey. BEEP. BEEP. BEEP. I wake up around 6:30 AM to the sound of my blaring alarm clock and hear birds chirping faintly in the background. I somehow manage to get out of bed and start getting ready for school. I wake up my siblings, brush my teeth, change...

BY: Guest Blogger      12/14/20

Building Healthy Habits: New initiatives from Alaska that are helping to keep kids and families safe

Ensuring that children, youth, and families are healthy is a priority now more than ever due to the pandemic. Before the pandemic, afterschool programs already played key roles in making sure that youth stay healthy, providing opportunities to be physically active, offering snacks and meals to...

BY: Marisa Paipongna      12/07/20

Mitigating ongoing stress of a pandemic: A toolkit for caregivers

By Bre Gentile, Ph.D.  and Molly Peterson, Msc. What do neighborhood scavenger hunts, family meals, talking about your feelings, and eight hours of sleep have in common? They are all ways that caregivers can help their families and young children lessen the impact of stress! Founded by...

BY: Guest Blogger      07/27/20

Program Spotlight: Youth from Sitar Arts Center talk about the impacts of COVID-19

“In this time, Sitar has helped me not lose focus on what my dreams could become.”           –– Cristofer, Age 16.    This blog is written by Eve White, Marketing and Communications...

BY: Guest Blogger      06/17/20

Afterschool supports learning and recover: May 21-28

We know afterschool and summer learning programs support learning and recovery—let's tell the rest of the world, too! From May 21 to 28, we will be highlighting the many ways providers have risen to the moment during the COVID-19 pandemic and their essential role to play supporting youth...

BY: Charlotte Steinecke      05/21/20

Afterschool and vaping prevention: Free online resources to help incorporate prevention into your programming

Image by Sarah J. from Pixabay As we navigate new terrain during this year's Mental Health Awareness Month, the COVID-19 pandemic is opening up new conversations about how we can safeguard and strengthen the mental well-being of children, young people, and families. Thoroughout May,...

BY: Erin Hegarty      05/19/20

Trump administration hosts call with nonprofit leaders amid pandemic

By Della Cronin, principal of the Bose Public Affairs Group. On Wednesday, over 150 nonprofit leaders, including Afterschool Alliance executive director Jodi Grant, joined a call hosted by the White House to hear from President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, and Surgeon General Jerome...

BY: Guest Blogger      03/25/20

Recap: Education stakeholder briefing from ED, CDC & USDA

The Department of Education held a stakeholder call on March 20 to update the field of education stakeholders on efforts surrounding the Coronavirus. The call came on the heels of a Department of Education announcement that flexibility within the Federal Education K-12 Law ESSA would be offered...

BY: Jillian Luchner      03/20/20

"Black girl be you"

By Alayah Dunlap, age 14 from Camden, N.J. When I reflect on my afterschool experiences I’m reminded that Writing Club gave me a space to speak freely about my oppressions and beliefs without being judged. By being in a space with other creative people who often times have different ideas...

BY: Guest Blogger      02/02/21

Youth Voice Week: Join us in celebrating the power of youth voices!

Mark your calendars: starting Thursday, February 4 through Friday, February 12, the Afterschool Alliance will be shining a spotlight on our seven incredible Youth Ambassadors. During Youth Voice Week, each day will be dedicated to a different Youth Ambassador whose story we will be sharing on...

BY: Erin Hegarty      01/29/21

"I believe that my afterschool program had a positive effect on who I am."

By Ariyanna Harris, age 14, from AVID in Tampa, Florida. Artwork by Reena John, 13, from Boys and Girls Club of Greater Washington in Bowie, Maryland. Afterschool is a place to go after school to get homework done with help when needed as well as an area to wait for a family member and also...

BY: Guest Blogger      01/25/21

Wrapping up: Afterschool in 2020

As 2020 comes to a close, I am hoping it is a year we will never have to repeat. At the same time, I reflect on this year with a tremendous amount of pride and gratitude for afterschool; I am blown away by the ability of our field, our allies, and our team to quickly pivot in the midst of a...

