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Snacks by Charlotte Steinecke
FEB
16
2018

IN THE FIELD
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From D.C. to Johannesburg, music makes STEM learning sing

By Charlotte Steinecke

“If you’re passionate about anything, there really is no limit to what you can do,” says Lemond Brown, president and CEO of Swaliga Foundation. “That passion is contagious. People want to know ‘Well, why are they so passionate about that? How can I have that same thing?’”

“Swaliga,” meaning “passion,” comes from the island of St. Martin. It’s the watchword for an innovative afterschool program in Washington, D.C., that connects youth with innovative education opportunities by uniting a love of music and arts with science, math, engineering, and technology (STEM) learning.

Since opening at the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Washington in 2012, Swaliga Foundation has served more than 6,000 youth worldwide. In the next five years, they’re looking to connect with 1 million young people worldwide – a goal Brown and his team are passionate about.

“Our mission is to become the world’s premiere source for innovative youth education.”

How do you innovate youth education in the age of the iPhone? Swaliga Foundation aims to change the way young people use technology by making technology producers out of technology consumers. They teach the technological skills necessary to effect that transformation by tying them to the interests students already have—their passions for sound-mixing, composing music, shooting videos, and beyond.

FEB
13
2018

IN THE FIELD
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Our hearts are broken

By Charlotte Steinecke

The Trump administration has zeroed out the budget for afterschool for the second year in the row. We're heartbroken by the news, but the budget battle isn't over yet and we're turning heartbreak into action.

This Valentine's Day, use the resources on the We Love Afterschool landing page to share a message with your representatives. In addition to the heartbreak .gif above, we have a .gif you can use to thank supportive representatives (find their handles here), a printable graphic for your students to illustrate, and a collection of plug-and-play sample social media you can adapt to your audience or use as-is!

We'll be watching the tag #IHeartAfterschool tomorrow, along with #AfterschoolWorks. And you can strike while the iron is hot—share your love of afterschool with your representatives in Congress and urge them to support funding for afterschool programs. 

share this link: http://bit.ly/2EpN9A3
learn more about: Events
FEB
8
2018

IN THE FIELD
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STEM funding opp: Enter the 2018 Possibility Grants sweepstakes

By Charlotte Steinecke

Make your lab a little more fab: enter the Siemens 2018 Possibility Grant Sweepstakes! K-12 schools are eligible to enroll in the sweepstakes and vote daily for their school, from now until the deadline on April 27. Check out the possibilities with the #IDreamofSTEM hashtag.

Grant Name: 2018 Possibility Grant Sweepstakes

Description: $10,000 to spend on STEM technology and resources.

Eligibility requirements: All K-12 schools are eligible to apply. Educators can enter daily. The winner will be chosen through random drawing.

Deadline: 5 p.m. ET on April 27, 2018.

How to apply: You can enter daily for a chance to win – simply enter your school information here, and you’ll be able to vote for your school as often as you’d like! Previous winners are not eligible to enter. See the official rules here.

share this link: http://bit.ly/2Eblq6g
learn more about: Funding Opportunity STEM
FEB
6
2018

CHALLENGE
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Get ready for We Love Afterschool 2018!

By Charlotte Steinecke

Mark your calendars — February 14 is We Love Afterschool! Starting now, we’re celebrating the millions of reasons to love America’s afterschool programs, and we want to see why you and your students love afterschool!

Joining in can make for an easy and fun activity for your program in the days leading up to Valentine’s Day. We've prepared a printable for participants to decorate with the reasons they love afterschool, plus some customizable social media samples to share your story.

Taking part is simple. All you have to do is:

  1. Download the toolkit.
  2. Make copies of the included We Love Afterschool sign.
  3. Ask students (and parents!) to fill them out.
  4. Snap photos of the finished product and share them on social media with the hashtags #AfterschoolWorks and #IHeartAfterschool! (You'll also find ready-to-use graphics, a Facebook frame, and .gifs to share on social media!)

Ready to get started? Download the toolkit now.

share this link: http://bit.ly/2E68WwC
learn more about: Afterschool Voices Events
JAN
9
2018

FUNDING
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New grant opp: Start a physical activity program with GO! Grants

By Charlotte Steinecke

Get your students active in the new year with a GO! Grant. Launched in 2015 through a partnership between PHIT America, KIDS in the GAME, and the Sports and Fitness Industry Association, GO! Grants are available for all schools, grades K-12, who wish to add a more robust physical activity component to their programming.

