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Keys to program success from afterschool professionals

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Keys to program success from afterschool professionals

This Afterschool Professionals Appreciation Week, we’re celebrating you: the educators who dedicate your careers to teaching and supporting youth during the out-of-school hours. To highlight the expertise of a few leading professionals in our field, and foster widespread sharing of best practices, we asked four afterschool leaders from across the country to share their keys to success and sustainability.

Have your own pro-tip to share? We want to hear it!

Find ways to serve many needs at once.

“I teach sophisticated language, because it’s a key part of the success we’re having and a reason the engagement we have is so broad-based: people want to be empowered by words. You have to pull kids up—our program is based on research that low-income children have a 30-million-word deficit in oral communication by the time they’re four years old. And when we combine that with gardening, we’re connecting to so many family histories and cultural heritages, and at the same time we’re teaching biology, botany, chemistry, vocabulary, and community service.

“By connecting our work that way, by empowering kids with this rich oral vocabulary, we’re increasing literacy significantly. For a school like mine, which is underachieving, that gets you some buy-in!

“Parents say ‘Oh, wow! They’re doing better in reading and math! I’m going to encourage my kids to go to your summer program and afterschool program.’ But if we were to distance ourselves completely from the academics, they would say, ‘We need you to help meet the school needs, not just babysit the kids after school!’ So we need to give them the academic boost they need.

“Be independent of the curriculum, but honor the need for the literacy and math, and tie it into what the kids love. Give kids choice about how they use their time, in physical activity or gardening or service as teachers to younger kids.”  

– MaryAnn Bash, director of Each One Teach One: No More Gap in Colorado

Relationships—internal and external—build your community.

“When I first started my career in afterschool, I was the youth director at a community center that served new American families. The community center really had nothing—lots of families were moving into the community and had no connections. There was a lot of gang activity and drug-dealing, even in North Dakota! Kids were running around with no place to go, since the parents were working, and many times the only time they’d get a meal or a snack is when they came to the program.

“I learned from that experience how important it is to make connections. At first there was no trust. The parents couldn’t trust anyone because of the things that were going on in the neighborhood. It took a lot of relationship-building with those parents, with people in the community, to begin to build that trust—just to get kids to be able to come to the program and love the program! But before long, the parents were coming to the program and volunteering for the program.

“I’m a pretty outgoing person, to start! But I worked very closely with a colleague to grow my relationships in the community. The family coordinator was in charge of coordinating family events, so I was involved in her parent and adult activities and she was involved in the youth activities. We intermixed a lot, so whenever she met somebody new, I was introduced to that person, and vice versa. We did a lot of activities together and expanding our networks with each other’s help. We had so much success because we worked so well together as a team.”

– Becky Mueller, afterschool network coordinator for South East Education Cooperative in North Dakota

Parents are your partners.

We have a family night and we provide food through in-kind money that we have from the district. At every family night, whole families come and we have food and some kind of activity, like STEM night, literacy night, or a performance night if the students have been doing a workshop. And then we wrap up the night with a raffle with things that we get donated. We try to remove any barriers to them coming; they can bring their young children, we have the food, we try to have activities that the whole family can do. That has been successful for us—there are 75 students in the program and we usually have between 70 and 100 people.

“Communication is very important. Promoting events as early and for as long as possible is the best way to make sure people know about what you’re doing. And it really helps when students are involved in planning the activity. Every fall we have a carnival, but the kids actually make the little activities. It’s got a loose STEM theme, and they’re making the little games, like whack-a-mole and different types of games. The kids get really excited about it, so if the kids are excited about it, they’re more likely to talk their families into coming.

“We also survey the parents to ask them what types of things they’re interested in. I think it helps that the parents know we provide services that are different from the school’s services, so sometimes they’re more likely to come to us for help. They’re more comfortable working with us because of all the positive resources we provide. That helps us too, because if we have that relationship with the parent, if we do have a behavioral issue or something with their child, it’s a lot easier to approach the parent.”

