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SEP
20
2017

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup: September 20, 2017

By Luci Manning

Best Speaks in Support of After-School Programs (Branson Tri-Lakes News, Missouri)

Last Tuesday, Branson Mayor Karen Best spoke at a congressional briefing organized by the Afterschool Alliance in support of federal funding for afterschool programs. Best emphasized afterschool programming’s benefits for childhood development. “I firmly believe if you have a passion, it’s your duty and obligation to fight for that passion,” Best told Branson Tri-Lakes News. “As the mayor of Branson, it’s my obligation to fight for the kids in our community.” After the panel, Best had a chance to meet with Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) and Reps. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Billy Long (R-Mo.) and Ann Wagner (R-Mo.).

SHINE for Girls: Middle School Students Dance Their Way to Better Math Scores (Pensacola News Journal, Florida)

The SHINE for Girls program aims to inspire confidence and improve math scores for middle school girls by helping them learn through dance. The program is run by two Pensacola High School seniors and gives students the opportunity to partake in interactive lessons rather than working through books or worksheets. “The idea of our program is to make it so that girls are able to do math problems and to know that just because they don’t understand right now doesn’t mean they won’t be able to in the future,” Laura Hagy, 17-year-old executive director of the Florida chapter of SHINE, told the Pensacola News Journal. Students in the program have improved their test scores by an average of 50 points.

Kids Klub Climbs into Saddle with Mid-Plains Rodeo Team (North Platte Telegraph, Nebraska)

Students in the Kids Klub Rough Riders afterschool program are learning about horse care, behavior, anatomy, nutrition and safety through a partnership with Mid-Plains Community College, Dusty Trails LLC and the West Central Research and Extension Center. Last week, Kids Klub students met with the MPCC Rodeo Team for a hands-on rodeo lesson and dinner with the crew. “This was an impressive lineup of programming and a night they won’t forget,” Kids Klub executive director Carrie Lienemann told the North Platte Telegraph. Thanks to a grant from the Nebraska Department of Education, students will participate in horseback riding lessons and other activities centered around animals and agriculture throughout the fall.

Students Turn Classroom Lessons into Musical Masterpieces (Bowling Green Daily News, Kentucky)

Adairville Elementary School assistant principal Jonathan Stovall is helping students learn classroom lessons through music in a unique summer and afterschool program. Stovall and local musicians work with students Wednesday evenings at NF Records to produce songs with original rhythms and lyrics on topics from the water cycle to the U.S. Constitution. “I wanted to build something that was engaging to kids and met kids where they’re at,” Stovall told the Bowling Green Daily News.

 

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learn more about: STEM Arts Girls In The News Physical Activity
SEP
19
2017

FUNDING
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An insider's guide to funding afterschool: Planning for the giving season

By Maria Leyva

As we start moving into fall, many nonprofit organizations are already gearing up for the giving season! According to Charity Navigator, 31 percent of charitable giving occurs in the month of December, but the time and effort involved in getting your message out means that programs should start planning now for their end-of-year campaigns.

Approach your end-of-year campaign as not only an appeal for additional support but also as an opportunity to showcase the organization’s achievements while  thanking those who helped advance your work. Keep in mind the significance of your individual donor base. According to Giving USA 2017 findings, the most comprehensive report on charitable giving in the U.S., individual giving topped off again in 2016, making up 72 percent of all charitable giving in the U.S and marking a 4 percent increase from 2015. Individual giving also grew at a faster rate than other forms of charitable giving.

Knowing that, your appeal letter to your donors is critical for success. As the first piece of communications your donors receive, the appeal letter is sometimes your only opportunity to make your pitch, so it pays off to invest time now to develop the overarching theme of your campaign. That theme should resonate throughout your letter and across all other messaging platforms.

SEP
18
2017

IN THE FIELD
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Afterschool Spotlight: Michigan Engineering Zone

By Marco Ornelas

As the home of the American auto industry and birthplace of Motown, Detroit has always been a hub for American ingenuity and creativity. But in 2013, Detroit became the largest American city to declare bankruptcy after decades of economic. The city officially exited bankruptcy in 2014 following a debt restructuring plan, but many feel that the work to get the city back on track has just begun.

Still, the transformation that’s begun in the heart of downtown Detroit, which city leaders and residents are working to channel into the outer neighborhoods, signals hope. The residents of Detroit have worked hard to fight widespread economic hardships and earned their home the nickname “Renaissance City.”

What is catalyzing the economic revival of this city? Efforts like the University of Michigan’s Michigan Engineering Zone (MEZ) are definitely a helping hand in restarting the economic engine.

SEP
15
2017

IN THE FIELD
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Guest blog: Standing up for immigrant kids

By Guest Blogger

By Sil Ganzó, executive director of ourBRIDGE for KIDS

Based in Charlotte, North Carolina, ourBRIDGE for KIDS is an afterschool program focused on helping newly-arrived and first-generation American children achieve academic success and integration into the community through innovative instructional methods and a celebration of cultural diversity. Our students represent more than 20 cultures from Southeast Asia, Africa, Middle East and Latin America.

In my role as executive director, I often have the opportunity to present our work to representatives of various corporations and foundations and meet potential advocates, volunteers, and donors who will further our mission of creating a community that embraces refugees and immigrants. The questions, feedback, and constant surge of ideas improves our program and makes my job truly exciting, and I love it. I like to think of myself as a fearless, outspoken advocate, but recently this notion was put up to the test.

