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MAY
27
2016

IN THE FIELD
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Dive into coding for this month's HALO Effect Challenge!

By Robert Abare

Christina Li appears on The HALO Effect

The HALO Effect is a new live action show from Nickelodeon that tells the story of extraordinary teens who are working to improve our world. Each episode features the story of a “Champion” who is Helping And Leading Others to make a positive difference, like Jaylen Arnold of February’s episode or Jessica Collins of the show’s January premiere.

This month’s episode, which aired on May 20th, featured the story of 17-year-old Christina Li of Sterling Heights, MI. When Christina was only 8, she and her friends picked up a copy of HTML for Dummies and began building websites for fun. Christina and coding "clicked," and after she joined her school's Robotics Club, she found a coding mentor in her computer science teacher.

Since those early days, coding has taken Christina to a number of amazing accomplishments. She has won scholarships to attend summer sessions at Stanford; she won Microsoft’s Youthspark Challenge for Change; and she attended a summer program at MIT where she researched drone technology.

Coding isn’t just for boys

Out of nearly 100 attendees at the MIT summer program, Christina was one of only two girls. That’s when she decided to make a change. Christina learned about other women who had set up events to teach young girls how to code. When her school’s mostly male Robotics Club showed little interest in hosting an all-girl event, Christina decided to do it by herself by creating the coding camp Hello, World.

MAY
27
2016

IN THE FIELD
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Women leaders explain how afterschool empowers girls

By Robert Abare

Earlier this month, we told you about the Afterschool Alliance's participation in the #GirlsAre campaign, launched by the Alliance for a Healthier Generation and the Clinton Foundation to encourage young girls to live more active lives. The campaign aims to combat damaging trends facing America's girls, like the fact that the total number of minutes girls participate in vigorous physical activity drops by 86 percent netween the ages of 6 and 17.

The Alliance for a Healthier Generation recently published a Q&A with four women leaders in the afterschool field to discuss their personal and professional perspectives on girls' fitness. Considering that over 10 million children across the USA participate in afterschool programs—gaining access to exercise opportunties and healthy foods—afterschool can clearly play a huge role in this movement to level the playing field. 

The Q&A included the Afterschool Alliance's Director of Health and Wellness Initiatives, Tiereny Lloyd. "Since afterschool programs are attended by boys and girls evenly, the afterschool setting is a great opportunity to provide inclusive co-ed physical activity opportunities," she said.

Click here to read more!

It's not too late to tell the world who you think #GirlsAre! Use the campaign hashtag on social media to share what girls are accomplishing near you.

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MAY
26
2016

POLICY
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Child nutrition bill clears House Education Committee, yet raises major concerns

By Erik Peterson

On May 18, 2016, the House Education and the Workforce Committee, chaired by Rep. John Kline (R-MN), approved H.R. 5003, the Improving Child Nutrition and Education Act of 2016. Introduced by Rep. Todd Rokita (R-IN), the legislation reauthorizes and reforms federal child nutrition programs. The bill passed the committee by a partisan vote of 20 to 14. The bill would reauthorize the federal child nutrition programs, including the Child and Adult Food Care Food Program (CACFP) At-Risk Afterschool Meals program and the Summer Food Service Program; however, many of the proposed changes could result in children no longer being able to access the nutritious meals they need to learn and be healthy.

Among the general provisions in the bill of major concern to afterschool and child nutrition advocates:

  • Failing to address shortfalls in the summer food program (especially from an out-of-school time perspective). The streamlining provision in the bill does not allow nonprofit organizations and local government agencies (that are not schools) to operate the Summer Food Service Program year-round. Instead, sponsors receive the lower CACFP reimbursement rate, and fewer sites are eligible in order to qualify for streamlining. Rather than making it easier for providers to offer meals seamlessly throughout the calendar year, the proposed provision would result in fewer programs offering meals to children in need due to the limited eligibility and lower reimbursement rate. 
  • Significantly weakening the community eligibility provision (CEP). Community eligibility is a federal option in its second year of nationwide implementation that reduces administrative work and increases school lunch and breakfast access in high-poverty schools. The bill proposes to substantially reduce the number of high-poverty schools that are eligible to implement community eligibility, which would impact approximately 7,000 of the 18,000 schools currently participating in the program. 11,000 additional schools not currently participating would lose the option to implement community eligibility in future years.
  • Increasing verification requirements. The bill dramatically increases school meal application verification requirements in ways that inevitably would cause eligible students to lose access to free or reduced-price school meals. Under the proposal, the number of household applications to be verified would increase significantly for many school districts, creating paperwork burdens for schools and families. A disproportionate number of vulnerable families, such as those who are homeless, migrant, immigrant or have limited English proficiency, would fall through the cracks in the process and lose access to school meals even though they are eligible.
  • Block granting school meals. The legislation also includes a three state school meal block grant demonstration pilot to replace the School Breakfast, National School Lunch, Special Milk, and Team Nutrition programs. The funding would be capped and cannot exceed the amount a state received for the programs and administrative funding in fiscal year 2016. The funding for school breakfast and lunch is limited to the free and reduced-price reimbursements (eliminating about 29 cents per meal provided for other children) and takes away the additional six cents per lunch provided to schools in the Healthy Hunger Free Kids Act of 2010 for meeting the new federal nutrition standards. The states would have broad discretion to: determine which children are eligible for free or reduced-price meals and how they are determined eligible; decide the time of year that meals are provided; and abandon the current nutrition standards (meals are only required to be “healthy”).
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learn more about: Advocacy Budget Congress Nutrition
MAY
25
2016

