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The view from Ground Zero: Q&A on the opioid crisis

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The view from Ground Zero: Q&A on the opioid crisis

By Nila Cobb.

Welcome to the first of a two-part question-and-answer session with Nila Cobb, healthy lifestyles specialist and assistant director of the West Virginia Statewide Afterschool Network. In the first part, Nila describes the earliest signs of the opioid crisis impacting her community and her view on the role of afterschool in supporting children through the epidemic. Read part two here.

What were the first signs of the opioid crisis in your community?

I was aware in 1997 that a crisis was brewing. I worked as a medical social worker at both the Veteran’s Affairs Medical Center and a private hospital. I saw the damage opioids were causing when patients arrived at the hospitals with drug-seeking behaviors and I watched as they were often provided with prescriptions they would either abuse or sell. Unfortunately, I also saw an extremely personal side of the crisis as my then-19-year-old daughter became addicted through prescriptions. As a family, we have been through many traumatic experiences as she went through the spiral of addiction and then fought back through recovery.

How have you seen the public health crisis impact school-age children and their families?

The main problem is that parents are unable to parent when they are actively addicted. There are immediate emergency issues that include lack of resources in housing, food, and child care.

In 2005, the AARP reported that 4.5 million children nationwide were living in grandparent-headed households (6.3 percent of all children under age 18). This represented a 30 percent increase from 1990 to 2000. By May of 2017, the number had grown to more than 10 percent of children under 18 living in homes where householders are grandparents or other relatives.

During this time, I have raised my grandson. I’ve witnessed the trauma he has suffered. Although he has been cared for in a home that does not lack resources, his high Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) score has directly impacted his health. According to the emerging research, childhood experiences, both positive and negative, have a tremendous impact on future violence victimization and perpetration, lifelong health, and opportunity.

Many of the children and families we encounter in our mostly rural area are the collateral damage of the drug epidemic. Cabell County, W.V., with a population of just under 100,000, is often referred to as Ground Zero for the drug epidemic. It is still among the highest in the nation for overdoses.

However, the pace at which non-fatal overdoses are suffered in Cabell County is gradually slowing, according to records logged by Cabell County EMS, marking a now five-month downward trend into 2018. In January, 113 overdoses, or 3.6 per day, were reported in Cabell County. By comparison, the county averaged 152 overdoses per month, or 5.2 per day, through 2017 — amassing a record-shattering 1,831 for the year. It goes unknown how many of these overdoses are accidental and how many are “deaths of despair.”

According to the findings of the 2016 National Survey of Children’s Health and an analysis conducted by the Child and Adolescent Health Measurement Initiative at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, more than 46 percent of U. S. youth have had at least one ACE or Adverse Childhood Experience.

In West Virginia, 52.4 percent of children under age 18 have had at least one adverse childhood experience, a rate significantly higher than the national average. Moreover, 26 percent have had two or more experiences, such as the death or incarceration of a parent, witnessing or being a victim of violence, or living with someone who is suicidal or has a drug or alcohol problem.

Addressing this childhood trauma is critical to providing positive youth development for the children impacted by this crisis. There is an emerging body of work around this topic which indicates that, with appropriate supports and interventions, people can overcome traumatic experiences.

How can – and should – afterschool play a role in intervening in the crisis?

Afterschool was the catalyst that helped me step in as a grandparent and rescue my grandson from a deteriorating circumstance.

I interviewed the program director of a local afterschool program about her views on afterschool’s role. She said that afterschool has access to build a relationship with the child’s family. When a parent comes in to pick up a child at afterschool, they usually have to go in and sign the child out. This is an opportunity for the staff to observe the parent and witness parent/child interaction, which is not always possible during the school day. The program director also adds how she has had to provide her staff specialized training around the steps that must be taken when a parent/guardian shows up intoxicated.

Afterschool is also an opportunity to help fragile families access needed resources. Front line providers tell of the emergency placement of children in foster families and kinship families being an area where afterschool can provide a community-wide ecosystem of both prevention and family support. Offering hot suppers and homework help along with consistently caring staff can make a tremendous difference in the chaotic lives of children and families experiencing the crisis.

