Recent Afterschool Snacks
By Molly Tomlinson
Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, District Superintendent William R. Hite Jr and President of After School Activities Partnership Marciene Mattleman issued a fundraising challenge earlier this week to city residents asking for donations to fund afterschool programs for students heading to new schools because of recently approved closures, mergers and grade reconfigurations. Officials hope the donations will fund chess and Scrabble teams, drama clubs and debate squads at 40 schools, providing “safe, sustainable” afterschool activities for 10,000 students next September, the Philadelphia Daily News reports.
Beckley-Stratton Middle School’s afterschool program invited Just For Kids Executive Director Scott Miller to teach them more about child abuse, a topic the students were already learning and creating a video about, The Register-Herald reports. Students asked Miller how to tell if someone is being abused, how Just For Kids helps child abuse victims, who is most likely an abuser and how the abuse starts. After Miller’s talk, the afterschool students donated fleece blankets they made to Just For Kids to help comfort kids interviewed at the Child Advocacy Center.
Elementary students participating in before- and after-school programs at Cossitt Avenue School got a lesson on proper hand washing, making healthy snacking choices, how to build a first aid kit and why sleep is important. The health, hygiene and nutrition program is the result of a partnership with Adventist LaGrange Memorial Hospital, Adventist Paulson Rehab Center and Trader Joe’s. Organizers hope to expand the program and into a health fair soon.
Modesto Bee columnist Jeff Jardine praises the Tracy Boys & Girls Club in a recent column. Thanks to the afterschool programs at the Tracy Boys & Girls Club students are more engaged in school and discipline problems are now rare. Jardine writes: “Why write about what transpires each afternoon on a school campus in Tracy? Because this same kind of program is coming to Modesto, long overdue and desperately needed.”
By Jen Rinehart
Some of the strongest champions for afterschool are city and town leaders. Whether they approach afterschool from the lens of keeping kids safe; helping working families continue to work; or supporting students’ learning, health and wellness, city leaders are often quick to see the value of afterschool programs in their communities.
Just in the first few months of 2013, city leaders’ enthusiasm for afterschool has been evident at several afterschool-related events. Starting off with St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman’s remarks at the release of the Expanding Minds and Opportunities Compendium in early February, where he spoke about how afterschool has been a key issue for him as mayor. Mayor Coleman and several other mayors, including Afterschool Alliance board members Nashville Mayor Karl Dean and Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price co-authored an article for the Expanding Minds and Opportunities Compendium in which they said:
“Time and time again, we have seen how a high-quality afterschool program can change a young person’s life and how such programs can have a positive ripple effect on families and neighborhoods.”
Fortunately, The Wallace Foundation recognizes the important role that mayors and city leaders play in supporting quality afterschool and has been investing in city systems for years. On Feb. 21 and 22, nearly 400 leaders from 57 cities came together in Baltimore to discuss how to better coordinate efforts to support the availability of high-quality afterschool programs. The Better Together: Building Local Systems to Improve After-School Conference focused on the role of afterschool systems, reaching youth most in need, financing afterschool systems and using data to drive continuous improvement. A summary of the event and links to related resources are now available courtesy of the Collaborative for Building After-School Systems, a co-sponsor of the convening.
By Erik Peterson
On Wednesday, March 13, Kayla Brathwaite, a YMCA afterschool program participant and youth leader from New York City, testified before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies
about the critical role afterschool programs play in supporting youth and working families. She urged Congress to maintain the nation’s current investment ($1.15 billion) for 21st
Century Community Learning Centers (21st
CCLC) and to support afterschool and summer learning.
Brathwaite is a high school student from Queens, NY. She has participated in YMCA
afterschool programs since middle school, and currently participates in the Y’s Youth and Government and Teens Take the City programs. The Y’s afterschool programs provide Kayla, like so many other youth, with enrichment and recreational opportunities, academic supports and interventions, leadership development, health and wellness guidance, and arts and humanities programming. Kayla’s mother depends on 21st
CCLC funding to not only bridge the gap between school and home during the critical hours of 3 to 6 p.m., but to also provide her with an affordable, high quality afterschool option.