BY: Jodi Grant      12/28/20

My afterschool experience: Before and during the pandemic

By Malika Ali, an 11th grader in New Jersey. BEEP. BEEP. BEEP. I wake up around 6:30 AM to the sound of my blaring alarm clock and hear birds chirping faintly in the background. I somehow manage to get out of bed and start getting ready for school. I wake up my siblings, brush my teeth, change...

BY: Guest Blogger      12/14/20

Youth stories: Raising student voices during difficult times

By Erin Hegarty and Riley Whitlock. Afterschool has long been a space for lifting up youth voices and providing young people with the confidence and tools they need to share their ideas and their stories. Our youth are among the most powerful voices we have to shape our future in a way that...

BY: Guest Blogger      12/04/20

Youth voice and self-expression in afterschool: Journaling, poetry, and spoken word

Photo courtesy of The Gender Spectrum Collection. By Sam Piha, founder and principal of Temescal Associates and co-founder of the Learning in Afterschool & Summer (LIAS) project. This article was originally published on Learning In Afterschool & Summer’s blog and has been...

BY: Guest Blogger      11/23/20

Madison School & Community Recreation works with local school district to provide transportation, meals & virtual learning support

By Nina Holtz, coordinator at Burness Communications. Madison School & Community Recreation (MSCR) has a history of working closely with its local school district. In a normal school year, MSCR serves about 1,500 students in 15 afterschool programs located mostly in elementary schools....

BY: Guest Blogger      09/15/20

VOX 5: Reasons why 'Black-on-Black crime' is not a valid argument against the Black Lives Matter movement

By Zariah Taylor. Zariah, 15, attends Carver Early College and wrote this article as part of her work as a student at VOX ATL's afterschool program. This article was originally published on VOX ATL on July 24, 2020 and is republished the article with their permission. The...

BY: Guest Blogger      09/08/20

"Find your golden nugget": How the Boys & Girls Club of Central Iowa is adapting to COVID

By Katy Lenard, senior associate at Burness Communications. Since COVID-19 hit the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Iowa—which serves more than 2,300 participants annually, from kindergartners to seniors in high school, across seven sites in Des Moines—CEO Jodie Warth and her staff...

BY: Guest Blogger      08/25/20

Introducing the Wallace Foundation's new SEL podcast

Released just this week, the Wallace Foundation’s new project, “The Partnerships for Social and Emotional Learning Podcast,” features in-depth conversations with school, school district, and out-of-school time leaders about their experiences working together to help children...

BY: Charlotte Steinecke      02/25/21

Wrapping up: Afterschool in 2020

As 2020 comes to a close, I am hoping it is a year we will never have to repeat. At the same time, I reflect on this year with a tremendous amount of pride and gratitude for afterschool; I am blown away by the ability of our field, our allies, and our team to quickly pivot in the midst of a...

BY: Jodi Grant      12/28/20

New resources to support Park and Recreation & OST professionals in the fight against substance use & mental health disorders

By Lauren Kiefert, NRPA program specialist. As parks and afterschool settings continue to play a larger and more substantial role in contributing to community health and well-being, the substance use and mental health epidemics are no exception. Combined with the negative impacts of COVID-19,...

BY: Guest Blogger      12/18/20

New report offers lessons for school-afterschool partnerships around SEL

Last month, the RAND Corporation published the first report on the Wallace Foundation’s expansive Partnerships for Social and Emotional Learning Initiative (PSELI), “Early Lessons from Schools and Out-of-School Time Programs Implementing Social and Emotional Learning.” PSELI is a...

BY: Dan Gilbert      11/13/20

Madison School & Community Recreation works with local school district to provide transportation, meals & virtual learning support

By Nina Holtz, coordinator at Burness Communications. Madison School & Community Recreation (MSCR) has a history of working closely with its local school district. In a normal school year, MSCR serves about 1,500 students in 15 afterschool programs located mostly in elementary schools....