Finally, it is imperative youth serving organizations be prepared to understand the relationship between working with children with trauma and striving to help them heal and thrive in the face of adversity. This can be accomplished when utilizing a Trauma Informed Care approach. By using the six key principles of the trauma-informed approach, afterschool programs can address the needs of children of trauma as outlined by SAMSHA:

  1. Safety
  2. Trustworthiness and Transparency
  3. Peer Support
  4. Collaboration and Mutuality
  5. Empowerment, Voice, and Choice
  6. Cultural, Historical, and Gender Issues

The desired goal is to build a framework that helps systems “talk” to each other, to understand better the connections between trauma and behavioral health issues, and to guide systems to become trauma-informed.

"I want every girl to know that her voice can change the world": An interview with Girls Empowerment Network

We spoke with Ami Kane, Deputy Director at the Girls Empowerment Network, to discuss how the Spark Change Project is empowering girls to become advocates for the issues that matter the most to them and strengthening critical supports for their students with help from the New York Life...

BY: Maria Rizo      10/24/22

Resources to help you Engage Every Student from wherever you sit

New parent data shows that for every child in an afterschool program, there are now four more who are waiting for an available program. It is more important than ever to amplify ways for programs, communities, districts, and states to connect every student to an afterschool program that wants...

BY: Maria Rizo      09/08/22

Guest blog: Foundations, Inc.'s REACH model accelerates learning recovery in afterschool

By Elizabeth Cieri and Paula Houghton of Foundations, Inc.  Educators across the nation are dealing with academic losses due to the pandemic -- mitigating those losses requires inventive thinking and better practices. “Coming out of the pandemic, we knew all kids suffered learning...

BY: Guest Blogger      08/29/22

Ensuring access to school meals this fall

As we approach the upcoming school year, school nutrition programs are increasingly important in ensuring children are fed during the hours they are in and out of school and addressing food insecurity exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Last week, the Afterschool Alliance participated in the...

BY: Maria Rizo      08/11/22

From afterschool to the White House: A conversation with Life Pieces to Masterpieces alum Cateo Hilton

In February of this year, soon-to-be-high-school-graduate Cateo Hilton of Washington, D.C.’s Life Pieces to Masterpieces afterschool program was asked to speak at the White House at an event marking the end of Black History Month. Life Pieces to Masterpieces’ Andrew Blickle serves as an...

BY: Matt Freeman      07/12/22

Investing ARP in afterschool & summer: Overview of trends, opportunities, challenges

We’ve released a new overview looking at the trends, opportunities, and challenges around investing American Rescue Plan (ARP) dollars in afterschool and summer programs. Use this overview to help educate partners, policymakers, local leaders, and educators on the opportunity to support youth...

BY: Ursula Helminski      06/06/22

New resources to plan for summer learning and make the case for afterschool

Sharing the latest on COVID funds for afterschool or summer programs that support students’ well-being and academic growth, preparing for summer 2022, and more: The latest updates and tools to help you advance partnerships between schools and afterschool or summer programs to support...

BY: Charlotte Steinecke      04/28/22

MAP: Where are COVID funds supporting afterschool & summer programs?

If you’ve been following our COVID work, you know we’ve been working to track how and where federal COVID relief funding has been tapped to support young people with comprehensive afterschool and summer enrichment programs. Three major funding bills – the Coronavirus Aid, Relief,...

BY: Ursula Helminski      04/19/22

Giving a big #AmeriThanks to AmeriCorps VISTA members!

It’s AmeriCorps Week! Organizations around the country are taking this opportunity to acknowledge the work of national service members that participate in programs such as AmeriCorps, AmeriCorps VISTA, Senior Corps, and National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC). In that spirit, we want to...

BY: Alexis Steines      03/18/22

Understanding “comprehensive afterschool” in the American Rescue Plan

In the American Rescue Plan, funds are allocated specifically for “the implementation of evidence-based interventions aimed specifically at addressing learning loss, such as summer learning or summer enrichment, extended day, comprehensive afterschool programs, or extended school year...