Kayla testified, “I know that I am one of the lucky ones, one of the lucky kids in New York City who has the support of the people around her and an organization like the YMCA to help her succeed.” She continued, “I am here today with my mother who probably appreciates these funds and the programs they provide even more than I do since these programs allow my mother to be at her job knowing that I am in a safe place at the YMCA.”
By Molly Tomlinson
Students from the Anaheim Achieves afterschool program showcased their science activities, “making homemade ice cream, lighting up a light bulb using organic lemons and batteries, making lava lamps out of soda bottles, volcanic eruptions, homemade quicksand and more,” at the program’s science fair, The Orange County Register reports. Since preparing for the fair, students are now asking program staff for more science clubs and more science projects.
Scotia-Glenville Middle School’s weekly afterschool program for seventh-graders has students solving real world problems with math equations and concepts. Last week students were given coupons and hypothetical money and tasked with buying school supplies while trying to maximize their savings. “I like how it gives us a challenge,” 12-year-old Kate Hillis told The Daily Gazette. “I don’t feel challenged in my normal classes,” she continued. GE officials created the “Igniting Minds” program to help get students excited about math. One volunteer said that he likes showing students practical uses of the math students learn in school.
Communities in Schools of the South Plains held its first Crimson Gala fundraiser to celebrate 13 years of success in keeping kids in school. Of the 749 students at risk for dropping out who received either before- and afterschool programs or one-on-one case management, 99 percent stayed in school and were promoted to the next grade level. Donald Spoon, chairman of the Communities in Schools of the South Plains board, told the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, “Our after-school programs help keep kids involved, help them stay in school.”
Last week, the 13th annual Engineers Day, co-sponsored by the Society of Petroleum Engineers, Kern County Superintendent of Schools and Cal State Bakersfield, was held to encourage Kern County students to study and learn science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) for future use in their pending careers. Lani Cotton, site manager of an afterschool program at Actis Junior High said it’s important to engage students in STEM subjects while they’re young, “because right now it's hands-on and fun, so if we can get them interested in it now, they'll already have that desire and that foundation when they get older and it gets harder," The Bakersfield Californian reports.
By Nikki Yamashiro
This past weekend, the question “Can the Arts save students?” was front and center on the cover of the Washington Post Magazine. The Latino Arts Strings and Mariachi Juvenil program in Milwaukee, WI—one of the recipients of the 2012 MetLife Foundation Afterschool Innovator Awards and a program featured in our MetLife Foundation issue brief, “Arts Enrichment in Afterschool”—is a prime example of an arts program that can make a positive impact in students’ lives. The program contributed the below guest blog to share the Lights On Afterschool event in October they hosted to celebrate their award.
In October, the Latino Arts Strings and Mariachi Juvenil program was excited to participate in Lights On Afterschool, celebrating our Afterschool Innovator Award with our students, parents, staff and community members. Our awards ceremony and student concert was the perfect way to showcase the powerful combination of music and afterschool—highlighting the positive impact programs can have on children’s lives.
With more than 200 people in the audience, students, parents and representatives from the MetLife Foundation and the Afterschool Alliance spoke from their hearts about what afterschool programs mean to them. I was especially proud of our students, Mariana Tellez and Manuel Landin. Mariana shared with the crowd that the strings program has given her a voice: “Not a speaking voice, metaphorically the music I play has a voice. I would not have discovered this way of expressing myself without my violin.” She stated that without the Strings Program, she would never have had the opportunity of playing an instrument. And Manuel explained to the audience that before he began at the program, he was very shy and nervous about speaking before large groups. After participating in the program, he has more confidence in himself, a direct result of learning to perform in front of an audience. He is no longer shy to speak in public. One of our parents, Blanca Rodriguez, also spoke about why the strings program is important to her family. She shared that she is grateful for a safe, caring place for her children to go after school. If it weren’t for the strings program, her children would not have the opportunity to learn a musical instrument.
