Recent Afterschool Snacks
By Molly Tomlinson
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.
By Molly Tomlinson
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 Afterschool
. Afterschool 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.”
By Molly Tomlinson
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!
By Molly Tomlinson
Clinton Students Celebrate Afterschool Programming (Clinton Herald, Iowa)
In Iowa students are getting a jump start on celebrating Lights On
. Families in Clinton rallied last week for the city’s 11th annual Lights On Afterschool event at Ashford University Field. Afterschool program director Loras Osterhaus told the Clinton Herald that the event not only showcases the community’s support for afterschool programs, but it also serves as a kickoff for the Clinton School District’s yearly program. More than 500 parents and community members participated in this year’s rally.
This week The Daily Republic
reported that Heather DeWit, director of childcare and education for Lutheran Social Services of South Dakota, in Sioux Falls, was selected to serve as one of the Afterschool Alliance’s 2012-2013 Afterschool Ambassadors
The National Science Foundation has announced that it will provide $7.4 million to improve STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education over five years in nine elementary schools in Baltimore. The new project includes professional development for teachers, curricular enhancements, and more. Its goal is to enable afterschool providers to enhance STEM learning by providing additional STEM-related activities in the community. The project is led by Johns Hopkins University with support from several partners in the community.
In St. Louis, violence continues to be a backdrop for the children attending afterschool programs at the Christian Activity Center. This weekend Center regular Alonzo Phieffer, 19, was one of three killed in a fight in the parking lot of a local club. The Center’s leader Chet Cantrell is “frustrated that the forces of living in one of the poorest, most dangerous cities can take down even the most promising youths.” Cantrell said that he knows that without the center, hundreds of children would have no opportunity to learn about computers, eat a hot meal after school, play in a safe, supervised place, get homework help or attend classes preparing them for a higher education.
By Molly Tomlinson
A group of afterschool students from Shenandoah Valley Elementary School got a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity” earlier this year to display their science projects at the second USA Science and Engineering Festival to Nobel Prize-winning scientists, other celebrities and visitors from around the world in Washington, D.C. The students participate in Lehigh Carbon Community College’s SHINE 21st Century Community Learning Center afterschool program. Program director and Afterschool Ambassador
Jeanne Miller told the Republican & Herald
, “Our program has really been getting some positive feedback from Washington and the national Afterschool Alliance on our STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) effort…We were one of nine programs highlighted on a congressional briefing in the fall. I think we're doing innovative programs.”
Thanks to a $5,000 grant from the Anthem Blue Cross Foundation, more Merced youth will have the opportunity to participate in an afterschool program meant to keep them physically active and healthy in the coming school year. The Boys & Girls Club of Merced County got the funds to continue to expanding the club's Triple Play wellness program. It encourages children to eat healthier, become more physically active and otherwise engage in healthy lifestyles.
Afterschool students from Whitwell Middle School spend one afternoon each week designing and creating stained glass windows depicting images of local landmarks, like Ketner's Mill, a coal mine, the county courthouse and Chattanooga’s original high school. Whitwell Middle School’s principal started the afterschool program with funds from the Tennessee Arts Commission. The final windows will be themed after the school's Children's Holocaust Memorial, above which they will be installed, the Chattanooga Times Free Press reports.
In a Star-Ledger opinion piece, Seton Hall Law School Center for Social Justice Associate Law Professor Shavar Jeffries describes how an afterschool programs saved her. She writes, “I experienced the life-changing power of effective after-school programs. When I was 10, my mother was killed. Shortly thereafter, my father abandoned my family. My grandmother took me in and put me in after-school programs run by the Boys & Girls Club of Newark, where I received academic, social and emotional support that she could not provide by herself. These programs helped change my life and put me on a path where, as a taxpayer, law teacher, elected official and former senior executive in the state Attorney General’s Office, I am blessed to contribute to the vitality of our state.”