SEP
14
2017

LIGHTS ON
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Sharing your story during Lights On Afterschool

By Charlotte Steinecke

Lights On Afterschool is one of the best and brightest moments in the afterschool year, which makes it the perfect time to share the amazing work you’re doing in your program every day! As you plan your Lights On event, it’s a good idea to plan how you’re going to share the news of the event before, during, and after the celebration. Taking the time to figure out how you want to use your event to tell the story of afterschool involves finding your narrative and connecting to your audience — and we have some tips to help.

What does it mean to tell the story of afterschool?  For the Afterschool Alliance, it means that we work every day to:

  • share the message that “Afterschool programs keep kids safe, inspire them to learn, and help working families,” and
  • expand those opportunities to more kids across the nation.

With that as our cornerstone, we can begin to develop stories, share images, and produce videos that prove the positive impact that afterschool programs have on our kids — and make the case for more investment in the programs and practitioners that provide these benefits.

Think about the story that you want to tell during this Lights On Afterschool. Pick something specific to your program that you can highlight in your messaging and find ways to showcase it in your event!

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learn more about: Lights On Afterschool
SEP
14
2017

POLICY
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$100 million win for afterschool as amendment passes House of Representatives

By Erik Peterson

Last night the House of Representatives voted 228 to 188 in support of the DeLauro/Lowey amendment (#161) to restore $100 million of the 21st Century Community Learning Center (21st CCLC) afterschool and summer learning funding that had been cut in the Make America Secure and Prosperous Appropriations Act (H.R. 3354). The vote sends a strong signal of bipartisan support for afterschool and summer learning programs as the appropriations process continues into the fall.

The amendment vote was the latest step in the long appropriations and spending process that began last spring when the president’s budget proposed elimination of Community Learning Centers afterschool funding. The inclusion of the amendment stands as a testament to the hard work of our field — advocates and allied organizations have delivered more than 78,600 calls and emails to Congress in support of federal funding for local afterschool and summer learning programs since March. Read Afterschool Alliance Executive Director Jodi Grant’s statement here.

SEP
13
2017

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup: September 13, 2017

By Luci Manning

Yoga Is for Keikei Too (The Garden Island, Hawaii)

Children are increasing their strength, balance, coordination, endurance, flexibility and more in afterschool yoga programs throughout Hawaii. Instructors believe that the breathing techniques and challenging poses in yoga help students learn to control their emotions, calm themselves down and support one another. “Children learn how to feel and process their emotions while in challenging poses,” Kauai Power Yoga owner and director Jessica Stein told the Garden Island. “This becomes training for life off the mat as well.”

Federal Funding Cuts Could Slash After-School Activities from Rugby to Robotics (San Diego Union-Tribune, California)

President Trump’s proposed budget cuts to the 21st Century Community Learning Centers program would strip $8.8 million from schools in San Diego County and leave nearly 6,000 students without access to afterschool programs. “Our students have a safe place to continue their learning, to connect and network with their peers and also with the community, beyond our school day,” Escondido Unified High School District assistant superintendent April Moore told the San Diego Union-Tribune. Schools across the county are looking into alternative sources of funding in order to keep the programs running even if the budget cuts go through.

A Community Garden Full of Education (MyWabashValley, Indiana)

The Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology has partnered with Benjamin Franklin Elementary School to start an afterschool gardening program that will hopefully increase access to fresh foods for Terre Haute residents. Through the two-hour afterschool program, students will maintain a school garden and eventually bring home the produce they’ve grown to share with their families. “That sense of sharing is something that just can’t be replaced…” Dr. Mark Minster told MyWabashValley. “You can buy stuff at a grocery store that you can share with other people but when you have that sense of ownership and responsibility it makes a big difference.”

From Potatoes to Robotics, 4-H Aims to Meet Children Where Their Needs Are (Bangor Daily News, Maine)

In the past several years, 4-H has moved away from its agricultural roots to increasingly prioritize STEM education. In Maine, 4-H programs reach 28,000 children, with only 3,000 participating in the traditional dairy and steer clubs. Many of the rest are conducting scientific research with graduate students, learning about marine life, programming robots and participating in other engaging, hands-on STEM activities through summer and afterschool programs. “4-H has always been about teaching kids life skills,” Maine’s 4-H program administrator, Lisa Phelps, told the Bangor Daily News. “Now those skills are going to be valuable whether you’re learning how to take care of an animal, or whether you’re learning to build a robot.” 

SEP
13
2017

POLICY
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Diverse voices gather on Capitol Hill to testify for afterschool

By Jillian Luchner

On September 12, 2017 the Senate Afterschool Caucus led by Senators Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Franken (D-Minn.) hosted a “Back to Afterschool” briefing highlighting a diverse panel of experts from the military, health, education, government, and philanthropic sectors. Each speaker attested to the value of afterschool and summer programs from their unique vantage point and the need for a combination of federal, state, and local support.

Afterschool Alliance Executive Director Jodi Grant opened the panel by noting that the research on the positive impacts of afterschool programs is clear, and programs across the country are making a huge difference for students and families.

“The effectiveness of high quality afterschool and summer programs,” Grant stated, “should not be in question. Support for these programs runs wide and deep.”