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DEC
13
2017

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup: December 13, 2017

By Luci Manning

Contest Pitting Students Against JPL Engineers Draws a Vast Pool of Contenders (La Cañada Valley Sun, California)

Students from around the world, including those in Los Angeles afterschool programs, faced off against teams of engineers from La Cañada’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory last week as part of JPL’s annual Invention Challenge, an initiative meant to inspire future STEM professionals. This year’s challenge was to build a device that could load ten plastic balls into a tub six meters away within one minute, according to the La Cañada Valley Sun. “Being at JPL has brought [engineering] into my horizon,” 16-year-old participant Cristian Bonilla said. “Even though we didn’t do as great as other people, it feels great to have come this far.”

Community Schools a New Tradition for Education (Las Cruces Sun-News, New Mexico)

Mary Parr-Sanchez, Truancy and Dropout Prevention Coach at Las Cruces Public Schools, and David Greenberg, Education Initiative Director at Ngage New Mexico, praise the community schools model in the Las Cruces Sun-News: “For many years, community schools have been expanding the role of schools. Instead of shutting down in the evenings, weekends and summers, community schools have remained open to serve a variety of needs…. Community schools are not about doing something ‘to’ a school, but supporting a school and community to facilitate change from within…. We are grateful that local leadership on our School Board and City Council are moving this work forward so that in the near future, every child will have opportunity to attend a community school.”

Church to Pick Up the Tab for After-School Care (Eastern Express Times, Pennsylvania)

The Life Church has offered to pay for an afterschool program at Paxinosa Elementary School to offer disadvantaged students enrichment opportunities and give a break to their working parents. The Easton Area School District is now looking for an organization to run the program, without having to worry about costs. “We felt called there,” church spokeswoman Tara Craig told the Eastern Express Times. “We feel it’s where we’re supposed to be and are excited to see it happen.”

‘Three Little Pigs’ Tale Helps Teach North Charleston Kids Money Smarts (Post & Courier, South Carolina)

An afterschool reading program in North Charleston recently added financial literacy to its curriculum, to teach children how to manage their finances at an early age. The Felix Pinckney Community Center drew lessons from stories like “Three Little Pigs” to teach students about the importance of saving money and sharing with those in need. Dorothea Bernique, founder of the Increasing H.O.P.E. Financial Training Center, told the Post & Courier, “It’s not about the amount, but establishing a new behavior that can literally change your life and help break that cycle of poverty.” 

NOV
15
2017

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup: November 15, 2017

By Luci Manning

These Girls Now Have Big Dreams — Thanks to these Mentoring Programs (The Miami Herald, Florida)

Three unique afterschool programs in South Florida are inspiring girls to build their confidence and professional ambition. Honey Shine motivates girls to pursue higher education while improving self-esteem by pairing professional women with young girls. Women of Tomorrow offers a mentoring program between professional women and girls along with college and career trips. PACE Center for Girls offers an alternative to public school with academics, counseling, health and wellness and more. “Insecurity and self-doubt are rampant among the girls when they begin the program, PACE Miami Executive Director Sherry Thompson Giordano told the Miami Herald. “But as they discover their talents and begin to think it will be possible to launch careers, they find a strength that will help guide them through the rest of their lives.”

Students Helping Students Read at Maclary Elementary (The News Journal, Delaware)

A group of Maclary Elementary School fifth graders are volunteering to help 10 kindergarteners improve their reading skills. The mentoring program is a part of The Christina School Board’s resolution for students to participate in 20 minutes of unstructured learning a day. “I wanted to help little kids read, because sometimes in kindergarten I would need help reading and spelling,” 10-year-old Megan Levering told The News Journal. The program helps students improve their leadership skills, cognitive development, decision-making skills, concentration and self-confidence.

With Grammy Nominees, DASH Program Aims to Develop Philly's Next Entertainment Leaders (The Inquirer, Pennsylvania)

The DASH (Destined to Achieve Successful Heights) afterschool program is giving 20 high school students the chance to produce their own music through a 12-week program called “Songwriting 101.” The hands-on learning experience, part of a collaboration with the Philadelphia School District, will allow students to learn about various fields within the entertainment industry from professional musicians. “When you sit with these kids, you get to see their faces light up and you realize they know that they can really do this,” Grammy-nominated songwriter and DASH master instructor Kristal Oliver told The Inquirer.

