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.
|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!
By Luci Manning
By Luci Manning
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.
By Luci Manning
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.
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.
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.
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.
By Luci Manning
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!