– Joanne Flynn, director of Phillipsburg REACH in New Jersey

Engage with the field and involve your alumni.

“When I was first hired, I was encouraged by parents to go out and make this job my profession. I sent out materials and went on expeditions to see what was out there.”

Over time, active engagement in afterschool as a profession meant that Denise Sellers joined more professional groups on her own and found ways to participate in her community in many different capacities.

“Our responsibility to our kids doesn’t—and shouldn’t—end when they age out of the program.”

Having older kids participate in other ways after they’ve aged out of the program contributes insights from children who have been in the program and offers a chance for younger children to develop supportive and powerful relationships with their older peers. There are also opportunities for college- and post-college-age alumni to join the program as staff, trustees, and parents of their own enrolled kids, contributing that valuable perspective from all angles.

– Denise Sellers, executive director of Haddonfield Child Care in New Jersey

Recap: Annual Out-of-School Time Advisory Coalition meeting

This year’s Afterschool for All Challenge not only gathered passionate afterschool advocates together, but also included a meeting of advocates who support healthy eating and physical activity in the afterschool space. Through funding from Voices for Healthy Kids, a joint...

BY: Marisa Paipongna      06/28/19

For effective SEL, staff need to learn new skills, too.

By Heather E. Daly, Ph.D., director of Courageous Hearts, an organization committed to educating afterschool staff with drug education and prevention content; and Normandie Nigh, chief executive officer of A World Fit for Kids, whose mission is to prepare young people for fit and...

BY: Guest Blogger      05/31/19

Connecting the dots: Mental health and SEL in afterschool

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and we’re highlighting the ways afterschool programs support children and young people as they face challenges including trauma, ACEs, substance use, and beyond. Read the full series here. As Mental Health Awareness Month draws to a close, we here...

BY: Dan Gilbert      05/30/19

Strengthening our youth to face the teen vaping crisis

By Heather E. Daly, Ph.D., director of Courageous Hearts, an organization committed to educating after school staff with drug education and prevention content; and Normandie Nigh, chief executive officer of A World Fit for Kids, whose mission is to prepare young people for fit and fulfilling...

BY: Guest Blogger      05/16/19

It's SAMHSA Prevention Week

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and we’re highlighting the ways afterschool programs support children and young people as they face challenges including trauma, ACEs, substance use, and beyond. Read the full series here Every year in the third week of May, the Substance Abuse...

BY: Charlotte Steinecke      05/13/19

There’s no health without mental health. Physical activity can help.

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and we’re highlighting the ways afterschool programs support children and young people as they face challenges including trauma, ACEs, substance use, and beyond. Read the full series here. Per the World Health Organization’s summary report,...

BY: Charlotte Steinecke      05/09/19

Guest blog: Self-care ideas: Give 1/Get 8

By Daniel W. Hatcher, MPH, director of Community Partnerships at Alliance for a Healthier Generation. This blog post was originally published on March 21, 2019 on the BOOST Breakfast Club blog. May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and we’re highlighting the ways afterschool...

BY: Guest Blogger      05/07/19

Afterschool and ACEs: How Alaska promotes a trauma-engaged response

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and we’re highlighting the ways afterschool programs support children and young people as they face challenges including trauma, ACEs, substance use, and beyond. Read the full series here. This is the second of a two-part series on preventing and...

BY: Erin Hegarty      05/03/19

In Alaska, prevention programming for marijuana use is a new priority

This is the first of a two-part series on preventing and responding to substance use and trauma in Alaska. The next part of the Afterschool Alliance’s conversation with Thomas Azzarella will be published in two weeks. Alaska is not like other states. For starters, it has its own time zone....

BY: Charlotte Steinecke      04/19/19

Promising practices: Coaching Corps’ strategy physical & social-emotional health

This blog post was adapted from a program spotlight in the Afterschool Alliance issue brief, “A Big-Picture Approach to Wellness: Afterschool Supporting Strong Bodies and Minds.” Established in the late 1990s as Team-Up for Youth, Coaching Corps works to ensure that children in...

