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OCT
25

IN THE FIELD
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Guest Blogger Patrick Pinchinat: Sustaining a long term advocacy campaign

By Alexis Steines

Patrick Pinchinat is the Beacon Director at the Queens Community House in New York City.  He was previously an Afterschool Ambassador.

 

I’ve always promoted the importance of afterschool. Before I became Beacon Director at the Queens Community House, I participated in an afterschool program as a youth. Even as a young person participating in an afterschool program, I found ways to advocate for afterschool. For the last few years, I’ve led an advocacy campaign to promote afterschool programs at Queens Community House, as well as advocate for out-of-school-time programs throughout New York City as a member of Campaign for Children.

During my year as a Bowne Foundation sponsored Afterschool Ambassador, I’ve been able to bring our advocacy campaign at Queens Community House Beacon to the next level. I organized several different events to help promote our afterschool programs and increase the momentum of our projects.

When possible, we always included students in our activities. For example, we’ve put on a talent show and an advocacy “carnival” in which our afterschool participants were able to showcase what they were learning. It was a great way to show off our afterschool program in action and demonstrate how afterschool programs help to inspire creativity. We invited elected officials to the carnival so they could spend time with our students and see first-hand all of the great activities our kids take part in every day.

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learn more about: Advocacy Afterschool Ambassadors Guest Blog
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OCT
11

IN THE FIELD
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Guest Blogger Esther Grant-Walker: Developing an afterschool advocacy campaign

By Alexis Steines

Esther Grant-Walker is the Program Director of School Aged Childcare at the Stanley M. Isaacs Neighborhood Center in New York City.  Esther previously served as an Afterschool Ambassador.

 

A sustained advocacy campaign is key to raising public perception and awareness of afterschool programs. Planning an advocacy campaign does not need to be time consuming or costly. A very simple campaign can be as effective as an elaborate one. 

During the past year, with the support of the Bowne Foundation, I began to develop a sustained advocacy campaign to promote my afterschool program.  New York City afterschool program funding was threatened with cuts during the past few city budget cycles.  As the Program Director of School Age Childcare at the Isaacs Center Afterschool Program, I can see that there is a need for increased afterschool advocacy to promote not just my afterschool program, but programs across the city.

I decided focus my campaign on bringing parents and schools together to support afterschool. Many of our parents take our afterschool programs for granted because they are funded by the city. They assume that funding for afterschool will always be in place. In reality, city funding is never guaranteed. To educate parents, I decided to launch an advocacy campaign that would not only teach them about the challenges facing afterschool programs, but would also train them and other community members to be active advocates for afterschool.

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learn more about: Advocacy Afterschool Ambassadors Guest Blog Working Families Community Partners
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OCT
3

IN THE FIELD
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Guest Blogger Deep Ghosh: Using social media to advocate for afterschool

By Sarah Simpson

Afterschool Ambassador Deepmalya Ghosh is the director of youth development programs at the Child Center of New York, Inc.

 

Increasing public awareness of your afterschool program is an important key to running a successful advocacy campaign.  While traditional media sources, such as newspaper articles and TV news stories, are great ways to increase visibility, afterschool programs are increasingly turning to social media as a way to build support and momentum.  One of the benefits of social media is that it is a low-cost, effective way to reach a large number of people.

During my term as an Afterschool Ambassador sponsored by the Bowne Foundation, I found great success using social media to build momentum for an afterschool advocacy campaign.  I am the Director of Youth Development for the Child Center of NY, an organization that provides afterschool programming, among other services, to children in New York City.  Realizing we needed to reach beyond traditional media sources when promoting our programs, we developed a campaign to leverage social media to maximize our advocacy efforts. There was a sense of joint purpose among other afterschool providers in the city, so I often shared what they were doing to advocate for afterschool with our team.