The program ended with our strings program performing several traditional mariachi songs. After the award ceremony, there was food and a dance for all who came.
Our students are truly amazing, and I am so happy that we could shine a spotlight on their talents through Lights On Afterschool! Our students prove to us daily that music has the ability to transform lives. Afterschool programs like ours are just one way to make certain all of our youth are able to benefit from all music has to offer.
By Sarah Simpson
L’Oréal USA For Girls in Science is inviting students 13-18 years of age, to produce and upload a video on why they think S.T.E.M. is cool. Students can submit videos in 1 of 4 categories: science, technology, engineering or mathematics on: http://forgirlsinscience.org/compete-achieve/. Videos must be between 30- 60 seconds long. The Grand Prize is a $2,500 cash award, a 16GB tablet, and $500 (retail value) worth of L’Oréal USA beauty products. There are four Second Prizes: a 16GB mini-tablet and $250 (retail value) of L’Oréal USA beauty products. For more information, visit http://forgirlsinscience.org.
By Molly Tomlinson
An afterschool program is making a difference in the lives of Latino students and families in Atlanta. LaAmistad differs from traditional afterschool programs because it provides classes and workshops for parents. “In addition to English as a second language classes, there are also workshops on finance, health, nutrition and parenting,” CNN.com reports. “Parents learn everything from balancing a checkbook to how to cook healthy meals on a limited budget.” LaAmistad says that parents are more comfortable in social settings and more invested in their child’s education thanks to the skills they learn in the program.
State Sen. Ronald L. Rice (D-Essex) represents New Jersey’s 28th Legislative District and wrote a column on gun violence for the Star-Ledger. He writes: “If we have a gun violence problem in this country — and I believe we do — the answer isn’t as easy as limiting access to guns… we have to look at the socio-economic issues that drive urban residents to crime. We have to look at the failings of our education system to give students the resources to compete. We have to look at the failings of government to provide an alternative to life on the street for potential gang recruits. We need to invest in after-school programs that teach kids they can be more than just a statistic, if they put their minds and hearts behind the notion of pulling themselves out of poverty and into success…. There are no simple answers. But if we get enough diverse voices involved, we stand a better chance at coming up with a comprehensive plan to make New Jersey safer for everyone.”
An afterschool program that started in 2010 for 65 third graders at Otay and Lauderbach elementary schools in Chula Vista, has expanded to schools, providing more than 250 third graders with 90 minutes of music instruction a week as part of their curriculum. Last week business and community leaders were treated to a concert from 15 fourth and fifth grade musicians in the Community Opus Project. The students played Schubert’s “The Trout,” segued into Strauss’ “The Blue Danube,” and concluded with “Clocks” by Coldplay.
“Through a volunteer community service program called Bucknell Buddies, a group of Bucknell University students visit the TIES II afterschool programs at Milton Area elementary and middle schools four times a week,” to tutor students in reading and math and provide homework help, The Daily Item reports. Organizers say the mentoring program has made a huge impact on students’ lives, they talk about college and there’s been an overall improvement in grades and morale.
By Jodi Grant
Last week our friend and colleague Richard Murphy, former National AfterSchool Association board chair and dedicated youth advocate, passed away in New York City.
Richard spent his career as a dedicated advocate for youth. He provided invaluable guidance to the Afterschool Alliance during its formation, and we are grateful for the leadership and direction he gave to the afterschool field and the education community.
Richard was the founding director of the Rheedlen Center for Children and Families, now known as Harlem's Children Zone, and served as Commissioner of the New York City Department of Youth Services from 1990-1994. During that period, New York City made an investment of $40 million new dollars to create Beacon Schools and YouthLine.
After his time in New York City government, Richard served as the Director of the AED Center for Youth Development and Policy Research. Richard led the Center in the creation of Community Youth Mapping, a model that has been replicated in more than 100 localities and
Richard was a tireless and dedicated advocate who always believed in the limitless possibilities of our young people. He will be greatly missed.