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Afterschool Snack, the afterschool blog. The latest research, resources, funding and policy on expanding quality afterschool and summer learning programs for children and youth. An Afterschool Alliance resource.
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Snacks by Erik Peterson
SEP
29

LIGHTS ON
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Senate passes Lights On Afterschool resolution

By Erik Peterson

On Sept. 17 the U.S. Senate unanimously passed bipartisan resolution S. Res. 552 celebrating afterschool programs in honor of upcoming Lights On Afterschool Day on Oct. 23, 2014. Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), chair of the Senate Afterschool Caucus, authored the resolution, which was co-sponsored by Sens. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Mary Landrieu (D-La.), Tim Johnson (D-S.D.) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.).

Lights On Afterschool is celebrated by thousands of parents, students, leaders and educators around the country, who will join together in October to celebrate the power of afterschool programs to improve the lives of young people.  A large and growing body of evidence demonstrates improvements in school-day attendance, behavior, academic achievement and more among children who participate in afterschool programs. Researchers have also found that afterschool programs encourage increased parental involvement—an important building block for student success.

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learn more about: Afterschool Caucus America After 3PM Congress
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SEP
24

POLICY
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House, Senate approve FY15 continuing resolution

By Erik Peterson

With 12 days remaining in the current federal fiscal year, both chambers approved a continuing resolution (CR) late last week ensuring that the federal government will be funded and operational through Dec. 11. The stopgap measure is funded at $1 trillion, which is less than the Senate would like but more than the Budget Control Act actually allows.  Once the bill expires in mid-December, Congress will have to decide whether to extend the CR a few more months until the next Congress gets organized, or to go ahead and fund federal operations for the remainder of the fiscal year. It's not too late to reach out to your representative and senators to encourage their support of afterschool programs.

Congress is now in recess until after the Nov. 4 election. The Senate has already announced its Nov. 12 return. When Congress returns it will resume as a lame duck session that could address a number of issues in addition to the CR. Many Members of Congress will be in their districts campaigning next month, which presents an excellent opportunity to invite incumbents and candidates to Lights On Afterschool celebrations as a way to raise awareness of  the impact that afterschool and summer learning programs have on children, youth, their families and communities.

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learn more about: Budget Congress Election Legislation
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SEP
16

POLICY
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House reauthorizes Child Care Development Block Grant

By Erik Peterson

Last night the House of Representatives passed S.1086–The Child Care and Development Block Grant Act of 2014: Amended Version. The bipartisan, bicameral bill represents a compromise of the legislation that passed the Senate in March by a vote of 96-2.  Due to the changes in the House version, the Senate will need to pass the bill again before it can go the president’s desk to be signed into law. The Senate is expected to take action this month. This marks the first time in 18 years that comprehensive Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) reauthorization legislation has passed both the House and Senate.

The bill that passed last night  reflects a bipartisan agreement reached by Congressional leaders last week to reauthorize CCDBG after several months of negotiations by Reps. John Kline (R-Minn.), George Miller (D-Calif.), Todd Rokita (R-Ind.) and David Loebsack (D-Iowa), as well as Sens. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), and Richard Burr (R-N.C.). The agreement will enhance transparency, strengthen health and safety protections, and improve the quality of care for children of low-income families aged birth to 13.

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learn more about: Congress Equity Federal Funding Legislation Working Families
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AUG
22

POLICY
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Child Protection Improvement Act gaining momentum in Congress

By Erik Peterson

Congress is out on August recess until early September, however discussions on a variety of topics continue to take place. In particular, momentum appears to be growing in support of the Child Protection Improvement Act (S. 1362). The bipartisan legislation introduced by Sens. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) about one year ago seeks to establish affordable access to an all-encompassing criminal background check database system accessible by afterschool and other youth-serving organizations. While all youth-serving organizations can check the in-state criminal records of job applicants and volunteers, only one-third of states provide these organizations with access to the FBI database to conduct nationwide criminal background checks.

Earlier this summer, Sen. Schumer joined afterschool and youth organizations in New York for a press event highlighting the need and potential impact of the legislation. The bill builds off of the now expired pilot program created by the PROTECT Act of 2004 that gave selected youth-serving organizations access to nationwide criminal records.  Statistics from that program show the importance of having comprehensive background checks.   In that program, 6 percent of applicants had a criminal record that should have prevented them from working with children.  Additionally, 40 percent of those crimes were not committed in the same state in which the person applied for the job or volunteer opportunity, meaning that the record would be undetected without a nationwide criminal record search.

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learn more about: Congress Federal Policy Legislation
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AUG
8

IN THE FIELD
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Guest Blog: After-School All-Stars youth leaders from across the nation converge on Washington, D.C.

By Erik Peterson

Guest blog by Alyssa Plotkin, national program assistant for the After-School All-Stars.

