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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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OCT
17

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup - October 17, 2012

By Luci Manning

Afterschool students at Meadow Lane Elementary School’s Project SHARE afterschool program in Anderson are getting outside and marching to show their support for afterschool programs. Students in the K through 12 program are celebrating Lights On Afterschool by marching to the Anderson Teen Center, younger students will march around the Meadow Lane Campus for safety reasons. Meadow Lane Elementary School Principal Genevera Williamson told the Anderson Valley Post the afterschool program is “outstanding.”
 
In Farmington, afterschool students, parents, business and community leaders will rally inside the Farmington Public Library to celebrate Lights On AfterschoolAfterschool Ambassador Flo Trujillo told The Daily Times that they’ll read Lights On Afterschool Proclamations at the rally and then have parents and community leaders sign them to show their support. 
 
Wayne County Board of Education members learned about Monticello’s 21st Century CARE Center’s Lights On Afterschool Spotlight on Literacy by touring the literacy showcase on the first floor of Wayne County Middle School at their monthly board meeting last week. The showcase included afterschool students’ work and decorations highlighting the virtues of literacy. Afterschool students also dressed in costume portraying their favorite book characters ranging from Mary Poppins to Scarlett O'Hara to Anne of Green Gables, The Wayne County Outlook reports.
 
Afterschool programs in Durham, Chapel Hill and Carrboro will celebrate Lights On Afterschool with Hispanic heritage celebrations, talent shows and fall festivals. Mary Roberts, director of community of schools for Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools told The Herald-Sun, “The most important thing we want to do is let people know the need that families have for safe, enriching, educational and fun environments for kids to be in after school. We have lots of working parents in the Triangle who need places for children to go with supervised experience where they can spend and enjoy their afternoons.”
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learn more about: Advocacy Afterschool Voices Afterschool Ambassadors
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OCT
1

RESEARCH
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Check out the Latest Issue of the Afterschool Advocate

By Luci Manning

The latest issue of the Afterschool Advocate kicks off with Lights On Afterschool! Check out the story on Lights On poster contest winner, Felix from Pasadena, Texas! Felix said he “got the idea for the poster from everything we do in my afterschool program, which includes learning and playing and drawing.” Be sure to read all about it and download the poster online.

In other art news, the Afterschool Alliance and announced the winners of the Torani art contest last month. The artwork of student artists from San Francisco and Bristol, New Hampshire, is on display in coffeehouses and kitchens throughout the country this fall! Torani’s Sugar Free French Vanilla syrup label was designed by 16-year-old Elora Scimone from Newfound Regional High School’s Art Club and the Raspberry syrup label was designed by 14-year-old Benny Tran.

In September the Afterschool Alliance and the National Writing Project hosted a Capitol Hill briefing on how afterschool programs and community partnerships work together to support student success. A panel of education experts, afterschool providers and community partners discussed how afterschool can help schools move beyond the constraints of the traditional school day and embrace the community.

The 2012-2013 class of Afterschool Ambassadors has been announced. Check out the new class and see if there’s new Afterschool Ambassador in your state!

New research from Child Trends found that extending the school day or year and expanding learning opportunities during out-of-school time hours can be effective in improving educational outcomes for students – but, the report cautions that the evidence base is limited because much of the research is based on quasi-experimental studies that vary in quality. Check out the article in the Advocate and a recent Afterschool Snack blog post for more details.

In the September issue, we reported on findings from the Afterschool Alliance’s Uncertain Times survey. This issue’s Outreach section has a sample letter-to-the-editor that keys off the economy and the election and contains data from Uncertain Times.

And as in every issue, there are funding and award notices, news and conference announcements from groups and programs around the country, quotes from leaders on education issues and resources. Read the full issue online. And if you don’t already receive the Afterschool Advocate, sign up now!

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learn more about: Afterschool Advocate Afterschool Voices Afterschool Ambassadors
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