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Spotlight: Operating programs in the summer of COVID-19

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Spotlight: Operating programs in the summer of COVID-19

Summer learning programs and summer camps are facing unique challenges as they reopen safely to serve students this summer. How are programs reshaping their programs and activities to ensure the health and well-being of youth? Below is advice, ideas, and inspirations from three programs.

Boys and Girls Club of Skagit County, WA

The Boys and Girls Club of Skagit County is trying to make the summer feel as normal as possible for the children and youth that attend their programs, while keeping safety in mind. Safety is built into every aspect of their work, and the club is leveraging relationships with public health entities to determine the best way of providing programming to students this summer. In each club, the staff created four “mini-clubs,” self-contained cohorts of eight kids. The cohorts are multi-age and arranged based on siblings, as well as families who work in the same industry or for the same company. The intent is to limit the potential exposure to COVID-19. If any youth gets sick, that cohort “closes.” Two staff members are assigned to each cohort, and they help to segregate the youth by age. At the nine locations throughout the county, the club is keeping the number of students and staff to under 50 people per program, inclusive of students and staff.

Recognizing that both students and staff may be struggling with isolation, anxiety, anger, and fear caused by school closures, significant disruptors in routine, and missing typical rites of passage, the club hired a full-time mental health counselor. In addition to working with youth, the counselor is also able to provide more intensive support to the staff, who quickly went from providing youth development to serving as social workers.

Trailside Discovery Center, Anchorage, AK

The Trailside Discovery Center is an outdoor and environmental education program that provides both overnight and day camp opportunities for youth. This year, the program cancelled its overnight camp programs and instead is focusing on its day camp.  Usually, the day camp has one site with up to 220 students.  This year, they are offering five different day camps at locations that usually served as field trip sites. Families are able to pick which camp in which they want to participate, which will center around activities like archery, canoeing, hiking, or other outdoors-focused activities.

Since the in-person camp opportunities are limited, the Trailside Discovery Center is also offering a virtual “kit camp” for families. For eight weeks, families will receive a kit designed around a specific theme. Youth are able to join fellow campers via Zoom calls, or they can following along with the projects and activities through a worksheet. Guest speakers join the calls, and help guide campers in conducting experiments. They also have prizes and other incentives to encourage youth to complete the activities.

Boys and Girls Clubs of East Providence, RI and Boys and Girls Clubs of Newport, RI

The Boys and Girls Clubs located in East Providence and Newport, RI are trying to provide as many opportunities for their youth as they typically do during the summer months, both in person and virtually. They are opening sites for up to 40 youth this summer.

In East Providence, the club is focusing on a clubhouse model. Each classroom, or pod, will have ten youth with two teachers. Areas of focus will include movement and physical education, STEM, and art. Centers are set up in each pod to ensure that youth still have some choice in the activities in which they can participate. Youth are assigned their pod based on interest, however, they may not be in a classroom with all of their friends. To remedy that concern, pods are doing Zoom calls with each other. The club is also encouraging pen pals, where youth are also able to write letters to their friends in other pods. The club hopes that these activities help to maintain the traditional feeling of the afterschool programs while students are social distancing in smaller groups.

The Newport clubs are set up, similarly. Youth are divided up into pods of 10. The youth participate in activities around areas such as healthy lifestyles, arts and crafts, and outside play. The youth also meet with a teacher a couple of times of week for reading groups. The youth at this club are participating in a mix of online learning and in-person, interactive activities.

While the number of youth served at the clubs has decreased by about 50% this summer, staff are required to do more work to ensure the health and wellbeing of everyone at the club. Staff are now required to maintain contract tracing logs and conduct frequent sanitization of classrooms. To encourage the staff to stay on top of these the Boys and Girls Club of East Providence devised a bonus system.

Interested in more information like this? Visit our COVID-19 resource pages and join the online learning community!

Afterschool supports learning and recover: May 21-28

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BY: Erin Hegarty      05/19/20

Trump administration hosts call with nonprofit leaders amid pandemic

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BY: Guest Blogger      03/25/20

Recap: Education stakeholder briefing from ED, CDC & USDA

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BY: Jillian Luchner      03/20/20

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BY: Ursula Helminski      03/12/20

A message from the Afterschool Alliance on COVID-19

Dear Afterschool Stakeholders, These are scary times. So many of the children, youth and families we serve are already dealing with fears and traumas. Now they will face more. For the first time in my lifetime, we are facing a pandemic and it will change life in America… for a few weeks...

BY: Jodi Grant      03/12/20

Ensuring access to school meals during COVID-19 related school closures

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BY: Erik Peterson      03/12/20

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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

Local data for community-based prevention: Vermont Youth Project's role in reducing substance use among teens

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BY: Erin Hegarty      03/02/20

Representing afterschool during National Eating Disorders Awareness Week

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BY: Charlotte Steinecke      02/24/20

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BY: Erin Hegarty      05/29/20

Resilience and creativity the cornerstone of Brighton Center's Youth Leadership Development and Teen Coalition

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BY: Ursula Helminski      05/28/20

Guest blog: Using the 5R model to build a new future for afterschool

By Christina K. Hanger, CEO of Dallas Afterschool. Founded in 2007, Dallas Afterschool improves the safety, quality, and availability of Out-of-School Time (OST) in Dallas County. Working with over 1,300 afterschool educators at 150 sites throughout Dallas, we positively impact...

BY: Guest Blogger      05/22/20

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BY: Charlotte Steinecke      05/21/20

Views from VISTAs: Updates from April 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      05/21/20

YMCA of Silicon Valley works with partners to provide pop-up day camps

YMCA of Silicon Valley, California, is providing an essential service in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis: allowing many parents to keep going to work. Across the region, the centers normally serve more than 8,000 students per day for afterschool programs and 22,000 for summer camp. Staff offer...