BY: Charlotte Steinecke      04/01/19

Highlights from Utah's Capitol Hill Day and first-ever State of Afterschool report

By Kelly Riding, executive director of the Utah Afterschool Network. This past January, afterschool programs staff and students joined the Utah Afterschool Network for our second Annual Afterschool Day on Capitol Hill in Salt Lake City to speak with legislators and advocate for afterschool. Many...

BY: Guest Blogger      07/12/19

A history of afterschool

Established fields have documented their history, and now thanks to Sam Piha, Temescal Associates, and the How Kids Learn Foundation, afterschool has its own historical documentary. I have been familiar with afterschool for more than 30 years and I still learned a LOT watching the one-hour...

BY: Jodi Grant      07/02/19

Sowing the seeds of afterschool programming in “afterschool deserts” in Illinois

By Susan Stanton, network lead, Afterschool for Children and Teens Now (ACT Now). Afterschool programs across our nation are doing incredible work and cover a wide array of services and outcomes. Yet the diversity in programming offerings can also make it difficult for program providers to...

BY: Guest Blogger      06/24/19

Guest blog: Self-care ideas: Give 1/Get 8

By Daniel W. Hatcher, MPH, director of Community Partnerships at Alliance for a Healthier Generation. This blog post was originally published on March 21, 2019 on the BOOST Breakfast Club blog. May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and we’re highlighting the ways afterschool...

BY: Guest Blogger      05/07/19

This Afterschool Professionals Appreciation Week, let’s celebrate helping students find their voice

Justin (center) and students at Loyola University in New Orleans By Justin Pinn, director, Strategic Initiatives, Teach for America Miami-Dade. In honor of Afterschool Professionals Appreciation Week, the Afterschool Snack will feature stories from our Afterschool Ambassadors and other...

BY: Guest Blogger      04/25/19

Beacon House, Comcast help students thrive in Northeast D.C.

By Kareem Harris, student at Friendship Collegiate Academy and Beacon House. Comcast recently hosted a celebration of Internet Essentials at Beacon House in Northeast D.C. Internet Essentials is the nation’s largest and most comprehensive high-speed Internet adoption program, offering...

BY: Guest Blogger      11/30/18

Youth voice: The power of STEM learning opportunities

By Archika Dogra. Archika, 16, is a high school junior at the Interlake High School in Bellevue, Washington who co-founded the EduSTEM Initiative, along with Evelyn Chen and Maya Srikanth, two juniors at Newport High School. Archika is also president of her school’s Technology Student...

BY: Guest Blogger      11/12/18

Guest blog: You are never too young to have a voice

By Kyra-Lee Harry, 4-H Collegiate Leader/National 4-H Youth Action Citizenship Pillar Winner. Growing up, I was always that student who volunteered to present, answer questions, or do something that involved interacting with my peers and using my voice. Even at a young age, I knew that I had a...

BY: Guest Blogger      09/24/18

Guest blog: Afterschool makes "cents" for Georgia

By Jessica Woltjen, policy & outreach manager at the Georgia Statewide Afterschool Network.  When the clock strikes 3 p.m., thousands of Georgia’s youth head off to explore their interests, develop new skills, and build upon school day learning at afterschool and youth development...

BY: Guest Blogger      09/18/18

Guest blog: Branding tips your afterschool program needs to achieve success this school year

By Susan Le, Senior Marketing Manager at Peachjar, who strives to help after school programs elevate their marketing strategy so they can reach families more effectively and continue to make a meaningful impact in the lives of children. In addition to developing your program curriculum,...

BY: Guest Blogger      09/17/18

Building a trauma informed care approach for afterschool programs & community-based organizations

By Jennifer Smith, afterschool program manager at the Center for Community Health Advancement, Marshfield Clinic Health System. Recently, schools, afterschool programs, and community-based organizations have shared the increasing numbers of disruptive and challenging youth in their programs....