BY: Charlotte Steinecke      01/21/22

Afterschool supports LGBTQ students

By Tran Tonnu, marketing manager at School's Out Washington, and Janell Jordan, King County program manager. This article originally appeared on School's Out Washington's blog on June 17, 2021. It has been republished here with their permission. For LGBTQ folks, June...

BY: Guest Blogger      06/28/22

$1.8M awarded to middle school out-of-school time programs

The New York Life Foundation and the Afterschool Alliance are pleased to announce the 2022 Aim High grant recipients. In its sixth year, the Aim High grant has provided a total of $7.95 million dollars to help fund afterschool, summer and expanded learning programs as they help middle school...

BY: Dan Gilbert      06/14/22

Guest blog: Social and emotional learning in the spotlight

By Jenna Tomasello, associate director at The Hatcher Group. This blog post was originally published on the Wallace Foundation blog on March 11, 2022.  The social isolation students experienced because of the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent school closures has shined a spotlight on unmet...

BY: Guest Blogger      04/21/22

Afterschool field creates resources to help support the mental health of young people

With year 3 of the COVID-19 pandemic now underway, mental health is recognized as one of the largest issues among youth today. The ways in which young people have suffered during the pandemic are heartbreaking - from increased anxiety and social isolation to coping with grief and loss. Fortunately,...

BY: Christopher Echevarria      03/15/22

Celebrating Black History 365 with Howard University Television

By Keisha Nelson, Education and Outreach Manager WHUT- Howard University Television. Black History Month may only last 28 days, but opportunities for learning don’t end in February. There are many ways to celebrate the past and present contributions of Black people to U.S. history,...

BY: Guest Blogger      02/28/22

Slowing down while playing catch-up: The educator Catch-22!

By Carlos Santini, CEO of Mizzen by Mott. If you’re an educator, mentor, coach or administrative staff member working in education, you’re most likely hearing of or reading about priorities such as accelerated learning, learning recovery, and historic investments at the federal level...

BY: Guest Blogger      02/22/22

Tips for afterschool to support trans and gender non-conforming young people

Photo courtesy of The Gender Spectrum Collection. Thanks to a growing number of supports for transgender and nonbinary youth to feel safe within their school settings, afterschool programs have more resources than ever to ensure that every young person who enters their doors between the hours of...

BY: Shaun Gray      02/14/22

Mentorship "show[ed] me my self-worth... the value that I have as a human."

Photo by Josh Sorenson on Unsplash The impact of afterschool and summer programs last well beyond a student’s formative years. The relationships that afterschool youth build with the adults in their programs often lead to academic success and future leadership opportunities. Mentored youth...

BY: Tierra Easter      01/25/22

Why afterschool programs need social and emotional learning now

This article was originally published on The Wallace Foundation blog on January 19, 2022. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, educators around the country are seeing an increasing need to support young people who may be struggling with anxiety, depression, fear, trauma, food insecurity or...

BY: Guest Blogger      01/24/22

Understanding “comprehensive afterschool” in the American Rescue Plan

In the American Rescue Plan, funds are allocated specifically for “the implementation of evidence-based interventions aimed specifically at addressing learning loss, such as summer learning or summer enrichment, extended day, comprehensive afterschool programs, or extended school year...

BY: Charlotte Steinecke      01/21/22

The future of learning

Photo: Courtesy of YMCA of Honolulu at Herton Branch By Ridgway White, president and CEO of the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation. This article originally was published as a Mott Perspectives piece on the Foundation’s website. It has been reposted here with permission. This is a...

BY: Guest Blogger      06/21/22

Philanthropists MacKenzie Scott and Dan Jewett invest in a host of afterschool programs

As part of a larger series of gifts to nonprofit organizations, this spring, philanthropists MacKenzie Scott and Dan Jewett announced the contribution of a combined investment of more than $500 million towards at least 29 afterschool, summer learning, and positive youth development organizations....

