We are so excited to announce the return of the Dollar General Afterschool Literacy Award! With the generous support of the Dollar General Literacy Foundation, the Afterschool Alliance is once again looking for stellar afterschool programs that provide students with integral literacy learning opportunities to develop their reading, writing and critical thinking skills. This year, the focus of the award is on English language learners and the ways afterschool programs ensure that these students have the reading and writing abilities they need to thrive.
Nominations for the $10,000 Dollar General Afterschool Literacy Award are now open. Here are three tips to help you get started:
Download a PDF version of the nomination form to review the questions ahead of time and see what information you need gather on the program you are nominating.
Send us any questions you have about the award and/or nomination form that we can answer during our upcoming webinar on Nov. 10, "What Reviewers Want: Insights on Nominations for the Dollar General Afterschool Literacy Award."
Tune in for the webinar on Nov. 10, where we’ll cover the qualities of a promising nomination form and common critiques of past nomination submissions from people who have been involved in the review process.
Nominations are due by December 16, 2016
Be sure to share this opportunity with your friends and colleagues! We’re looking forward to reading about the great work supporting English language learner students that is taking place in afterschool programs across the country.
By Robert Abare
On October 6, we joined Learn Fresh, the Golden State Warriors and the Sacramento Kings to kick off Lights On Afterschool 2016 with a special NBA Math Hoops tournament at the SAP Center in San Jose, Calif. Take a look inside the celebration with our executive director Jodi Grant and tournament winners Patricia and Angela Rodas, who triumphed in a nailbiter 30-29 championship round to earn their third straight Bay Area Math Hoops title.
Join the national rally for afterschool this week!
Then, join us on Thursday, October 20 to celebrate Lights On Afterschool at one of 8,000 events across the country! If you’re not hosting an event or finalizing your event with one of these last-minute ideas, consider finding one to attend in your community. Or, participate on-the-go by signing the Lights On Afterschool petition and joining the conversation on social media using the hashtag #LightsOnAfterschool!
By Robert Abare
Tomorrow, October 6, we are kicking off the 17th annual Lights On Afterschool with Learn Fresh, the Golden State Warriors and the Sacramento Kings on a big national stage: a game between the Warriors and the Kings at the SAP Center in San Jose, California! Before the 7:30 p.m. tipoff on Thursday, 16 top student “Math Champs” from the Bay Area and Sacramento will put their math knowledge to the test in a special NBA Math Hoops tournament.
|The Warriors' Klay Thompson plays a game of NBA Math Hoops with a student. Photo via NBA Math Hoops on Instagram.|
NBA Math Hoops is a board game and curriculum that teaches kids math skills through a lens they know and love—basketball! Learn Fresh, a program provider that involves more than 10,000 students across 15 states, uses NBA Math Hoops to teach students critical math skills they need to succeed. Students and sites participating in NBA Math Hoops are rewarded for excellent performance with apparel, NBA game tickets and experiences with NBA players.
Last year, participating Math Champs solved more than 9 million math problems, and 64 percent improved their test scores!
Now you can educate your community about the value of including science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) experiences after school with tools from a new online course from FrameWorks Academy: “Making the Case for STEM Learning.” The course is free for a limited time, sign up today!
See how sites across the country are preparing to celebrate Lights On 2016:
By Robert Abare
After reviewing hundreds of submissions from afterschool artists from across the country (and the world!), the Afterschool Alliance is thrilled to announce the winner of the 2016 Lights On Afterschool poster contest: Baldwin County High School’s 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) program in Bay Minette, Alabama!
The winning artwork will be printed on 50,000 posters and sent to all registered Lights On Afterschool events to help spread the word about the celebration. Register your event today to receive ten free posters!
About the artists
The winning poster was designed by program participants Maia Austin (17), Gabby Williams (17), and Marquez Drinkard (16). The artists were particularly inspired by the many arts activities offered by their afterschool program, including dance teams, visual art projects and cooking classes. The finished product was truly a team effort, as the poster is comprised of many separate drawings that were cut out and then pasted together.
“We talked about our favorite aspects of our program, and then we decided what we wanted the poster to look like, and who would draw each part.” explained Marquez. “As you can see, we wanted it to be very colorful as well.”
Marquez, who is still figuring out his plans for after high school, is considering a career in nursing, along with fellow artist Maia Austin. Gabby Williams, on the other hand, plans to serve in the United States Air Force.
About the program
Gabby expressed her gratitude for the opportunities offered by Baldwin County High School’s 21st CCLC program. “I love the program because it’s something productive I can do after school,” she said. “I really like the cooking classes, and being with my friends at the same time.”
She added, “My parents think the program is great, because it keeps me busy when I could be doing things that kids aren’t supposed to do.”
The Baldwin County High School 21st CCLC program serves approximately 40 students 4 days per week, and offers a range of activities that include tutoring, arts enrichment, archery, college and career exploration, and robotics.
Michele Hall, director of the program, explained how the program has provided a valuable service for her community’s kids after school. “As a teacher at the high school, I saw that we had a large number of students who were not involved after school and didn’t have opportunities, partly due to our rural location,” she explained. “Now, the program is helping these kids grow academically and socially.”
About the contest
This year, the Lights On Afterschool poster contest received over 400 submissions from 21 states—and from a U.S. military base in Japan! The poster was selected in a vote by Afterschool Alliance staff in Washington, D.C.
The winning artists’ program will receive a case of syrups, courtesy of Torani, for a shaved ice or soda party. Visit the redesigned Lights On Afterschool website to search for event ideas, learn strategies to engage the media and download graphics and artwork to make your event shine.