BY: Guest Blogger      09/15/20

New toolkit helps OST educators make the case to leverage OST assets in school district reopening plans

By the Michigan After-School Partnership. This blog post was originally published on the MASP's blog and has been reposted with permission. MASP’s new toolkit is filled with advice, sample letters, online resources and talking points for addressing school district decision-makers about...

BY: Guest Blogger      08/21/20

Dear Beautiful Black Boy, Dear World

Photo taken by Seneca Wells, Life Pieces To Masterpieces By Life Pieces To Masterpieces. Life Pieces To Masterpieces uses artistic expression to develop character and leadership, unlock potential, and prepare African American boys and young men to transform their lives and communities....

BY: Guest Blogger      08/14/20

50+ national groups sign letter urging schools to look to afterschool and community partners in reopening process

This week more than 50 national groups signed a letter to the field urging meaningful inclusion of afterschool and community partners in planning and implementing the 2020-2021 school year for students, families and communities. The signatories, who represent a broad range of community partners,...

BY: Jillian Luchner      08/03/20

Afterschool Alliance releases blueprint for how afterschool programs & community partners can assist as schools reopen

From the White House to governors' mansions, there is currently a lot of discussion occurring about how and when schools should reopen for the 2020-2021 school year. That conversation ultimately will need to happen in the local communities of about 13,500 school districts nationwide, and each...

BY: Jodi Grant      07/14/20

$1.35M for middle school out-of-school time programs

We’re thrilled to announce the winners of the New York Life Foundation’s 2020 Aim High grant competition, representing a $1,350,000 investment in middle school out-of-school time (OST) programs serving disadvantaged youth in communities across the nation. The Aim High initiative is part...

BY: Dan Gilbert      06/30/20

New resources to support Park and Recreation & OST professionals in the fight against substance use & mental health disorders

By Lauren Kiefert, NRPA program specialist. As parks and afterschool settings continue to play a larger and more substantial role in contributing to community health and well-being, the substance use and mental health epidemics are no exception. Combined with the negative impacts of COVID-19,...

BY: Guest Blogger      12/18/20

Mitigating ongoing stress of a pandemic: A toolkit for caregivers

By Bre Gentile, Ph.D.  and Molly Peterson, Msc. What do neighborhood scavenger hunts, family meals, talking about your feelings, and eight hours of sleep have in common? They are all ways that caregivers can help their families and young children lessen the impact of stress! Founded by...

BY: Guest Blogger      07/27/20

$1.35M for middle school out-of-school time programs

We’re thrilled to announce the winners of the New York Life Foundation’s 2020 Aim High grant competition, representing a $1,350,000 investment in middle school out-of-school time (OST) programs serving disadvantaged youth in communities across the nation. The Aim High initiative is part...

BY: Dan Gilbert      06/30/20

Tools to Build On: Resources and guides for parents and educators

In 2017, the Afterschool Alliance created a suite of webinars, strategy guides, and resource lists to understand and address hate and bias. This campaign, “Tools to Build On: Creating constructive climates in out-of-school time,” is a hub of information and assets to help parents and...

BY: Charlotte Steinecke      06/03/20

Our work is more critical than ever. Time to raise our voices even louder.

These are enormously difficult times, and every child and every family has been affected by the health and justice crises our country is facing. All of us in this field have dedicated ourselves to promoting equity by improving access to high-quality afterschool and summer programs. We have long...

BY: Jodi Grant      06/02/20

5 ways that afterschool buffers toxic stress

By Erin Hegarty and Lena Hoffman.  As we navigate new terrain during this year's Mental Health Awareness Month, the COVID-19 pandemic is opening up new conversations about how we can safeguard and strengthen the mental well-being of children, young people, and families. Thoroughout...

BY: Erin Hegarty      05/29/20

Afterschool and vaping prevention: Free online resources to help incorporate prevention into your programming

Image by Sarah J. from Pixabay As we navigate new terrain during this year's Mental Health Awareness Month, the COVID-19 pandemic is opening up new conversations about how we can safeguard and strengthen the mental well-being of children, young people, and families. Thoroughout May,...