BY: Guest Blogger      03/22/19

Afterschool takes a deeper dive into civic education

With the past few years have been full of inspiring displays of civic education and action from our nation’s youth, a brighter spotlight has been shone on the role that afterschool programs can play in supporting the youth who are inspired to take action in their own...

BY: Faith Savaiano      03/05/19

Guest blog: Fresh Air Fund offers city kids new experiences, connections every summer

By Alexis De La Rosa, an alum of The Fresh Air Fund in New York City. Alexis is a senior at Middlebury College in Vermont, and in Fall 2018, he studied abroad at Oxford. Alexis spent his summers with a Fresh Air Fund volunteer host family in Connecticut from the age of 7. Diversity, challenges,...

BY: Guest Blogger      01/29/19

Afterschool Heals Tennessee: A Q&A on the opioid crisis

To help shatter the myths during National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week, we bring you a story of how an afterschool state network is leveraging afterschool programs to support children, youth, families, and communities facing the opioid and substance use epidemic. In this Q&A with the...

BY: Charlotte Steinecke      01/25/19

The Body Project: Q&A on a body positivity afterschool program

The Body Project is a group-based intervention program facilitated through NEDA (National Eating Disorder Association) that provides young girls the forum to push back against the body ideal and engage in the development of healthy body images. This body acceptance education curriculum has proven...

BY: Erin Hegarty      11/20/18

Using visual learning & history to strengthen reading skills

Identity in Montgomery County, Maryland, is no stranger to afterschool and summer learning. The organization acts as a safe and enriching community for Latino children and their families to receive all the tools they need to be successful in school and in life. This summer, Identity programs are...

BY: Dayna Hood      08/21/18

New federal opportunities to advance two-generation approaches

In a new SolutionSERIES brief, “New Federal Opportunities to Advance Two-Generation Approaches to Improving the Lives of Children and Parents,” Ascend at the Aspen Institute explores new funding and policy developments that can strengthen two-generation (2Gen) system...

BY: Nikki Yamashiro      07/23/18

Kansas programs show strength of law enforcement and afterschool partnerships

This is a two-part blog series outlining Kansas’ commitment to establishing partnerships between law enforcement and afterschool programs. The previous post focused on the afterschool network and this post delves into specific programs. Rachel Willis, who I interviewed for...

BY: Arielle Kahn      06/19/18

Guest blog: 4 key elements to fostering mental health & wellbeing

By Sheila Savannah, director of mental health and wellbeing at Prevention Institute. Originally featured in a May 3 email, this blog was reposted with permission from the Prevention Institute.   May is Mental Health Month—an opportunity to take a fresh look at...

BY: Guest Blogger      05/15/18

The need to enhance kids' access to water in and out of school

By Amelie G. Ramirez, DrPH, Director, Salud America! at UT Health San Antonio. Did you know that 1 in 4 kids drink no water in a day? Latino kids drink less water than their white peers. They also are more likely to perceive tap water as unsafe, and drink more sugary drinks, our research...

BY: Guest Blogger      03/30/18

For effective SEL, staff need to learn new skills, too.

By Heather E. Daly, Ph.D., director of Courageous Hearts, an organization committed to educating afterschool staff with drug education and prevention content; and Normandie Nigh, chief executive officer of A World Fit for Kids, whose mission is to prepare young people for fit and...

BY: Guest Blogger      05/31/19

Connecting the dots: Mental health and SEL in afterschool

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and we’re highlighting the ways afterschool programs support children and young people as they face challenges including trauma, ACEs, substance use, and beyond. Read the full series here. As Mental Health Awareness Month draws to a close, we here...

BY: Dan Gilbert      05/30/19

Help youth build empathy & earn an Amazon gift card

Looking for ways to engage your students with peers from different backgrounds to build social emotional skills? Look no further. Empatico connects groups of students ages 6-11 with peers domestically and around the world. Through a combination of live video and activities, youth have the...