And don’t forget to register your event to get 10 copies of the 2016 Lights On Afterschool in your program’s mailbox!
By Robert Abare
Every year, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) honors U.S. communities that are making strides and setting an example in the effort to lead more people to healthy lifestyles through the Culture of Health Prize. In 2017, up to 10 winners will receive a $25,000 prize, along with the opportunity to share their strategies and accomplishments with the nation through RWJF.
The Culture of Health prize recognizes and celebrates communities where businesses, nonprofits or civic organizations—including afterschool programs—law enforcement and schools have joined forces to improve the community's health and overall wellbeing. The deadline to apply for the 2017 Culture of Health Prize is November 2, 2016.
What are the judges looking for?
There are many ways a community can build a Culture of Health, including: encouraging healthy behaviors, establishing clinical care, researching social and economic factors, and improving the physical environment. Judges will look to see that applicant communities are taking action across these areas. Judges will also look to see how a community responds to the unique needs of its citizens, and are particularly interested in seeing effective changes in education, employment/income, family and social support, and community safety.
Who is eligible to apply?
As the Culture of Health Prize is intended to honor U.S. communities at large, submissions representing the work of a single organization will not be considered. However, afterschool programs are doing their part to improve the health of kids, families and communities across the country. Your program could play a key role in the application process, and could stand to benefit if your community wins the Culture of Health Prize.
Applications to the Culture of Health Prize may represent any of the following:
- City, town, village, borough, and other local incorporated places.
- County or parish.
- Federally-recognized tribe.
- Native Hawaiian organization serving and representing the interests of Native Hawaiians in Hawaii.
- Region (such as contiguous towns, cities, or counties).
- Neighborhoods, states and unincorporated local communities are not eligible to apply.
By Robert Abare
|From left to right, the winners of the 2015, 2014 and 2013 Lights On Afterschool poster contests|
Summer is here! Why not use the spare time to design a piece of artwork that could be published across the world? The 2016 Lights On Afterschool poster contest has a new deadline: July 15, 2016. Afterschool or summer learning program participants are encouraged to design, craft and submit their work following these submission guidelines before the deadline for a chance to win.
Why submit to the contest?
The afterschool or summer learning program home to the winning artist will recieve a set of flavored syrups to make-your-own soda, flavored ice or more, courtesy of Torani! The winning artist will also be featured on our website, blog and a national press release. The 2016 Lights On Afterschool poster contest is also a great opportunity for an afterschool or summer learning program to gain national recognition for the opportunities it offers, as the winning artist's afterschool program will be credited on the poster, too!
What should a poster submission look like?
Be creative! We love to see bright colors, bold designs, and art that communicates the joyful spirit of Lights On Afterschool and celebrates the opportunities made possible by out-of-school time programs. Keep in mind that the winning artwork will need to be scanned to become a digital image, so avoid using textures or raised materials. Materials that won’t smear or rub off—like markers, paint and pens—often work better than crayons, watercolors or chalk.
You can also gain inspiration by viewing this gallery of previous winners.
How do I send in submissions?
Follow these submission guidelines to enter the contest.
When are the poster submissions due?
July 15, 2016! Unleash your participants' inner artists and start designing today!
By Shaun Gray
|Last year's winning poster was designed by Hicksville Boys & Girls Club of NY.|
Calling all afterschool artists! Your artwork could be displayed at more than 8,000 Lights On Afterschool events around the world. Click here to learn how to submit a poster for the 2016 Lights On Afterschool poster contest!
We’re looking for eye-catching creatitivty to showcase on this year's Lights On Afterschool poster. Last year, we received thousands of youth artwork submissions from afterschool programs across the nation. Once again for 2016, we’re encouraging all afterschool program participants to submit artwork that celebrates afterschool programs and conveys the importance of keeping the Lights On Afterschool.
We all know how afterschool programs keep kids safe, help working families and inspire kids to learn. Now's the time to encourage your afterschool participants to show the world how afterschool has benefited their lives!
The 2016 Lights On Afterschool Poster contest is also a great opportunity for an afterschool program to gain national recognition for the opportunities it offers, as the winning artist's afterschool program will be credited on the poster, too! The winning design will be printed on tens of thousands of posters and mailed to more than 8,000 Lights On Afterschool events worldwide. The winning artist will also be featured on our website, blog and a national press release.
The deadline for submissions is July 15, 2016.
Contest details and submission guidelines are available for download now. Keep in mind that the winning artwork will need to be scanned to become a digital image, so avoid using textures or raised materials. We love bright colors that jump off the poster, so materials that won’t smear or rub off—like markers, paint and pens—often work better than crayons, watercolors or chalk.
Feel free to get your future graphic designers and computer programmers involved by encouraging them to submit their artwork in the digital form. Unleash your creativity and get designing!
|2015 Bright Ideas Winner Ashley Chico, Invention: "Chico HealthCare Software."|
We are proud to support Bright Ideas STEM from Today's Youth, a multi-state competition where students dream up the coolest inventions to make their own life, community or even the world more awesome and show how STEM—that's science, technology, engineering and math—can bring their ideas to life!
We know that STEM comes to life for many students in the out-of-school hours, at programs and internships where students put school day lessons into practice building robots, designing apps and researching solutions to community challenges.
The Bright Ideas contest gives youth a chance to see their ideas develop into reality. The competition is open to all public, private and parochial high school students or homeschooled students, ages 14 to 19, within any Bright House Networks service area (for markets, see Contest Rules).