CHALLENGE
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You took the Challenge, and Congress listened!

By Robert Abare

Executive Director of the Afterschool Alliance Jodi Grant and After-School All-Stars D.C. participant Kyle Brewer present Rep. Bobby Scott (D, VA-03) with an "Afterschool Hero" cape to honor his heroic support of afterschool in Congress. Photo by Herman Farrer.

On Monday, May 23, and Tuesday, May 24, the 15th annual Afterschool for All Challenge brought more than 150 afterschool advocates from across the country to Washington, D.C. for two days of learning, advocating, and celebrating out-of-school time programs. Thanks to the collaboration and enthusiasm of these participants—supported by messages to Congress sent from advocates nationwide—this year's Challenge was a huge success! 

Here are the amazing accomplishments of this year's Challenge:

  • More than 150 participants from 36 states, including Alaska and Hawaii.
  • More than 160 visits to Congressional offices on Capitol Hill, many of which were attended by Members of Congress.
  • Workshops on the latest in afterschool, including child nutrition reauthorizationadvocacy during election season, and afterschool in rural America.
  • A panel discussion and Q&A with staffers of Members of Congress who played a key role in supporting afterschool programs in the nation’s new education law, the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).
  • An Afterschool Showcase on Capitol Hill, featuring performances and demonstrations by local and national afterschool programs, and remarks by Senators and Representatives who championed out-of-school time programs in Congress.
  • Nearly 800 messages sent to Congress by participants of the Virtual Afterschool for All Challenge.
MAY
25
2016

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup: May 25, 2016

By Luci Manning

To Bridge the Gap (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Arkansas)

Joyce Willis, educational programs manager for the Clinton Foundation, makes the case for summer learning programs in the Arkansas Democrat Gazette: “Summer learning loss, also known as the ‘summer slide,’ affects nearly every student in the country…. This education loss is even more severe for students from low-income families who fall nearly three months behind in the summer…. That’s why it’s important for communities to come together and create opportunities for our students—all our students—to have access to quality educational and literacy programs.”

Organizers: Program for Inner-City Kids is Difference Between Life and Death (WHO, Iowa)

A ten-week summer program is attempting to transform Des Moines’ poorest neighborhoods into safe places for kids. “Doing More in the Core” is providing grants to non-profits and community organizations that offer activities for young people from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. throughout the summer, a time when police say youths are most likely to get into trouble. “Everybody’s home situation isn’t the best,” Oakridge Neighborhood site coordinator Stephen Williams told WHO. “Giving them an opportunity or a place to go or services that they can benefit from or learn from may help save a life.”

“There’s a Lot of Devastation,” After-School Programs Brace for Budget Cuts (KFOR, Oklahoma)

Oklahoma City Public Schools’ looming budget cuts will start affecting students this week as summer programs try to handle the cutbacks. Struggling students will lose out on tutoring, fun activities and meals thanks to the $30 million in planned reductions. “So, the kids will be home alone, a lot of them or out getting in trouble,” Boys & Girls Clubs CEO Jane Sutter told KFOR. “It’s a very economically challenged area of our community. There are not a lot of options for those kids. So, not only will they not get a nutritious meal probably during the day, they won’t have positive activities to help them grow and learn…  It is really time for our state leadership, our community leadership, everybody to make kids come first.”