These grants offer equipment and registration or activation of a physical activity program for your school. You’ll be asked to rate the five programs in order of your preference to participate. Here are the possibilities:

  • HOPSports Brain Breaks®: Recipients will receive two registration activations to utilize the HOPSports Brain Breaks® platform.
  • Morning Mile: Recipients will receive a full start up pack to activate Morning Mile at their school.
  • STEM Soccer: Recipients will receive one full STEM Soccer package.
  • USAMiniVolley: Recipients will receive Minivolley kit.
  • USTA Net Generation: Recipients will receive access to their suite of teaching and promotional tools, starter kits with curriculum and Net Generation gear, and event opportunities.

Want to learn more? Check out the FAQ to learn more about the five-minute application process. The deadline for applications is Monday, January 15. 

share this link: http://bit.ly/2EpXega
learn more about: Health and Wellness Physical Activity
DEC
7
2017

STEM
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Promising practices: Hybrid tech/analog system grows STEM mentoring

By Charlotte Steinecke

Keshia Ashe and a student at Tubman Elementary

During CS Ed Week, we wanted to highlight an initiative that pushes the envelope on excellence in computer science and STEM. Keshia Ashe, the co-founder and chief executiver officer of ManyMentors, sat down to talk about afterschool, STEM mentoring, and fostering the growth of underrepresented communities in the STEM field.

In 2011, Keshia Ashe didn’t know she was starting a business. She just knew she saw a problem.

A graduate student at the time, Ashe was mentoring a group of tenth graders, many of whom were interested in pursuing medical school once they graduated. She reached out to friends in the field but kept hearing a familiar story.

“A lot of my friends said, ‘I can’t come, I’m busy, I don’t have the time to drive an hour to interface with the students,’” Ashe recalls. “At the time, Skype was really starting to gain some traction and not have so many technical difficulties, so my friends would Skype into the classroom to talk to the students. That’s really the nucleation site of ManyMentors. It was me trying to solve a problem with the students I was working directly with.”

ManyMentors is an organization that connects younger people to older people in the science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields, using a hybrid strategy that combines face-to-face monthly mentoring meetings coordinated by onsite chapters with a mobile app that promotes sustained communication between mentors and mentees. In addition to more than 400 onsite mentors at six universities in Connecticut, New Hampshire, and New York, ManyMentors is opening a cohort of chapters in the D.C. region, with students from University of Maryland, Howard University, George Washington, George Mason University, and more.

DEC
4
2017

FUNDING
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Up to $500 for creative programs from the Ezra Jack Keats Foundation

By Charlotte Steinecke

The Ezra Jack Keats Foundation is offering funding of up to $500 to design and implement a creative program for your school or library! Public schools, public libraries, and public preschool programs are encouraged to apply.

Previous successful projects have included a public story walk, a multicultural portrait project, a school garden, a bookmaking workshop, and an intergenerational storytelling day. Find more inspiration at the great mini-grant program gallery!

To apply, head over to the How to Apply for a Mini-Grant page. Watch the instruction video, read through the do’s and don’ts, and complete your online application by March 31, 2018.

Learn more at the FAQ page.

Looking for more funding opportunities? Check out our revamped Afterschool Funding Database! We’ve added new features so you can see when an entry was last updated and when the deadline is closing, as well as a host of new grant opportunities.

NOV
21
2017

LIGHTS ON
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STEM partners helped ignite curiosity during Lights On 2017

By Charlotte Steinecke

Afterschool STEM learning was one of our top themes for this year’s Lights On Afterschool, and with good reason. Afterschool programs provide an ideal space to connect kids to exciting, hands-on science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) experiences, helping them engage deeply with these concepts in fun, inspiring ways!

Lots of afterschool programs used STEM as a centerpiece in their Lights On events. Here are a few of the ways programs celebrated STEM on October 26:

  • Students got ready for blast-off at the Mississippi Library in Fridley, Minn., with an activity to build their own rockets. Students and families designed and constructed their out-of-this-world space shuttles with a combination of science and art skills, led by library and afterschool program staff.
  • kidscommons Children’s Museum in Columbus, Ind., offered free museum admission for families with children age pre-K through 6th grade, with science, technology, engineering, art, and math activities available throughout the museum.
  • Think Together Liberty Elementary in Victorville, Calif. held a family night with student-taught 30-minute activity rotations, so students and parents could participate in mad scientist STEM unit lessons, including making moldable goo, engineering and testing different paper airplane designs, and creating monsters out of pipe cleaners and other materials.

This year’s Lights On Afterschool wouldn’t have been the success it was without the help of our amazing STEM partners. We’d like to give a big thank-you to STAR_Net, Association of Science - Technology Centers (ASTC), National Girls Collaborative, WGBH, STEMfinity, 4-H National Youth Science Day, and everyone else in the STEM world who contributed to a fantastic celebration!