BY: Erik Peterson      04/18/22

Afterschool community mourns passing of Rep. Don Young

Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska), who passed away this weekend, was a tireless and powerful champion for children and families in Alaska and across the country, and one of Congress’ most ardent and dedicated supporters of the afterschool and summer learning programs that help children and youth...

BY: Erik Peterson      03/24/22

Giving a big #AmeriThanks to AmeriCorps VISTA members!

It’s AmeriCorps Week! Organizations around the country are taking this opportunity to acknowledge the work of national service members that participate in programs such as AmeriCorps, AmeriCorps VISTA, Senior Corps, and National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC). In that spirit, we want to...

BY: Alexis Steines      03/18/22

Announcing winners of the afterschool staff gratitude campaign

As 2021 came to a close, the Afterschool Alliance launched a gratitude campaign across social media to encourage the field to recognize the amazing work of afterschool professionals. From teaching critical life skills outside of the classroom to “shaping the next generation of leaders,”...

BY: Maria Rizo      02/01/22

Mentorship "show[ed] me my self-worth... the value that I have as a human."

Photo by Josh Sorenson on Unsplash The impact of afterschool and summer programs last well beyond a student’s formative years. The relationships that afterschool youth build with the adults in their programs often lead to academic success and future leadership opportunities. Mentored youth...

BY: Tierra Easter      01/25/22

Understanding “comprehensive afterschool” in the American Rescue Plan

In the American Rescue Plan, funds are allocated specifically for “the implementation of evidence-based interventions aimed specifically at addressing learning loss, such as summer learning or summer enrichment, extended day, comprehensive afterschool programs, or extended school year...

BY: Charlotte Steinecke      01/21/22

Afterschool as a teacher pathway

By Sam Piha, founder and co-director of Temescal Associates and The How Kids Learn Foundation, both organizations dedicated to promoting the learning and healthy development of youth. Our national teacher shortage predated COVID-19, however there is growing evidence that suggests that the...

BY: Guest Blogger      01/20/22

How to make universal afterschool a reality in your state

By Holly Morehouse, Executive Director, Vermont Afterschool. Across the country, afterschool programs have been chronically underfunded for decades, and the unmet demand among families has reached an all-time high. In Vermont, more than 26,000 youth are waiting for an available program. This...

BY: Guest Blogger      01/11/22

👏 Meeting the crisis: Afterschool leaders rise to the challenge

As part of our campaign this holiday season to show our gratitude for afterschool professionals, we are sharing some of the extraordinary efforts undertaken by our Afterschool Ambassadors and their programs to support kids and families throughout the pandemic. We thank them, and the many...

BY: Matt Freeman      12/16/21

Creating a path for career exploration and readiness at L.E.A.D. Afterschool

Welcome back to our series on credit for learning in afterschool programs! Afterschool programs can provide older youth opportunities to find their inspiration and gain skills that will benefit them in and outside of the classroom while allowing them to earn school credits. Credit-for-learning...

BY: Charlotte Steinecke      08/23/22

Celebrating Juneteenth in afterschool programs

Image by William Adams from Pixabay Juneteenth National Independence Day also known as Freedom Day, or Jubilee day honors the emancipation of slaves in the United States. More than 150 years after its first celebration, the Juneteenth holiday provides an opportunity to learn and teach about the...

BY: Tierra Easter      06/17/22

Youth mental health is top of mind for voters

By Olivia Allen, strategy director at Children’s Funding Project. Public opinion polling during the COVID-19 pandemic shows that voters feel intense concern about youth mental health and are willing to prioritize public investment in programs that support young people. In fact, 79...

BY: Guest Blogger      05/26/22

Arts education and training program at Riverzedge Arts helps students earn credit

Welcome to our series on credit for learning in afterschool programs! Afterschool programs can provide older youth opportunities to find their inspiration and gain skills that will benefit them in and outside of the classroom while allowing them to earn school credits. Credit-for-learning programs...

BY: Charlotte Steinecke      05/06/22

You're invited: Help amplify youth voices in afterschool!

