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Snacks by Charlotte Steinecke
JUL
25
2017

LIGHTS ON
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Congratulations to Angela Mamun, winner of the 2017 Lights On Afterschool poster contest

By Charlotte Steinecke

Angela Mamun is a Renaissance woman–or at least she’s learning to be. And she’s found the right afterschool program to help her grow her talents.

“I think to be a good student you have to be good in everything, or at least know how to do everything,” said the 11th grade student at Youth Policy Institute (YPI). The winner of the 2017 Lights On Afterschool poster contest was describing an educational philosophy, but the theory applies to her poster design as well.

“The prompt asked for us to focus on one aspect of the afterschool program, but I thought that I could not focus on just one,” Angela explained. “Every aspect of YPI ties in together, so I felt it was important to incorporate everything. As for the lamp, that would be the lights-on part, and the book and the tree represent that YPI is a place where young minds can grow.”

After reviewing hundreds of applications and posters from across the country, Angela’s design cinched the public’s vote in May, with a final count of 466 Facebook likes and other reactions. The design will be printed on more than 50,000 posters and sent to more than 8,000 programs nationwide—and for the first time ever, the contest winner’s program received a $500 cash prize.

Angela had been at Youth Policy Institute for six months when she entered the Lights On Afterschool poster contest. In addition to providing homework help, tutoring in a range of schoolwork and non-schoolwork subjects, and a safe place for students to go afterschool, YPI offers a STEM club, an arts club, and a club that focuses on volunteering and supporting local immigrant families. All of the clubs are student-led, providing opportunities for students to define their interests and take the lead on making change in their community.

JUL
20
2017

LIGHTS ON
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Lights On Afterschool registration opens today!

By Charlotte Steinecke

Get ready for a huge celebration—today is the official start of Lights On Afterschool! Registration opens today, so head over to the Lights On Afterschool site to tell us how your program is planning to join in the rally!

Last year’s Lights On Afterschool saw exactly 8,200 events held across the USA and the world, making it the brightest year ever. One million people joined together to shine a light on the amazing work that afterschool programs are doing to improve the lives of kids and families in their communities—and it’s more important than ever to share those stories across the country!

This year, we’re connecting programs with elected officials to show community leaders how afterschool works; amplifying the important work that out-of-school time programs do for kids’ health and wellness; showcasing the amazing science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) learning opportunities in afterschool; and celebrating the partnerships between afterschool programs and libraries across the country. 

Here’s how you can get involved:

Start getting the word out today! Share your plans for this year's #LightsOnAfterschool, tell the world how #afterschoolworks, and connect with us on TwitterFacebook, and Instagram.

share this link: http://bit.ly/2uGpwkI
learn more about: Lights On Afterschool
JUN
27
2017

IN THE FIELD
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Join us for a Day of Action to support summer learning

By Charlotte Steinecke

Summer isn’t a vacation for everyone. When schools close during the summer months, more than 25 million low-income students in America lose access to affordable food, safe places to spend the day, and opportunities to engage in learning and maintain the skills they’ve developed during the school year. And the effects don’t end when school is back in session: the culumative impact of academic skills lost each summer can leave low-income fifth graders up to three years behind their peers.

Summer should be for water slides, not achievement slides.

On June 28, the National Summer Learning Association (NSLA) is bringing support for summer learning opportunities straight to Capitol Hill—and your help will be key! NSLA has set a few goals that supporters at home can help them meet:

  • Raise awareness among Congressional Members and staff of summer learning loss as well as the risks for young people related to health and safety during the summer
  • Share the impact of effective programs in their state or district, using both data and stories
  • Ask for support of key federal programs that support summer activities at the local level
  • Build a relationship with your elected officials and their staff

Mark your calendar for June 28 and be ready to send an email urging Congress to support funding for the programs that help students thrive year-round.

After the email, head over to NSLA’s website to learn more about Summer Learning Day (July 13). You can register your event and find resources for families and students, communities, and elected officials, along with factsheets and a calendar of events near you.

JUN
16
2017

IN THE FIELD
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What's afterschool got to do with the military?

By Charlotte Steinecke

U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Jonathan P. Idle.

Every day, our country is kept safe and secure by the brave members of our armed forces, who have dedicated their lives to serving their nation. But these individuals are more than soldiers – they’re parents, guardians, and members of their communities, and their lives out of uniform are filled with the familiar concerns of civilian life.

