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Afterschool Snack, the afterschool blog. The latest research, resources, funding and policy on expanding quality afterschool and summer learning programs for children and youth. An Afterschool Alliance resource.
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MAR
27

STEM
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Guest Blog: Free STEM career role model webcast

By Melissa Ballard

This blog post was contributed by Laura Batt, director of educational programs at JASON Learning, an exploration-based organization that links students to real science and scientists. Laura works in JASON's out-of-school-time division, Immersion Learning, which focuses on developing multi-media ocean science curricula.

Ever wondered how to get a job designing video games? Or what it feels like to swim with sharks? Or what it takes to be a rocket scientist? For answers to these questions and more, JASON Learning invites you to participate in our free, live, interactive webcasts with career role models in STEM .
The mission of JASON Learning, a nonprofit managed by Sea Research Foundation in partnership with the National Geographic Society, is to inspire and educate kids everywhere through real science and exploration. One of our focus areas is inspiring kids to pursue careers in STEM. According to the 2010 Lemelson-MIT Invention Index, two reasons kids feel discouraged from pursuing careers in STEM fields are 1) a lack of understanding of what people in the fields do and 2) not knowing anyone who works in the fields. Although we at JASON do take some kids on actual scientific expeditions through our National Argonaut program, taking the 1 million kids we serve each year would be a bit impractical. So we do the next best thing — invite them all to tune in to our live webcasts with real STEM professionals. If you have struggled with finding STEM role models for your youth, you don’t need to worry any longer—we bring the role models to you!
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learn more about: Digital Learning Events and Briefings Guest Blog Science Community Partners
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MAR
10

FUNDING
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Guest blog: Summer nutrition programs--providing energy and enrichment

By Alexis Steines

Signe Anderson is the senior child nutrition policy analyst at the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC).

 

Summer should be an exciting time for all children, yet millions of low-income students lose access to healthful meals and enrichment opportunities when the school year ends. In summer 2012 only 1 in 7 low-income children who participated in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) had access to free summer meals. The Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) could assist summer programs in filling both voids of lost nutrition and lost enrichment opportunities for children who participate. Your program may be eligible to receive federal funding to provide healthful meals to children 18 years or younger in addition to the activities youre already providing. To be eligible, summer programs must be located in or near an elementary, middle, or high school where 50 percent or more of the students qualify for free or reduced-price meals. Once qualified, the program can provide meals to all participating students. Census data can also be used to qualify your program site for the meal program. A summer meal program site can exist anywhere children congregate during the summer months such as parks, pools, churches and schools.

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learn more about: Federal Funding Guest Blog Nutrition Summer Learning
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MAR
7

STEM
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Guest Blog: Quality afterschool STEM necessitates quality teaching and learning

By Melissa Ballard

Jeff Davis is the Program Director of STEM in OST Programs at the California AfterSchool Network.  This post originally appeared on the Click2SciencePD blog on Nov. 28, 2013.

 

 

 

The Expanding Minds and Opportunities compendium highlights persuasive evidence on the effectiveness of expanded learning (afterschool, summer, inter-session, etc.) opportunities.  In one article, the authors state:

“…Quality afterschool and summer learning opportunities work.  We know that quality expanded learning programs are associated with increased academic performance, increased attendance in school, significant improvement in behavior and social and emotional development, and greater opportunities for hands-on learning in important areas that are not typically available during the school day” (Peterson, Fowler, and Dunham, p. 357).

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learn more about: Guest Blog Science State Networks Youth Development
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MAR
4

STEM
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Guest blog: Anytime, anywhere STEM professional development

By Melissa Ballard

Lisa Mielke, a former zookeeper, is the Science Manager at TASC (The After-School Corporation). She leads STEM training and professional development for directors and front-line staff at out-of-school-time programs throughout New York City. One of the ways TASC supports schools and community partners to expand learning opportunities is to build the capacity of staff members to lead STEM inquiry.

This post originally appeared on TASC’s blog on Feb. 27, 2014.

As someone who trains hundreds of New York City out-of-school-time program directors and frontline staff every year, I’m excited about the best resource I’ve seen in ages for supporting more and better STEM learning. It’s a new, interactive professional development website called Click2Science.

share this link: http://bit.ly/1dnxMH2
learn more about: Guest Blog
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DEC
12

POLICY
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Guest Blog: Teens take D.C.

By Sarah Simpson

Alberto Cruz is the Senior Youth and Family Director for the West Side YMCA in New York City and an Afterschool Ambassador emeritus.

Through the generous support of the Robert Bowne Foundation and the Afterschool Alliance, teens from the West Side Y’s Teens Take the City (TTC) program headed off to Washington, D.C., last month to meet with our elected officials to speak on behalf of YMCA of Greater New York afterschool and youth programs.

West Side Y teens set out to take over D.C. and were led by former Afterschool Ambassador and current West Side Senior Youth and Family Director Alberto Cruz and Teen Program Director Johann Dubouzet. While learning about the political landscape in Washington, teens had the opportunity to meet with legislative aides from Reps. Rangel, Serrano and Engel and with aides in Sens. Schumer and Gillibrand to speak about the importance of supporting teen programs and in particular the Teens Take the City program. TTC gives teens the opportunity to learn and participate through mock proposal writing, research and presentations about city government.

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learn more about: Advocacy Afterschool Voices Congress Guest Blog Youth Development
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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
9

LIGHTS ON
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Guest Blog: Show support for afterschool meals at your Lights On Afterschool event!

By Alexis Steines

Jillien Meier is a Program Manager with the No Kid Hungry Center for Best Practices at Share Our Strength and oversees the Center’s work on afterschool meals, WIC and health care. Additionally, she supports No Kid Hungry Partnerships in Colorado, Connecticut, and New York City.

 

According to a recent survey of low-income parents, 81 percent report interest in having their children involved in fun, recreational, creative, or physical activities after school. Even better, interest in afterschool programming increases with the addition of free, healthy food.

Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign is working to connect families with access to free, healthy food and fun, safe, supervised afterschool programs through the At-Risk Afterschool Meals Program. This is where you come in! Afterschool programs and Lights On Afterschool participants are vital to the work of the No Kid Hungry campaign.
The At-Risk Afterschool Meals Program helps students get the nutritious meals they need in a safe, supervised location and can help afterschool programs attract additional students and supplement their budget. The At-Risk Afterschool Meals Program enables afterschool programs providing educational or enrichment activities to receive reimbursement for snacks and suppers in areas where at least 50 percent of children are eligible for free or reduced-price meals.
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learn more about: Advocacy Guest Blog Nutrition Community Partners
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