 

“Because of After-School All-Stars, I feel like I’m important, that my opinion matters. I’m so fortunate to have been chosen to be a yabbie. I feel happier, more social and more knowledgeable.” – Citlali of ASAS Los Angeles

After-School All-Stars (ASAS), a leading national provider of comprehensive out-of-school-time programs that serves more than 90,000 children in 13 cities across the U.S.—brought 40 extraordinary 8th grade leaders and staff to Washington, D.C., in July for a week-long leadership summit. Each chapter, from New York to Hawaii, selected an outstanding student-based on their leadership abilities, strong attendance, academic performance and unwavering commitment to community service.

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learn more about: Advocacy Afterschool Voices Congress Guest Blog
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AUG
6

IN THE FIELD
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Guest Blog: Afterschool programs addressing healthy living and food insecurity through HEPA standards

By Erik Peterson

Pam Watkins is the vice president of youth development services at YMCA Youth Development Services in Kansas City, Kansas, and a 2013-2014 Afterschool Ambassador.

 

The YMCA of Greater Kansas City is one of many afterschool programs nationwide that has embraced the Healthy Eating and Physical Activity (HEPA) standards. Recently, at one of our afterschool sites with a high rate of students receiving free or reduced-priced lunch, we had a family that had just moved here from California and enrolled four of their children in our program.  The oldest child, Juan (name has been changed to keep anonymity), was ever-watchful over his siblings and was constantly correcting them if they were doing something inappropriate.  After about a week the site supervisor overheard Juan tell his siblings that they needed to eat a snack because their mom had said she wasn't sure whether they would have dinner that night or not.  When the site supervisor pulled Juan off to the side, he told her that his dad had still not found a job and his mom was working two part time jobs—but it still wasn't enough and they usually didn't have money for food.

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learn more about: Afterschool Voices Afterschool Ambassadors Guest Blog Nutrition Working Families Community Partners
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AUG
4

IN THE FIELD
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Guest Blog: Taking action to provide physical activity afterschool

By Erik Peterson

Wendy Broderick is Chief Development Office of the YMCA of Columbia, SC, and a 2013-2014 Afterschool Ambassador

 

In August 2011, the YMCA of the USA adopted the Healthy Eating and Physical Activity Standards (HEPA Standards) for their afterschool and summer day camp programs. The HEPA Standards outline goals for 1) the nutritional quality of the foods and beverages provided in afterschool programs and those foods and beverages consumed in summer day camps and 2) the amount of physical activity children accumulate while attending these programs.

The YMCA of Columbia and personnel from University of South Carolina partnered together to create strategies to meet the HEPA Standards.  A collaborative workgroup met monthly from September 2011 to May 2012 to identify areas where the programs could be modified, without substantial monetary investment, to achieve the HEPA Standards. The result of these meetings was the development of a comprehensive and coordinated set of strategies called STEPs to HEPA (Strategies To Enhance Practice). STEPs to HEPA were adopted January 2012. Evaluation before the strategies were implemented took place during July, September, and October 2011. Evaluation of the impact of the strategies took place April 2012 through August 2013. 

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learn more about: Afterschool Ambassadors Guest Blog Health and Wellness Nutrition State Policy Sustainability
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AUG
1

IN THE FIELD
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New BGCA Great Futures Campaign elevates the role of out-of-school time

By Erik Peterson

This week the Boys & Girls Clubs of America launched the Great Futures Campaign to call attention to the crisis facing America’s young people and to "redefine the opportunity equation" by elevating the role of out-of-school-time programs in reversing negative trends like poor academic performance, obesity, drug use, and youth-related violence. The Great Futures Campaign seeks to mobilize the nation in support of afterschool and summer learning programs that tackle these issues to inspire and empower more youth toward success.

The campaign identifies out-of-school-time programs as a key component of the solution to America’s youth crisis—but emphasizes that every day, 15 million kids (1 in 4) leave school with no place to go, putting them at risk of being unsupervised, unguided and unsafe. During the summer, an alarming 43 million (3 out of 4) kids in America lack access to summer learning programs, increasing their risk of learning loss and putting them at a disadvantage for the next school year.

The Afterschool Alliance supports the Great Futures Campaign in its mission to build additional support for afterschool, before school and summer learning programs. Research shows that out-of-school-time programs work: young people who attend afterschool and summer learning programs have better attendance, improved behavior, higher grades and improved test scores among other outcomes. Boys & Girls Clubs offer a variety of programs in the areas of education, health and nutrition, and character and leadership development at its more than 4,100 clubs nationwide. BGCA is also developing new programs to close the achievement gap for children most in need, including expanding programs like Summer Brain Gain to prevent summer learning loss, enhance STEM programs to nurture 21st century skills, and deploy a robust teen engagement strategy to ensure more young adults are on track to graduate from high school and become college- or career-ready.

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learn more about: Advocacy Celebrities Summer Learning Academic Enrichment Youth Development
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