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learn more about: Advocacy Afterschool Ambassadors Guest Blog Media Outreach
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MAY
28

STEM
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Guest blog: The importance of STEM in rural afterschool programs

By Melissa Ballard



Sherry Comer is the director of afterschool services in Camdenton, Missouri, and a former Afterschool Ambassador.  Her school’s FIRST Robotics team went to the FIRST Robotics World Championships in St. Louis, Missouri, this year.

Every day in Camdenton, Missouri, R-III afterschool programs, change is happening.  Students are developing 21stcentury skills that will carry them into the future to be successful in an ever-changing global economy.

Through FIRSTRobotics, 4th through 12th grade students in our rural community have gotten excited and engaged in what is often referred to as “the hardest fun ever!”  Our teachers and technical mentors push them to use science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) to go over, under, around and through walls that society says they can’t penetrate.  FIRST is designed to create an atmosphere where students combine the excitement of sports with the rigors of STEM.  Under strict rules and with limited resources and tight time limits, teams of students are challenged to raise funds, design a team "brand," hone teamwork skills, and build and program robots to perform prescribed tasks against a field of competitors.  It’s as close to "real-world engineering" as a student can get.

Below, watch the Camdenton 4-H LASER team's winning robot in action! 

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learn more about: 21st CCLC Afterschool Ambassadors Guest Blog Robotics Rural Community Partners
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MAY
2

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup - May 2, 2013

By Luci Manning

Kujanga Jackson, head of the Zone afterschool program for at-risk and under-performing students at Mark Twain Elementary in Tulsa, says he can see positive changes in students who have participated in the program. “I have a performance report that shows the students we've had in our program have improved academically, socially, behaviorally,” Jackson told the Tulsa World. “Socially, we're seeing the kids learn to function better in the classroom, better with their peers.”

 
Afterschool students at Lebanon High School competed in a taste-off last week. The afterschool students were challenged with finding nutritious recipes to create a complete meal. The winning recipe, mango chicken, will be served for lunch in the high school cafeteria! Organizers also announced that the runner up, Spanish chicken, will be served later this month.
 
Afterschool Ambassador and Dallas AfterSchool Network (DASN) CEO Tanya McDonald told the Dallas Business Journal that the Network is looking to expand area afterschool programs without sacrificing quality. The network helps 145 afterschool and summer programs in Dallas County achieve national quality standards. “As we help to create quality programs in the community, we want to work with those organizations to expand their capacity to serve more kids," McDonald said. "But we want to make sure that as spaces are added, they are high quality."
 
Fourteen afterschool students from the Teen Producers Academy at the Maysles Institute in Manhattan created a 20-minute film about the role gun violence has played in their Harlem community. "Triggering Wounds" premiered last week at the Tribeca Film Festival. It was nominated for Best Documentary in the "Our City, My Story” youth showcase.
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learn more about: Afterschool Ambassadors Nutrition Academic Enrichment Youth Development
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JAN
9

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup - January 9, 2013

By Luci Manning

The Osprey Observer reports that Brandon resident Susan Miller won the $2000 Grand Prize in the Bright House Networks Lights On Afterschool photo contest. According to the judges, Miller’s “Halloween-in-the-Halls-Mosaic” photo best depicted how programs and people are focusing on afterschool.  
 
“Massena’s police chief says he believes bringing a Boys and Girls Club to Massena could help reduce crime, increase graduation rates and address a need for youth activities in the community,” the Watertown Daily Times reports. The community has formed a steering committee to figure out how to start a club in Massena and address the needs of younger residents.
 
Windsor High School junior Zeltzin Campillo started afterschool program TISS (Teaching and Inspiring Students for Success) to help other immigrant students ease into their adopted culture. Campillo moved to the United States five years ago and when she arrived she knew no one beyond her immediate family and spoke little English. TISS supports students who are still learning English and the weekly afterschool program gives “English learners opportunities for the kind of casual conversation that promotes true fluency, as well as support with homework that may be harder to do when you're not completely comfortable with the language,” the Press Democrat reports.
 