Shaking up Fitness (Austin American-Statesman, Texas)

Middle school students throughout Austin are learning that biking and running are more than just ways to stay fit – they’re a way to build confidence, make friends and, most importantly, have fun. Boneshaker Project runs youth exercise programs at recreation centers and schools throughout the city, fulfilling its mission to foster a lifestyle of activity and movement. The nonprofit targets middle school kids, according to founder Todd Reed, because it’s an underserved age group when it comes to these sorts of programs. “We all realize there are more resources available to elementary kids than middle school kids,” he told the Austin American-Statesman. “There’s a gap there, at a time when kids are very impressionable.”

MAY
23
2016

FUNDING
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An insider's guide to funding afterschool: Connecting donors to your mission

By Ed Spitzberg

The Afterschool Alliance is pleased to present the second installment of "An insider's guide to funding afterschool," a new blog series by Ed Spitzberg, Vice President of Development at the Afterschool Alliance, featuring strategies to successfully fund and sustain out-of-school time programs. 

So now that you’ve leveraged the resources you have (see last month’s post), let’s talk about how to link donors to your organization.

What’s the best way to connect donors to your organization?  Well, personal relationships are important, sure. But you want long-term gifts… gifts that are tied to the organization, not any one individual. You want donors to have a relationship with the organization.

And what makes a relationship between a donor and your organization? Many things of course, but most important (and most obvious if you’ve peeked at the title of this post) is connection to your organization's mission.

So, how do you make this connection?

  • Stories about impact – Share with donors about specific kids (without identifying information, of course) who have benefited from your program. How did they participate in your program? What changes did they have in their lives after participating in your program?
  • Chance to observe program – Even better than stories: have them see your work, meet your kids and understand firsthand the impact you make.
  • Chance to participate in program – And even better than observing is participating. They can volunteer to be a mentor, serve on the board or enroll their own children. 
  • Persistently friendly communication – Make sure they know the work you do throughout the year. Call, send e-mails, etc. Persistence is good. Annoyance isn’t, so make sure you have a good feel as to where to draw the line.
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learn more about: Sustainability Community Partners
MAY
20
2016

IN THE FIELD
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Ensure your organization complies with new labor rules

By Irina Zabello

Last Wednesday, May 18, the Labor Department issued a new final rule that may have implications for your program and program staff. The Afterschool Alliance will be sharing links to the latest webinars, briefings and guidelines for the new ruling as they appear. Whether or not your organization is subject to these changes will depend on your state laws.

What are the changes?

New overtime rule

The Department of Labor has announced a final rule that will substantially increase the minimum salary requirement for certain employees to be considered exempt from overtime. The new rule takes effect December 1, 2016, and is expected to extend overtime protections to 4.2 million more workers. To comply, employers may either need to raise exempt employees' salaries or reclassify affected employees as non-exempt and pay overtime when applicable.

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requires virtually all employers to pay most employees at least the federal minimum wage for each hour worked, as well as overtime pay for all hours worked in excess of 40 hours in a workweek. The FLSA allows for exemptions from these overtime and minimum wage requirements for certain "exempt" employees. To be considered exempt, these employees must generally satisfy specific salary and duties requirements:

  • Meet the minimum salary requirement;
  • With very limited exceptions, the employer must pay the employee their full salary in any week they perform work, regardless of the quality or quantity of the work; and
  • The employee's primary duties must meet certain criteria.
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learn more about: Sustainability
MAY
19
2016

CHALLENGE
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Amplify afterschool voices on Capitol Hill

By Robert Abare

Participants from 2014's Afterschool for All Challenge meet with Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada.

Next Tuesday, May 24, more than 150 afterschool advocates from across the country will descend on Capitol Hill for the 2016 Afterschool for All Challenge. This year's Challenge participants will build support for afterschool among national legislators at a critical time, as Congress prepares to determine funding levels for the only federal funding source for afterschool programs, the 21st Century Community Learning Centers inititative.

Here's what we have planned for this year's Challenge:

Join the excitement! Take the Virtual Challenge

You can play a major role in boosting the voice of advocates visiting Congress by taking the Virtual Afterschool for All Challenge in your community.

Right now, you can help the most by sending a message to your representatives, asking them to increase funding levels for 21st CCLC by $133 million for FY2017, bringing the total to $1.3 billion and allowing 140,000 additional children to access afterschool, before-school and summer learning programs.

In just a single click, you can add your voice to our Thunderclap, which sends a syncronized blast of messages supporting afterschool on social media. If you're seeking a deeper way to get involved—and a lasting impact for your community—learn about setting up a site visit to your program.

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