Join us next week for Youth Voice Week! We want to hear from, and amplify, the perspectives and experiences of young people.  From Monday, March 28 to Friday, April 1, we will be sharing pieces by youth about their afterschool experiences, and what youth need after school. Afterschool...

BY: Maria Rizo      03/21/22

YouthForce NOLA: Creating a path for career exploration and readiness

Welcome to our new series on credit for learning in afterschool programs! Afterschool programs can provide older youth opportunities to find their inspiration and gain skills that will benefit them in and outside of the classroom while allowing them to earn school credits. Credit-for-learning...

BY: Charlotte Steinecke      02/25/22

Tips for afterschool to support trans and gender non-conforming young people

Photo courtesy of The Gender Spectrum Collection. Thanks to a growing number of supports for transgender and nonbinary youth to feel safe within their school settings, afterschool programs have more resources than ever to ensure that every young person who enters their doors between the hours of...

BY: Shaun Gray      02/14/22

Meet our 2022 Youth Afterschool Ambassadors

We're thrilled to introduce the 2022 class of Youth Afterschool Ambassadors—our largest group ever! Nine students from across the country were chosen on the basis of their essays and video submissions in a competition held in 2021. The Youth Ambassadors promote the value of...

BY: Charlotte Steinecke      01/04/22

Ohio Afterschool Network is unleashing student creativity, and fostering pandemic recovery, through entrepreneurship

At RISE Afterschool, which is expanding entrepreneurial education with help from the Ohio Afterschool Network and YEI, students are cultivating entrepreneurial skills as they create a garden business with raised beds. Photo: CBI Middletown, Inc. By Laurie Posner. Laurie Posner is a...

BY: Guest Blogger      12/14/21

Afterschool programs can help young people access vaccines

With the COVID-19 vaccine recommended by the CDC for everyone aged 5 and older, afterschool programs are positioned to help their communities’ young people access vaccines. The U.S. Secretary of Education, Miguel Cardona, has traveled to various schools, including afterschool programs, to...

BY: Nicole Pettenati      12/06/21

"I want every girl to know that her voice can change the world": An interview with Girls Empowerment Network

We spoke with Ami Kane, Deputy Director at the Girls Empowerment Network, to discuss how the Spark Change Project is empowering girls to become advocates for the issues that matter the most to them and strengthening critical supports for their students with help from the New York Life...

BY: Maria Rizo      10/24/22

Expanding possibilities for students with The Wooden Floor, a New York Life Foundation Aim High grantee

In a follow-up conversation with 2021 New York Life Foundation Aim High grantee The Wooden Floor, we spoke with Chief Executive Officer Dawn S. Reese to discuss more on how the Aim High grant has continued to support the program in the past year and what she is seeing among youth today. Read our...

BY: Maria Rizo      09/29/22

Resources to help you Engage Every Student from wherever you sit

New parent data shows that for every child in an afterschool program, there are now four more who are waiting for an available program. It is more important than ever to amplify ways for programs, communities, districts, and states to connect every student to an afterschool program that wants...

BY: Maria Rizo      09/08/22

Guest blog: Foundations, Inc.'s REACH model accelerates learning recovery in afterschool

By Elizabeth Cieri and Paula Houghton of Foundations, Inc.  Educators across the nation are dealing with academic losses due to the pandemic -- mitigating those losses requires inventive thinking and better practices. “Coming out of the pandemic, we knew all kids suffered learning...

BY: Guest Blogger      08/29/22

Ensuring access to school meals this fall

As we approach the upcoming school year, school nutrition programs are increasingly important in ensuring children are fed during the hours they are in and out of school and addressing food insecurity exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Last week, the Afterschool Alliance participated in the...

BY: Maria Rizo      08/11/22

Guest blog: Council for a Strong America identifies afterschool as key policy to help next generation succeed

By Barry Ford is the President & CEO of Council for a Strong America. Council for a Strong America has long advocated for high-quality afterschool programs as a way to strengthen communities and our country. Our organization is a national, bipartisan nonprofit that unites membership...