After three years in the making, the Boys & Girls Club of Durant officially opened its doors last month, kicking off with a Christmas break program for local children. The club’s youth-driven afterschool programs began last week. Club Director and Afterschool Ambassador Barb Dunnam said a grand opening and ribbon cutting will be held in the near future.
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learn more about: Afterschool Ambassadors Youth Development Community Partners
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DEC
21

POLICY
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Education Week covers rural afterschool challenges and successes

By Erik Peterson

The article “Rural After-School Efforts Must Stretch to Serve,” published last week in Education Week, provides a comprehensive look at the challenges and triumphs unique to afterschool programs serving rural areas. Education Week highlighted the rural afterschool programs led by Afterschool Ambassadors Linda Barton of Lander, Wyoming, and Sherry Comer of Camdenton, Missouri.

Many of the funding, staffing and transportation challenges discussed in the article echo the findings of the 2007 issue brief “Afterschool Programs: Helping Kids Succeed in Rural America.” The bipartisan Investment in Rural Afterschool Programs Act, introduced in the 111th Congress in 2009, sought to provide support and address the barriers that confront many rural afterschool programs.  This year, as mentioned in the Education Week story, the "Uncertain Times 2012" report found that nearly 4 out of 10 afterschool programs reported that their budgets were worse today than at the height of the recession in 2008, with rural programs hit harder than most. The 113th Congress set to begin next month presents another opportunity for Congress to provide assistance to rural communities and their afterschool programs.

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learn more about: Afterschool Voices Afterschool Ambassadors Congress Federal Funding Federal Policy Rural
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NOV
21

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup

By Luci Manning

First Lady Michelle Obama Honors Community Youth Programs in The Arts and Humanities (Washington Post, District of Columbia)

A White House ceremony hosted by Michelle Obama honored 12 community-based afterschool programs that reach underserved youth with national arts and humanities awards. The First Lady said the programs teach kids skills like problem solving, teamwork and self-expression that are also critical in the classroom and workplace. Mrs. Obama also thanked educators, artists and leaders for working with tight budgets and putting in late hours. The 2012 National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Awards are hosted by the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities in partnership with three national cultural agencies. This year’s winners were chosen from more than 350 nominations.

Students Design Video Game to Help Stop Abuse (Boston Globe, Massachusetts)

Middle school students participating in afterschool programs in Rhode Island have helped design a new video game that promotes healthy relationships and aims to help stop teen dating violence. Sojourner House, an advocacy and resource center in Providence for domestic violence victims, premiered ‘‘The Real Robots of Robot High’’ on Monday at Highlander Charter School. The game and accompanying curriculum were developed by Sojourner House in partnership with afterschool programs in Providence, Pawtucket and Central Falls; the youth advocacy organization Young Voices; the state education department; and a publisher of ‘‘social impact’’ video games.

Students Clean Up School’s Grounds, Bad Reputation (Schenectady Daily Gazette, New York)

About 50 students from Schenectady High School participated in an after school cleanup, which extended beyond school grounds into streets surrounding the campus. The Schenectady high school, which has been listed on the state’s “persistently dangerous” schools list from 2008 to 2011, also viewed the cleanup as a way to revitalize the school’s image. Many of the volunteers were part of clubs such as the Anime Club, Junior ROTC, Key Club, Student Ambassadors, Community Service Club and the Gay-Straight Alliance.

Atlanta Music Project Gains Steam (Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Georgia)

The Atlanta Music Project, which gives quality instruments and daily classical training to more than 87 inner-city children participating in three sites, recently won a $122,801 grant from the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation, the biggest grant in its two-year history. The grant will be used to create the Atlanta Music Project Academy, which will give private lessons to the top 22 players in the project and offer them master classes, opportunities for recitals and quality instruments.

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learn more about: Afterschool Voices Robotics School Improvement Arts
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