BY: Erin Hegarty      05/19/20

How to build empathy through virtual learning: Bite-size Empatico Skills

We begin Mental Health Awareness Month under unprecedented conditions. As we navigate this new terrain, the COVID-19 pandemic is opening up new conversations about how we can safeguard and strengthen the mental well-being of children, young people, and families. Thoroughout May, we'll be...

BY: Erin Hegarty      05/04/20

Breaking the cycle of substance use at Camp Mariposa

By Rose Frey, winter intern for 2019-2020 at the Afterschool Alliance. Photo courtesy of Camp Mariposa's website. There are more than 9 million children in the U.S. that are living in a home with a parent who uses illicit drugs, and these children are at high-risk for a host of issues....

BY: Guest Blogger      03/06/20

Becoming Trauma-Informed: How YMCAs in New Jersey area transformed their approach

By Gina Hernandez, MA, YMCA of Metuchen, Edison, Woodbridge and South Amboy (MEWSA). It is 4:45 p.m. in a Middlesex County, NJ afterschool program. Two children are arguing over a glue stick. “I want that!” exclaimed 6-year old Jenny as she stomped over to a staff...

BY: Guest Blogger      11/08/19

Meet Afterschool Youth Ambassador Angeles Mejia-Sierra

Angie Mejia-Sierra is 15 years old and from Oakland Park, FL. Angie sees her afterschool program as a safe place filled with people that care. During her time in her program, Angie has participated in a variety of activities including acting, social-emotional learning, and slam poetry - Angie...

BY: Leah Silverberg      02/12/21

Meet Afterschool Youth Ambassador Quinn Stanford

Quinn Stanford is 13 years old and lives in Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania. He has participated in his afterschool program, Summit Early Learning, for the past 8 years and through this program, has had access to high-quality social and emotional learning opportunities and STEM education. Quinn had the...

BY: Erin Hegarty      02/11/21

Meet Afterschool Youth Ambassador Minche Kim

Minche Kim is 16 years old and lives in River Vale, New Jersey. For her afterschool program, Minche participates in her high school's FIRST Robotics team, the Pascack Pi-oneers. For Minche, the Pi-oneers is a safe space where she gets to meet new friends and work with them to solve problems....

BY: Leah Silverberg      02/10/21

Meet Afterschool Youth Ambassador Debbie Adekunle

Deborah Adekunle is 16 years old and lives in Providence, Rhode Island. Now a senior, Debbie has participated in two afterschool programs--PVD Young Makers and Youth in Action--throughout her high school experience. PVD Young Makers is a library-based makerspace that connects youth with the skills...

BY: Erin Hegarty      02/09/21

Meet Afterschool Youth Ambassador Anayre Martinez

Anayre Martinez is 16 years old and lives in Miami, Florida. As a former ESOL student, Anayre says that her afterschool speech and debate program has helped her articulate her thoughts, form arguments, and communicate complex ideas. Participating in speech and debate has shown Anayre that her...

BY: Leah Silverberg      02/08/21

Meet Afterschool Youth Ambassador Aundre Smith

Aundre Smith is 15 years old and lives in Galveston, Texas. He has attended the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Houston his whole life and appreciates the opportunities and sense of community that he has found at the Club. Whether it was taking a break after school to play basketball with his...

BY: Erin Hegarty      02/05/21

Meet Afterschool Youth Ambassador Javonna Grimes

Javonna Grimes is 19 years old and lives in Minneapolis, MN. Throughout high school, Javonna participated in the Minneapolis Beacons (Beacons) afterschool program. At Beacons, Javonna received homework assistance and participated in the Black Student Union – a student-run group. Even after...

BY: Leah Silverberg      02/04/21

Second round of competition open now: Submit your stories to be considered as an Afterschool Alliance Youth Ambassador

Last month, we hosted a nationwide call for youth stories and young people from around the country answered—we were so excited by the response that we received that we’ve decided to open a second round of our competition: youth aged 13 and older are again invited to submit their...

BY: Erin Hegarty      08/10/20

Young people are speaking up for what they believe in. Let’s amplify their voices!