BY: Alex Crooks      05/24/19

A deeper approach to drug use prevention

By Heather E. Daly, Ph.D., director of Courageous Hearts, an organization committed to educating after school staff with drug education and prevention content; and Normandie Nigh, chief executive officer of A World Fit for Kids, whose mission is to prepare young people for fit and...

BY: Guest Blogger      05/21/19

There’s no health without mental health. Physical activity can help.

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and we’re highlighting the ways afterschool programs support children and young people as they face challenges including trauma, ACEs, substance use, and beyond. Read the full series here. Per the World Health Organization’s summary report,...

BY: Charlotte Steinecke      05/09/19

Afterschool and ACEs: How Alaska promotes a trauma-engaged response

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and we’re highlighting the ways afterschool programs support children and young people as they face challenges including trauma, ACEs, substance use, and beyond. Read the full series here. This is the second of a two-part series on preventing and...

BY: Erin Hegarty      05/03/19

In Alaska, prevention programming for marijuana use is a new priority

This is the first of a two-part series on preventing and responding to substance use and trauma in Alaska. The next part of the Afterschool Alliance’s conversation with Thomas Azzarella will be published in two weeks. Alaska is not like other states. For starters, it has its own time zone....

BY: Charlotte Steinecke      04/19/19

Promising practices: Coaching Corps’ strategy physical & social-emotional health

This blog post was adapted from a program spotlight in the Afterschool Alliance issue brief, “A Big-Picture Approach to Wellness: Afterschool Supporting Strong Bodies and Minds.” Established in the late 1990s as Team-Up for Youth, Coaching Corps works to ensure that children in...

BY: Charlotte Steinecke      04/01/19

Q&A: Delivering SEL programming in Minneapolis

For this post, Nikki Yamashiro, director of research at the Afterschool Alliance, spoke with Hayley Tompkins, Beacons Network Specialist with the Minneapolis Beacons Network, about Beacons’ work to deliver social and emotional learning opportunities through their programs. This...

BY: Nikki Yamashiro      01/03/19

Green Bay BGCA's advice for strong SEL programming

For this post, Dan Gilbert, project manager at the Afterschool Alliance, spoke with Eric Vanden Heuvel, chief academic officer, and Kaitlyn Endries, director of social emotional learning, from the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Green Bay, about their work to deliver social and emotional...

BY: Dan Gilbert      12/03/18

Promising practices: Coaching Corps’ strategy physical & social-emotional health

This blog post was adapted from a program spotlight in the Afterschool Alliance issue brief, “A Big-Picture Approach to Wellness: Afterschool Supporting Strong Bodies and Minds.” Established in the late 1990s as Team-Up for Youth, Coaching Corps works to ensure that children in...

BY: Charlotte Steinecke      04/01/19

Advancing equity in children's health: New messaging resource!

The Afterschool Alliance has released an Out-of-School Time (OST) Health Equity Messaging Resource in collaboration with Voices for Healthy Kids and We-Collab. Designed to be used in conjunction with the Voices for Healthy Kids Health Equity for Public Policy Messaging Guide, the OST Health Equity...

BY: Marisa Paipongna      01/31/19

5 tips for a fun and healthy winter break

This post is part of Healthier Generation’s #HealthyHolidays blog series, highlighting healthy ways to celebrate and enjoy the holiday season at home, school, and work. This post originally appeared on HealthierGeneration.org. View all posts in the #HealthyHolidays series here. The...

BY: Guest Blogger      12/20/18

Beacon House, Comcast help students thrive in Northeast D.C.

By Kareem Harris, student at Friendship Collegiate Academy and Beacon House. Comcast recently hosted a celebration of Internet Essentials at Beacon House in Northeast D.C. Internet Essentials is the nation’s largest and most comprehensive high-speed Internet adoption program, offering...

BY: Guest Blogger      11/30/18

NAA Healthy Eating and Physical Activity (HEPA) standards streamlined in version 2.0

By Heidi Ham, Vice President, Programs and Strategy at National AfterSchool Association. Studies show that healthy, active children learn better, perform better academically and experience fewer behavioral problems. Afterschool and summer learning programs are well-positioned to be key partners...

