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In the Field Snacks
DEC
23

IN THE FIELD
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Parenting in America and how afterschool can help

By Erin Murphy

Regardless of education, income, ethnicity, or family structure, parents are the number one advocate for their own child’s well-being. Still, these factors cause large variations in the specific outlook, worries, and aspirations parents have for their children. The Pew Research Center surveyed 1,807 parents of children under 18 to evaluate the influence of these factors on parenting across a range of issues, from parenting approaches and concerns to childcare and education. Their findings, outlined in the recently released Parenting in America: Outlook, worries, aspirations are strongly linked to financial situation reportindicate the largest driver for parenting divides is not related to parenting philosophies, which dominates contemporary debates, but to financial stability.

One component of this survey focused specifically on the availability of afterschool activities as well as participation levels. Across all income groups, some participation in afterschool activities—sports (75 percent), art programs (54 percent), and volunteer work (53 percent)—is high. However there is significant variation when comparing high- (household income over $75,000) and low- (household income under $30,000) income groups, with participation levels at least 20 percent greater for high-income children among all three activity areas. Availability and affordability of high-quality afterschool programs may play a role in this significant difference. The report found that less than 30 percent of high-income parents said it was hard to find affordable, high-quality programming for their children, compared to more than half of low-income parents.

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learn more about: Working Families Youth Development
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DEC
23

IN THE FIELD
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Meet Blythe Hogeboom, our new Development Assistant!

By Blythe Hogeboom

Hello, I’m Blythe Hogeboom, the new Development Assistant for the Afterschool Alliance. From an early age I remember how much fun it was to stay after school, hang out with my friends and explore topics and ideas that we rarely touched on in the classroom. Many of my passions today—foreign language, reading, athletics and community service—began thanks to my involvement in afterschool programs. 

Prior to joining the Afterschool Alliance, I worked more than six years for the Military Child Education Coalition, a non-profit focused on the educational needs of military children. I’ve seen firsthand how the impact of knowledge and exposure to new information and ideas contributes to a student’s success in school. Afterschool activities lead to increased parent involvement, community engagement and can improve resources and opportunities for all citizens. The importance of involvement in afterschool activities can’t be overstated as these programs engage our youth through discovery, collaboration and cooperation in topics that are most interesting to them. 

As the Development Assistant, I work with the Grants Manager and development team to research, explore and cultivate funding opportunities from state, local and federal agencies, public corporations and private foundations in support of afterschool activities and programs. I am eager to continue supporting our nation’s youth so they may have opportunities to explore new activities, develop interests, and reach their full potential.

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learn more about: Inside the Afterschool Alliance
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DEC
18

IN THE FIELD
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Report looks at low-income access to child care across states in 2015

By Jillian Luchner

Working parents need access to child care and children need access to safe, high quality environments in which to learn and develop. Estimates place the cost of access between $4,000 to $16,500 annually, which means many low-income working families struggle to balance quality care and their work/career. Child care assistance policies help fill the gap for these families.

Each year, the National Women’s Law Center looks at child care assistance policies across states identifying regulations for funding, income eligibility, job search eligibility, waiting lists, copayments and reimbursement rates that determine whether a family can receive assistance and how much they will receive.

The NWLC “Building Blocks” report marked 2015 as “the third year in a row in which the situation for families improved in more states than it worsened” while also noting that “the number of states in which families were worse off in 2015 than in 2001 was greater than the number of states in which families were better off”. So, things are trending up, but not quite enough to return to the better conditions that kicked off the millennium.

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learn more about: Federal Policy Working Families
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DEC
4

IN THE FIELD
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Meet Erin Murphy, our new Research Assistant!

By Erin Murphy

My name is Erin Murphy, and I’m excited to introduce myself as the new Research Assistant for the Afterschool Alliance! My involvement with afterschool started early: as a participant in programs like 4-H, sports, and orchestra. My experiences in these programs played an important role in developing skills and passions that have continued to serve me throughout my life, and I look forward to working with Afterschool Alliance to help advocate the importance of these programs for children across the country.

I come to the Afterschool Alliance as a recent graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where I earned a Master’s degree in Geology. While completing my degree, I had the opportunity to participate in afterschool programs focused on introducing K-12 students to scientific research in a variety of engaging ways. I helped participants learn practices in preserving coral reefs, analyze microscopy images of pollen, explore river geology from a canoe, and complete many fun science experiments.

Through this work, I witnessed the power of afterschool to encourage passion and confidence among kids, while developing important skills like working in teams and critical thinking. Though I loved working with students directly, I am very excited to work with the Afterschool Alliance and shift my focus to supporting the afterschool community on a national scale.