Youth voices are more important than ever. That is why, this year, we want to amplify the voices of young people as part of our coverage of this moment in afterschool—and as part of our Youth Ambassador selection process.  We are asking youth (13 years or older) to submit a short...

BY: Erin Hegarty      06/19/20

"At first I just joined afterschool clubs to pass time... not knowing that they would open so many doors for me."

By Noof Hezam, 2020 Youth Afterschool Ambassador from Michigan. My name is Noof Hezam and I will be sharing with you my journey in afterschool activities and how they have transformed my life. Growing up I was always interested in afterschool clubs and programs, so it was no surprise that I...

BY: Guest Blogger      02/25/20

Introducing the Wallace Foundation's new SEL podcast

Released just this week, the Wallace Foundation’s new project, “The Partnerships for Social and Emotional Learning Podcast,” features in-depth conversations with school, school district, and out-of-school time leaders about their experiences working together to help children...

BY: Charlotte Steinecke      02/25/21

New resources to support Park and Recreation & OST professionals in the fight against substance use & mental health disorders

By Lauren Kiefert, NRPA program specialist. As parks and afterschool settings continue to play a larger and more substantial role in contributing to community health and well-being, the substance use and mental health epidemics are no exception. Combined with the negative impacts of COVID-19,...

BY: Guest Blogger      12/18/20

New report offers lessons for school-afterschool partnerships around SEL

Last month, the RAND Corporation published the first report on the Wallace Foundation’s expansive Partnerships for Social and Emotional Learning Initiative (PSELI), “Early Lessons from Schools and Out-of-School Time Programs Implementing Social and Emotional Learning.” PSELI is a...

BY: Dan Gilbert      11/13/20

Meeting the needs of the whole child in the era of COVID-19

It is no secret that the persistence of the COVID-19 pandemic has wrought havoc upon the country’s education system. Schools and districts around the country have rushed to cobble together distance learning strategies while community partners have scrambled to find ways to meet the...

BY: Dan Gilbert      09/11/20

Mitigating ongoing stress of a pandemic: A toolkit for caregivers

By Bre Gentile, Ph.D.  and Molly Peterson, Msc. What do neighborhood scavenger hunts, family meals, talking about your feelings, and eight hours of sleep have in common? They are all ways that caregivers can help their families and young children lessen the impact of stress! Founded by...

BY: Guest Blogger      07/27/20

$1.35M for middle school out-of-school time programs

We’re thrilled to announce the winners of the New York Life Foundation’s 2020 Aim High grant competition, representing a $1,350,000 investment in middle school out-of-school time (OST) programs serving disadvantaged youth in communities across the nation. The Aim High initiative is part...

BY: Dan Gilbert      06/30/20

5 ways that afterschool buffers toxic stress

By Erin Hegarty and Lena Hoffman.  As we navigate new terrain during this year's Mental Health Awareness Month, the COVID-19 pandemic is opening up new conversations about how we can safeguard and strengthen the mental well-being of children, young people, and families. Thoroughout...

BY: Erin Hegarty      05/29/20

How to build empathy through virtual learning: Bite-size Empatico Skills

We begin Mental Health Awareness Month under unprecedented conditions. As we navigate this new terrain, the COVID-19 pandemic is opening up new conversations about how we can safeguard and strengthen the mental well-being of children, young people, and families. Thoroughout May, we'll be...

BY: Erin Hegarty      05/04/20

How Horton's Kids is serving kids in their community during COVID-19

Transitioning to Virtual Learning During COVID-19 Horton’s Kids is a 21st Century Community Learning Center program serving K-12 students from the Wellington Park community in Southeast Washington, DC. When schools closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Horton’s Kids quickly...

BY: Chandler Hall      04/27/20

Lessons learned & opportunities to grow after A Nation At Hope's first year

On January 29, America’s Promise Alliance held a Whole Child Movement Convening: A Year After a Nation at Hope. A day of panels and conversations followed, all focusing on critical questions building on the work of the initial report: what do we know, where have we come, and what’s...

BY: Jillian Luchner      03/03/20