BY: Guest Blogger      09/14/18

In Baltimore, kids conquer uneven bars and bar graphs

To be able to guess what the students in the Barclay After School Program are doing for the three hours after the last bell rings, you’d have to keep up with a diverse and ever-rotating schedule of activities, from STEM contests to photography lessons, from arts programming to...

BY: Faith Savaiano      07/20/18

Guest blog: 2018 state report cards on active kids and communities

By Margaux Mennesson, marketing and communications manager at Safe Routes to School National Partnership. A new report out from the Safe Routes to School National Partnership and the Y, Making Strides: 2018 State Report Cards on Support for Walking, Bicycling, and Active Kids and Communities,...

BY: Guest Blogger      07/17/18

Positive female role models: 5 voices from healthy afterschool

By Daniel W. Hatcher, MPH, director of community partnerships, Alliance for a Healthier Generation. Active kids learn better, but did you know that girls today are far less likely than boys to achieve the recommended amounts of physical activity? Healthier Generation’s #GirlsAre campaign...

BY: Guest Blogger      05/31/18

HEPA success story: Uniting stakeholders is key to victory

When Sheree Vodicka first heard of legislation passed in California to establish healthy out-of-school time (OST) programs, she realized there may be an opportunity to replicate that in North Carolina. As a recipient of the YMCA of the USA’s Pioneering Healthier Communities grant...

BY: Faith Savaiano      04/06/18

HEPA Success Story: The Alliance of New York State YMCAs

In recent years, many states across the country have started to seek government support to enact policies aimed at increasing healthy practices in out-of-school time environments. While many of these efforts are just beginning, few advocates have seen as much immediate success as the Alliance...

BY: Faith Savaiano      01/29/18

Views from VISTAs: Updates from June 2019

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      07/15/19

The key to incredible STEM learning in libraries? Strong community connections.

For this post, Dan Gilbert, project manager at the Afterschool Alliance, spoke with Megan Burton, STEM and learning supervisor at the Kitsap Regional Library, about their efforts to provide family engagement, STEM learning, and afterschool and out-of-school time learning...

BY: Guest Blogger      03/28/19

Los Angeles libraries spark STEM learning and family engagement in OST

For this post, Dan Gilbert, project manager at the Afterschool Alliance, spoke with Eva Mitnick, director of the Engagement and Learning Division of the Los Angeles Public Library, about the library’s efforts to provide family engagement, STEM learning, and afterschool and...

BY: Dan Gilbert      02/28/19

In the field: Stand-out examples of quality STEM programming

Look no further for great examples of high-quality science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) programs! Our afterschool STEM program profiles feature 20 examples of afterschool programs providing innovative and impactful STEM programming to diverse populations of students. Each program...

BY: Leah Silverberg      02/14/19

The 2018 Computer Science Education Week is almost here!

“I personally do not have a computer science background, so much of my experience has been learning alongside my students and talking with them about their interests and motivations.” Last year’s CS Education Week didn’t prevent teachers and staff from trying their hand at...

BY: Chris Neitzey      11/29/18

Youth voice: The power of STEM learning opportunities

By Archika Dogra. Archika, 16, is a high school junior at the Interlake High School in Bellevue, Washington who co-founded the EduSTEM Initiative, along with Evelyn Chen and Maya Srikanth, two juniors at Newport High School. Archika is also president of her school’s Technology Student...

BY: Guest Blogger      11/12/18

Guest blog: Bringing real-world experts and resources into your afterschool program

By Katie Lisowski, manager of Digital Education Partnerships at Discovery Communications.  Afterschool programs provide such unique opportunities to reach and inspire students. There’s freedom for students to try new things and explore the unknown without the pressures often felt...

BY: Guest Blogger      07/26/18

In Baltimore, kids conquer uneven bars and bar graphs

To be able to guess what the students in the Barclay After School Program are doing for the three hours after the last bell rings, you’d have to keep up with a diverse and ever-rotating schedule of activities, from STEM contests to photography lessons, from arts programming to...