By Sarah Simpson
Afterschool Ambassador Deepmalya Ghosh is the director of youth development programs at the Child Center of New York, Inc. This post is adapted from advocacy tips he shared at the Afterschool for All Challenge.
1. Don’t be afraid.
Youth work, particularly in the afterschool setting, is as noble a job as one can undertake. It is essential to family health and community well-being—particularly during the extended day period—and can have great influence in how the public perceives the quality of life that our officials work to provide for us. Our work is directly related to the support for working parents and the future of our youth. Knowing this and knowing that your work is a representation of the public good should be a source of pride and confidence.
2. Engage parents (& children) to be your key spokespeople.
Most elected and non-elected officials are motivated to run for office to address the needs of everyday people—especially the needs of people who VOTE. But once they are sworn in, they often don’t hear from us enough to know what our concerns are or how they might help. Staying in touch with the people who represent us in government—whether it is our local school board member or state senator—is one of the best ways we can begin to make the work & family issues we care about as parents a bigger priority. (from www.parentswork.org)
3. Help elected officials look good.
By Molly Tomlinson
Ariana Zamarripa was one of 90 students in the just keep livin program at Arlington Sam Houston to meet the man who created it, actor Matthew McConaughey, last week. McConaughey partnered with the Texas Rangers last year and player Nelson Cruz has been an advocate for just keep livin. The foundation created an afterschool program where students learn about nutrition, exercise and wellness. Ariana told the Star-Telegram that McConaughey was “nice, and the just keep livin program has been great for me.”
Last week Brattleboro Area Middle School (BEAMS) afterschool students and families gathered to celebrate the end of the school year and help the local Humane Society with the program’s first dog show. Twelve dogs participated in the fundraiser in categories like: Best in Show, Funniest, Most Talented, Friendliest and Cutest. The dog show fundraiser helped to raise money for the Windham County Humane Society.
Kaide Dodson’s work with Libby afterschool programs was profiled in last weekend’s paper. Kaide told the Daily Inter Lake
, “Parents are working, not home yet and there are no drop-in [community] centers where students can go. Within our afterschool program we keep school open to provide activities and homework help.”
In addition to her day job running an afterschool program for students in Hastings-on-Hudson in New York, Pam Koner is running a charity to send food and supplies to families in need across the country. Pam started Family-to-Family back in 2002 after reading that 51 percent of families with children were living below the poverty line in Pembroke, Illinois. Some of Pam’s students are also getting involved, collecting food items for area food pantries and books for schools or youth centers in less-advantaged towns.
By Alexis Steines
Do you know where your next meal is coming from? For many children during the summer months, the answer to that question is no. Every summer, thousands of children rely on healthy, nutritious meals provided through the Department of Agriculture’s Summer Food Service Program (SFSP). That’s why I found new research released this month by the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC) very troubling.
According to FRAC’s annual report, Hunger Doesn’t Take a Vacation, fewer children participated in federal summer nutrition programs in July 2011 than at the same time the previous year. Last summer, only 1 in 7 of the children who depend on free or reduced-price school lunches through the National School Lunch Program during the school year received a summer meal. Since 2008, participation in SFSP has dropped by 112,000 children nationwide—a significant figure when you consider that the Summer Food Service Program is already underutilized compared to the better known National School Lunch Program.
FRAC blames the decreased participation on tightening state and local education budgets. As state and local governments slash funding for programs such as summer school and youth programs, fewer children are able to access services such as the Summer Food Service Program. Therefore, fewer summer meals are getting into the hands of children.
So how can we, as afterschool professionals, ensure that all kids have access to healthy meals during the summer months? If you run a summer program and do not already participate in the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP), consider offering meals this summer. Participating in SFSP is not difficult. If another program in your area is a sponsor, you can partner with them to become a site. As a site, you are only responsible for providing meals to your students. The sponsoring organization is administratively responsible for running the program; they take care of the paperwork and will supply the food. School districts, parks and recreation departments, and large youth development organizations like Boys & Girls Clubs and the Y are often sponsoring organizations.