BY: Guest Blogger      08/08/22

Guest blog: Advancing equity and inclusion in hiring and staff development in OST

By Angelica Portillo, National AfterSchool Association’s Director of Advocacy and Workforce Initiatives, and Shawna Rosenweig, Camp Fire Chief Strategy Officer and member of the National AfterSchool Association's Board. For the last 20 years, out-of-school time (OST) has...

BY: Guest Blogger      07/28/22

US Dept. of Ed calls for afterschool & summer for all

Today marks an incredible moment for the afterschool and summer program movement. For the first time ever, federal leaders are calling for afterschool for all. Today, U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona launched the Engage Every Student Initiative, a bold new call to action to...

BY: Jodi Grant      07/14/22

The future of learning

Photo: Courtesy of YMCA of Honolulu at Herton Branch By Ridgway White, president and CEO of the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation. This article originally was published as a Mott Perspectives piece on the Foundation’s website. It has been reposted here with permission. This is a...

BY: Guest Blogger      06/21/22

$1.8M awarded to middle school out-of-school time programs

The New York Life Foundation and the Afterschool Alliance are pleased to announce the 2022 Aim High grant recipients. In its sixth year, the Aim High grant has provided a total of $7.95 million dollars to help fund afterschool, summer and expanded learning programs as they help middle school...

BY: Dan Gilbert      06/14/22

Guest blog: A book about everyday superheroes inspired Girlstart campers to pursue world-changing careers in STEM

By Alexa Brown and Hannah Winkler, coordinators at Girlstart. Girlstart aims to increase girls’ interest and engagement in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) — a mission accomplished through free summer camps and after-school programs across Texas,...

BY: Guest Blogger      09/12/22

Afterschool supports LGBTQ students

By Tran Tonnu, marketing manager at School's Out Washington, and Janell Jordan, King County program manager. This article originally appeared on School's Out Washington's blog on June 17, 2021. It has been republished here with their permission. For LGBTQ folks, June...

BY: Guest Blogger      06/28/22

Celebrating Juneteenth in afterschool programs

Image by William Adams from Pixabay Juneteenth National Independence Day also known as Freedom Day, or Jubilee day honors the emancipation of slaves in the United States. More than 150 years after its first celebration, the Juneteenth holiday provides an opportunity to learn and teach about the...

BY: Tierra Easter      06/17/22

$1.8M awarded to middle school out-of-school time programs

The New York Life Foundation and the Afterschool Alliance are pleased to announce the 2022 Aim High grant recipients. In its sixth year, the Aim High grant has provided a total of $7.95 million dollars to help fund afterschool, summer and expanded learning programs as they help middle school...

BY: Dan Gilbert      06/14/22

You're invited: Help amplify youth voices in afterschool!

Join us next week for Youth Voice Week! We want to hear from, and amplify, the perspectives and experiences of young people.  From Monday, March 28 to Friday, April 1, we will be sharing pieces by youth about their afterschool experiences, and what youth need after school. Afterschool...

BY: Maria Rizo      03/21/22

Celebrating Black History 365 with Howard University Television

By Keisha Nelson, Education and Outreach Manager WHUT- Howard University Television. Black History Month may only last 28 days, but opportunities for learning don’t end in February. There are many ways to celebrate the past and present contributions of Black people to U.S. history,...

BY: Guest Blogger      02/28/22

Tips for afterschool to support trans and gender non-conforming young people

Photo courtesy of The Gender Spectrum Collection. Thanks to a growing number of supports for transgender and nonbinary youth to feel safe within their school settings, afterschool programs have more resources than ever to ensure that every young person who enters their doors between the hours of...

BY: Shaun Gray      02/14/22

Anti-discrimination Take Action guides are available for free from Nickelodeon!

Sooner or later, most adults will find themselves needing to discuss big topics with young hearts and minds. While many parents and educators are comfortable acting as role models and guiding young people through certain aspects of their lives, issues like anti-racism and combatting LGBTQ+...

BY: Shaun Gray      01/18/22

Highlights from #AA3PM Rural Tweet chat

The Afterschool Alliance recently released their latest America After 3PM report, “Spiking Demand, Growing Barriers: The Trends Shaping Afterschool and Summer Learning in Rural Communities,” with an engaging and thought-provoking Twitter Chat. Here are the highlights from the...