BY: Faith Savaiano      07/20/18

From afterschool to geophysicist

For Maya Irvine, her afterschool program was the FIRST step toward a career in science, technology, engineering, and math (the subjects known as STEM). The Missouri Youth Afterschool Ambassador has been enrolled in the Camdenton FIRST LASER Robotics program for the past six years and recently...

BY: Charlotte Steinecke      05/08/18

Webinar recap: Exploring the environment in afterschool

Earth Day 2018 has passed, but it is never too late to share an appreciation of our planet with environmental science education in your afterschool program. Teaching environmental science is a great way to help students develop core science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) skills —...

BY: Leah Silverberg      04/30/18

5 tips for a fun and healthy winter break

This post is part of Healthier Generation’s #HealthyHolidays blog series, highlighting healthy ways to celebrate and enjoy the holiday season at home, school, and work. This post originally appeared on HealthierGeneration.org. View all posts in the #HealthyHolidays series here. The...

BY: Guest Blogger      12/20/18

Making child hunger a priority—this month and beyond

September is Hunger Action Month, making this month an opportunity for people all over America to spread the word and take action on the hunger crisis, and dedicate ourselves to a solution. According to the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC), 41 million Americans live in households that...

BY: Erik Peterson      09/25/18

NAA Healthy Eating and Physical Activity (HEPA) standards streamlined in version 2.0

By Heidi Ham, Vice President, Programs and Strategy at National AfterSchool Association. Studies show that healthy, active children learn better, perform better academically and experience fewer behavioral problems. Afterschool and summer learning programs are well-positioned to be key partners...

BY: Guest Blogger      09/14/18

Summer meals are vital for children, but meal participation continues to decrease

Far too many children lose access to nutritious school meals when the school year ends, according to Hunger Doesn’t Take a Vacation: Summer Nutrition Status Report, released June 13 by the Food Research & Action Center. The report finds that only 3 million children received a...

BY: Erik Peterson      06/22/18

HEPA success story: Uniting stakeholders is key to victory

When Sheree Vodicka first heard of legislation passed in California to establish healthy out-of-school time (OST) programs, she realized there may be an opportunity to replicate that in North Carolina. As a recipient of the YMCA of the USA’s Pioneering Healthier Communities grant...

BY: Faith Savaiano      04/06/18

The need to enhance kids' access to water in and out of school

By Amelie G. Ramirez, DrPH, Director, Salud America! at UT Health San Antonio. Did you know that 1 in 4 kids drink no water in a day? Latino kids drink less water than their white peers. They also are more likely to perceive tap water as unsafe, and drink more sugary drinks, our research...

BY: Guest Blogger      03/30/18

Afterschool programs can play a big role in childhood nutrition

By Crystal FitzSimmons, director of school and out-of-school time programs at Food Research & Action Center. Hooray! It’s National Nutrition Month. Time to celebrate the important role that afterschool programs are and can play in supporting good nutrition among the children they...

BY: Guest Blogger      03/23/18

Two ways afterschool programs are feeding hungry kids

By Sukhjit Dhaliwal, Expanded Learning Opportunities VISTA for School's Out Washington. Childhood hunger is an unfortunate reality that reaches many parts of the United States. Many of our nation’s children and youth who rely on free and reduced-price school breakfast and lunches...

BY: Guest Blogger      03/13/18

HEPA Success Story: The Alliance of New York State YMCAs

In recent years, many states across the country have started to seek government support to enact policies aimed at increasing healthy practices in out-of-school time environments. While many of these efforts are just beginning, few advocates have seen as much immediate success as the Alliance...

BY: Faith Savaiano      01/29/18

How to make afterschool health and wellness resolutions a reality

At the beginning of each year, most of us set personal goals that we would like to accomplish. Although the list of New Year’s resolutions vary from person to person, eating better and exercising more are two of the most popular resolutions we make. As we start the year, let’s not only...

BY: Tiereny Lloyd      01/08/18