BY: Ursula Helminski      05/19/20

Discovery Ed: App for kids to measure social distance, learning resources for parents and educators

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BY: Ursula Helminski      05/11/20

How Horton's Kids is serving kids in their community during COVID-19: Part II - Finding Funding & Sustaining Impact

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BY: Chandler Hall      05/08/20

Staying connected & distributing resources: Afterschool’s response to COVID-19

Despite closures and social distancing, many providers are finding ways to stay connected with students and families. Afterschool programs are using remote check-ins with their students and families to ensure they’re safe and have the resources they need. A few of the strategies we’ve...

BY: Ursula Helminski      05/07/20

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

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BY: Erin Hegarty      05/04/20

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

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BY: Erin Hegarty      05/04/20

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

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BY: Chandler Hall      04/27/20

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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

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

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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

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BY: Erin Hegarty      05/03/19

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

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BY: Chandler Hall      04/27/20

Afterschool "has helped guide me to what I want to do in the future and gives me opportunities to grow as an artist, a person, and a leader."

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BY: Guest Blogger      02/14/20

Remembering Mary Jo Ginty

In late December the afterschool field has lost one of its brightest stars, Mary Jo Ginty. I was humbled and proud to work with Mary Jo, an institute in California where she served as Regional Leader of the Los Angeles County Office of Education Expanded Learning Technical Assistance...

BY: Jodi Grant      01/21/20

Share your yoice: Join the Let’s Talk About Election 2020 Youth Media Challenge

It is hard to believe, but the 2020 elections are just over a year away! Are you looking for civic engagement opportunities for youth in your afterschool program? Consider participating in Let’s Talk About Election 2020 youth media challenge, a free, standards-aligned program on KQED Learn,...

BY: Alexis Steines      11/12/19

Bill White’s afterschool legacy

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BY: Jodi Grant      10/11/19

Youth Afterschool Ambassador: "My parents were able to have peace of mind while I excelled in my education."

By Viridiana Gonzalez, Youth Afterschool Ambassador and junior at Texas Christian University. Although I grew up as a child in a low-income area with two working parents, I never knew the struggles that parents faced to keep their kids safe while trying to be financially stable. All I...

BY: Guest Blogger      07/30/19

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

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

YMCA of Silicon Valley works with partners to provide pop-up day camps

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BY: Ursula Helminski      05/19/20

Discovery Ed: App for kids to measure social distance, learning resources for parents and educators

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BY: Ursula Helminski      05/11/20

New app for afterschool, live or virtual

In this unprecedented time, it’s more important than ever to have ways to help youth continue learning, growing and exploring — wherever they are. As champions for children, you’re doing everything you can during this time to keep youth safe and continue to serve them. We also...

BY: Ursula Helminski      05/01/20

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

Representing afterschool during National Eating Disorders Awareness Week

When we say that afterschool programs keep children and young people safe, we aren’t only talking about risky behaviors and crime. The welcoming environments, supportive networks, and caring adults that afterschool programs offer are themselves protective factors for a range of issues that...

BY: Charlotte Steinecke      02/24/20

13 groups join forces for youth programs in new campaign: Be a Champion, #InvestInKids

By Edwin Link, national vice president at Boys & Girls Clubs of America. This week, 13 of the nation’s leading youth development programs launched Be a Champion, #InvestInKids to raise awareness and increase support for youth programs across the country. The Be a Champion,...

BY: Guest Blogger      01/23/20

Riley Institute at Furman University welcomes new class of policy fellows

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BY: Jen Rinehart      11/04/19

Aspiring software engineers in a Texas afterschool program win trip to Facebook HQ

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BY: Guest Blogger      09/06/19

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

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

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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

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BY: Guest Blogger      11/08/19

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

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

Broken windows are the residue of broken promises

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BY: Charlotte Steinecke      06/10/20

Like Ahmaud Arbery, I live in small town Georgia. A frightening world awaits.

By Terell Wright. Terell, 17, attends Walnut Grove High School and enjoys politics and writing, and aspires to work in public policy. This blog post was originally published on May 7, 2020 at VOX ATL. VOX ATL is a teen-driven, professional space and a learning environment for diverse teens in...

BY: Guest Blogger      06/09/20

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

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

Local data for community-based prevention: Vermont Youth Project's role in reducing substance use among teens

New data released by the Vermont Youth Project (VYP) indicates risk and protective factors for teens around “family, school, peer groups, and out-of-school time activities.” Among the findings are relatively high substance use figures among teens, as well as an indication of large...

BY: Erin Hegarty      03/02/20

Representing afterschool during National Eating Disorders Awareness Week

When we say that afterschool programs keep children and young people safe, we aren’t only talking about risky behaviors and crime. The welcoming environments, supportive networks, and caring adults that afterschool programs offer are themselves protective factors for a range of issues that...

BY: Charlotte Steinecke      02/24/20

Afterschool Spotlight: Appalachian Youth to Youth

By Rose Frey, winter intern for 2019-2020 at the Afterschool Alliance. Photo courtesy of Appalachian Youth to Youth's Facebook page. In 2017, Partners Aligned Toward Health (PATH) established Appalachian Youth to Youth in two rural counties in western North Carolina, utilizing the Youth to...

BY: Guest Blogger      02/18/20

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

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

From law enforcement to afterschool

By Michael “Bull” Brown, program director/CEO of the Boys & Girls Club of Coffee County Region, in Douglas, Georgia. In honor of Afterschool Professionals Appreciation Week, the Afterschool Snack will feature stories from our Afterschool Ambassadors and other professionals...

BY: Guest Blogger      04/23/19