As the new Research Assistant, I will be working with the STEM and research teams on a number of projects, including the construction of a new evaluations database for afterschool programs and the maintenance of STEM and research webpages. Though it is just my first week here, it is clear working for Afterschool Alliance will be an amazing experience, and I look forward to becoming part of the passionate and dedicated field of afterschool. 

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learn more about: Inside the Afterschool Alliance
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NOV
25

IN THE FIELD
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Video: see how child nutrition programs are making sure kids are only Hungry to Learn

By Robert Abare

Afterschool provider For Love of Children (FLOC) offers free tutoring, enrichment programs, and college counseling to children of low-income families in Washington, D.C. FLOC executive director Tim Payne explains in a new video produced by the Afterschool Alliance how child nutrition programs provide essential support in keeping their participants full and focused between lunch and dinner.

D.C. Central Kitchen recently partnered with FLOC to provide students with healthy snacks while learning and growing at FLOC. This partnership could not have been possible without federal reimbursements through the USDA's child nutrition programs, which are currently up for reauthorization by Congress. 

It's not too late to lend your voice to the children who depend on these programs to stay nourished and healthy. Before you join your family at the table this Thanksgiving, join us in telling Congress that America's kids should only be #Hungry2Learn.

 

 

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learn more about: Nutrition Community Partners
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NOV
24

IN THE FIELD
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Receive thanks this Thanksgiving: help defend child nutrition programs

By Jodi Grant

For many, Thanksgiving is a time of heartwarming abundance: relatives gather from far and wide, tables are laden with dish after dish, and expressions of love and gratitude are shared in many ways. It’s easy to get wrapped up in the busy commotion of this joyful time of year.

Yet, while we count our own blessings this holiday season, I urge you to remember our neighbors who must make do with far less, and who struggle to make ends meet. Low-income families work hard to provide for their children, but costs quickly add up, and simple tasks—like packing a healthy snack for after school—can pose real difficulties.

According to the most recent data from the USDA, 14 percent of US households are food insecure, which means they face difficulty providing enough food for all their members due to a lack of resources. That’s 17.4 million households who will be thankful to put any food on the table this Thanksgiving.

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NOV
19

IN THE FIELD
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Campaign update: one week left to support child nutrition programs

By Robert Abare

Two weeks ago, we asked you to email Congress to voice your support of the federally-funded child nutrition programs that nourish millions of kids with healthy food before, during, and after school. These programs, like the After-School Snacks and Suppers program and the Summer Food Service program, are up for review as lawmakers deliberate reauthorizing The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010.

Your support has been overwhelming: Nearly 800 emails have been sent to Congress so far! That’s more than triple our initial goal of 260 emails!

With the aromas of Thanksgiving dinner almost in the air, we’re raising the bar again. Our new goal of 1,000 messages sent to Congress before Thanksgiving Day on November 26 will ensure the needs all families and children are remembered this holiday season.

There are multiple ways to pitch in. Take two minutes to email your representative through our online form, or use the hashtag #Hungry2Learn in a post on Twitter or Facebook. You can also post and tag a picture of kids enjoying healhty food on Instagram—with a chance to get featured on our new official account!

No matter your method, your voice lets our leaders know that the only hunger children should experience is the hunger to learn new things and achieve their greatest.

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NOV
16

IN THE FIELD
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Guest blog: Connecting afterschool with healthy meals

By Robert Abare

Saleah Blancaflor is an Afterschool and Summer Meals Expansion VISTA in New York State, working to connect students with afterschool meals to ensure New York’s kids are only Hungry to Learn.

As the Meals VISTA for Afterschool Works! NY: the New York State Afterschool Network, my role is to increase participation in the state of New York’s Child and Adult Food Care Program (CACFP), so that the state’s afterschool programs can receive funding and reimbursements for snacks and meals provided to their children. I’ve focused my efforts for this project on counties such as Broome, Tioga, Jefferson, Nassau and Westchester.

I work closely with the Department of Health as well as Hunger Solutions New York, a nonprofit organization with a mission to alleviate hunger throughout the state. The organization has been instrumental in providing me with information about which areas are in most need of my help and attention. Most of my work consists of conducting phone surveys with afterschool programs to confirm whether they are eligible for meals funding. If they are eligible, I connect them with the Department of Health and help initiate their application process.  

While reaching out to counties across New York, I have noticed that many programs are not aware that they are eligible to enroll for meal reimbursements. This leads afterschool programs to spend money that could have been invested elsewhere, had they received federal funding for the food they provide.  

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learn more about: Advocacy Health and Wellness Nutrition State Networks Vista
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