One of those concerns is the safety of their children in the hours after school, before parents can be home, and the opportunities afforded to kids to during this time.  The parents in our armed forces need to know that their children are cared for after the school bell rings, and both enlisted and civilian parents find that afterschool programs help them focus on the missions or  jobs before them. What kids are doing after school matters, too. Military leaders and civilians alike agree that afterschool provides important - opportunities for kids to be  engaged  in productive, hands-on educational activities.

JUN
15
2017

FUNDING
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Funding opportunity: Up to $1,000 for environmental service-learning

By Charlotte Steinecke

The future of the planet belongs to our kids, and afterschool programs offer one of the best opportunities for students and youth to engage in environmental stewardship projects that connect classroom experiences of environmental science with the real world. If your afterschool program has a focus on environmental service-learning and neighborhood improvement, you can help build those connections with the Project Learning Tree GreenWorks! grants.

Grant recipients will receive up to $1,000 to use for recycling programs, water and energy conservation initiatives, school gardens and outdoor classrooms, natural habitat restoration, and much more. Find inspiration for your project in the GreenWorks! guide, where you can read about successful action plans and find the best strategies to build a great proposal.

The deadline to apply is September 30 and funding will be distributed in December 2017.

JUN
8
2017

CHALLENGE
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Memorable moments from the Afterschool for All Challenge

By Charlotte Steinecke

We’ve had a whirlwind two days in Washington, D.C., working with afterschool youth, parents, program providers, and concerned community members in anticipation of meetings with members of Congress. The Afterschool for All Challenge kicked off with a day of workshops and sessions, followed by a showcase on the Hill with speakers including Sens. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), and Reps. Bobby Scott (D-Va.) and Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.).

On Wednesday, teams from 45 states and D.C. attended 200 meetings all across the Hill to bring the case for afterschool to the Capitol. The delegations got an early start with a prep session at 7:30 a.m. and met with elected officials throughout the day – and even into the evening.

The 2017 Afterschool for All Challenge was an inspiring event for friends of afterschool across the country! Here are a few snapshots from Tuesday and Wednesday:

JUN
6
2017

RESEARCH
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Evaluating afterschool: Answering questions about quality

By Charlotte Steinecke

By Jocelyn Michelsen, Senior Research Associate at Public Profit, an Oakland, California-based evaluation consultancy focused on helping high-performing organizations do their best, data-driven work with children, youth, and families.

The Afterschool Alliance is pleased to present the fifth installment of our "Evaluating afterschool" blog series, which answers some of the common questions asked about program evaluation. Be sure to take a look at the firstsecondthirdand fourth posts of the series.

Raise your hand if this scenario sounds familiar: you keep up with new research on afterschool by reading articles and newsletters, following thought leaders, and attending conferences—but it is still hard to sort through all the information, let alone implement new strategies. Research often seems out of touch with the realities of programs on the ground, and while many anecdotal examples are offered, how-to guidelines are few and far between.

As an evaluator consulting with diverse afterschool programs across the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond, I frequently hear this frustration from program leaders. There is a real gap between the research and the steps that staff, leadership, and boards can take to build quality in their own programs. Additionally, it can be hard to sift through the research to get to the ‘why’—why implement these recommendations, why invest time and resources, why change?

share this link: http://bit.ly/2sPaDIQ
learn more about: Evaluation and Data
MAY
26
2017

IN THE FIELD
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Sign your organization to the HOST Coalition letter

By Charlotte Steinecke

With the Trump administration’s full FY2018 budget released just this week, it’s time for afterschool programs, professionals, and organizations to rally together and push back against a budget that would eliminate federal afterschool and out-of-school time funding.

The Healthy Out-of-School Time Coalition has drafted a letter to Congress that sends a strong, unified message in support of federal policies and programs that promote health and wellness for children across the country. The letter particularly mentions the ways afterschool, before-school, and summer learning programs provide a crucial link between federal health and wellness policies for children and the real life actions that help children grow up strong, active, and at a healthy childhood weight.

“With an established record of accomplishment, afterschool and summer learning programs should not be underestimated as potential 'game changers' in promoting wellness among young people and therefore funding that support these programs must be maintained,” the letter reads.

National or state organizations are strongly urged to sign the letter in order to demonstrate the broad support for healthy out of school time programs.

Read the letter here. To sign on, click here and complete the form by 5 p.m. EDT on Friday, June 2.