BY: Tierra Easter      01/10/22

Racial equity: Learning for justice

Photo courtesy of Alyssa Sieb and nappy.co. By Dr. Jackie Thomspon. This blog post was originally published on the Utah Afterschool Network's blog on March 11, 2021. Langston Hughes, a great poet from the Harlem Renaissance, is one of my favorite poets. When I think about racial...

BY: Guest Blogger      01/06/22

Supporting young people to engage at the intersection of STEM & society

We are living through some challenging times—societies across the world have been battered by the COVID-19 pandemic, the climate is rapidly changing around us and making our planet less hospitable to human beings, technology is evolving at a dizzying rate with dramatic consequences, and a new...

BY: Anita Krishnamurthi      09/27/22

Guest blog: Advancing equity and inclusion in hiring and staff development in OST

By Angelica Portillo, National AfterSchool Association’s Director of Advocacy and Workforce Initiatives, and Shawna Rosenweig, Camp Fire Chief Strategy Officer and member of the National AfterSchool Association's Board. For the last 20 years, out-of-school time (OST) has...

BY: Guest Blogger      07/28/22

Afterschool supports LGBTQ students

By Tran Tonnu, marketing manager at School's Out Washington, and Janell Jordan, King County program manager. This article originally appeared on School's Out Washington's blog on June 17, 2021. It has been republished here with their permission. For LGBTQ folks, June...

BY: Guest Blogger      06/28/22

Celebrating Juneteenth in afterschool programs

Image by William Adams from Pixabay Juneteenth National Independence Day also known as Freedom Day, or Jubilee day honors the emancipation of slaves in the United States. More than 150 years after its first celebration, the Juneteenth holiday provides an opportunity to learn and teach about the...

BY: Tierra Easter      06/17/22

Meet Kaiya Jones, Afterschool Youth Ambassador

Welcome to Youth Voice Week 2022! All during the week, we'll be amplifying the voices of our Youth Ambassadors, as they share their stories and speak about the impact that afterschool has had on their lives.  Kaiya Jones is a 15-year-old student from Howard County Library System Teen...

BY: Charlotte Steinecke      04/01/22

Meet Zhonghui Zheng and Kyla Anderson, Afterschool Youth Ambassadors

Welcome to Youth Voice Week 2022! All during the week, we'll be amplifying the voices of our Youth Ambassadors, as they share their stories and speak about the impact that afterschool has had on their lives.  Zhonghui Zheng is a 17-year-old student at Global Kids Afterschool Program in...

BY: Christopher Echevarria      03/31/22

Meet Brock Brewer and Juliana Montell, Afterschool Youth Ambassadors

Welcome to Youth Voice Week 2022! All during the week, we'll be amplifying the voices of our Youth Ambassadors, as they share their stories and speak about the impact that afterschool has had on their lives.  Brock Brewer is a 16-year-old student at Youth and Family Link Afterschool...

BY: Leah Silverberg      03/30/22

Tips for afterschool to support trans and gender non-conforming young people

Photo courtesy of The Gender Spectrum Collection. Thanks to a growing number of supports for transgender and nonbinary youth to feel safe within their school settings, afterschool programs have more resources than ever to ensure that every young person who enters their doors between the hours of...

BY: Shaun Gray      02/14/22

Mentorship "show[ed] me my self-worth... the value that I have as a human."

Photo by Josh Sorenson on Unsplash The impact of afterschool and summer programs last well beyond a student’s formative years. The relationships that afterschool youth build with the adults in their programs often lead to academic success and future leadership opportunities. Mentored youth...

BY: Tierra Easter      01/25/22

Afterschool as a teacher pathway

By Sam Piha, founder and co-director of Temescal Associates and The How Kids Learn Foundation, both organizations dedicated to promoting the learning and healthy development of youth. Our national teacher shortage predated COVID-19, however there is growing evidence that suggests that the...

BY: Guest Blogger      01/20/22