After-School STEM Programs Inspire Kids to Keep Learning (PBS NewsHour, Rhode Island)

Ella Risk Elementary School is trying to boost the number of low-income, minorities and women in STEM fields through its afterschool program SMILE. The corporate- and foundation-funded program serves more than 500 4th- to 12th-grade Rhode Island students who participate in experiential learning in a low-risk environment that doesn’t punish failure. “We work very hard at promoting a cohesive peer group where everyone knows it’s cool to be smart. They identify with science. They identify with STEM. And that carries them into high school to take the harder science and math courses,” founder Carol Englander told PBS NewsHour.

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AUG
25
2017

LIGHTS ON
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What's happening for Lights On 2017?

By Charlotte Steinecke

Lights On Afterschool is less than eight weeks away and lots of programs have started planning their events! From marches and rallies to scavenger hunts and STEM lessons, the possibilities for a successful event are endless.

Looking for inspiration for your event? Check out the revamped Event Ideas & Activities page, where you can search by theme, activities, planning time, difficulty, partnerships, state, and audiences to find the pitch-perfect idea for your program.

For 2017, here’s what programs around the country are planning:

AUG
22
2017

IN THE FIELD
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Promising Practices: Columbus State Community College's ESL Afterschool Communities (ESLAsC)

By Leah Silverberg

This year we were happy to announce the Columbus State Community College’s ESL Afterschool Communities (ESLAsC) as the winner of the Dollar General Afterschool Literacy Award. As the award winner, ESLAsC was featured in our new issue brief “Afterschool providing key literacy supports to English language learner students,” highlighted in a program profile, and received $10,000, which enabled them to provide summer programming to 120 youth this summer. In preparation for our issue brief, we caught up with Florence Plagenz, supervisor of ESLAsC, to hear a bit more about their programs.

Columbus, Ohio, is home to an estimated 45,000 Somalis and an estimated 44,000 Latinos. Responding to the high concentration of immigrant populations in the city, ESLAsC—which serves 100 percent English language learners, most of whom are from low-income families— provides necessary supports for these families. However, becoming such an integral resource took a lot of trust building and self-evaluation.

JUL
27
2017

IN THE FIELD
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Promising Practices: A deeper dive into Raider's ARK

By Leah Silverberg

Since 2015, the Afterschool Alliance has partnered with the Dollar General Literacy Foundation to distribute the Dollar General Afterschool Literacy Award to recognize an outstanding afterschool program that has provided literacy supports to its students. While there can only be one official award recipient, there are always so many programs that we wish we could honor and reward as well—Raider’s ARK (Academics Reinforcing Knowledge), located in Arcadia, Wisconsin, is one of these programs.

Arcadia is a small rural community in western Wisconsin with a population of around 3,000. Between 2000 and 2014, Arcadia’s Hispanic population rose from 3 percent to 35 percent, and this past year the Hispanic population in the public elementary school rose to 73 percent. As a result, the need for supports for English language learners has substantially grown.

Looking to include the program in our Dollar General afterschool literacy issue brief, we reached out to Nancy Boehm, the program coordinator for Raiders ARK, and had an amazing conversation about what makes Raider’s ARK so special, and how they support their students.

When Boehm joined, Raider’s ARK had been using a relatively unstructured program that prioritized homework support. That wasn’t where the future of program was heading.

“I am someone who likes a lot of organization and structure,” Boehm explained, “but that organization and structure should be focused on fun activities, where students know what is expected of them and have a safe and engaging place to be. There should be opportunities for enrichment, and learning, and continued learning, but for it not to look or feel or smell or sound like school, even though we are housed in a school building.”

JUL
12
2017

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup: July 12, 2017

By Luci Manning

A Life-Changing Summer for Every Boston Kid (Boston Globe, Massachusetts)

The Boston Globe editorial board praised Boston’s investments in citywide summer learning programs last week: “The program is a valuable investment in Boston kids that deserves a broader base of support so that more students can participate…. The success has been remarkable: In 2015, the city had capacity for only 6,500 students; this summer, the city has a total of over 12,000 kids enrolled in more than 100 fully or partially subsidized summer programs…. The Boston summer learning model, which is paid for with a combination of public and private funds, is worthy of replication…. Rewarding summer experiences shouldn’t be reserved for wealthy families alone.”

Girls of Summer Kicks Off at CCGA (Brunswick News, Georgia)

A four-week summer enrichment program for rising middle school girls kicked off earlier this month at the College of Coastal Georgia. The Girls of Summer camp aims to help young women build their confidence, have good manners and maintain positive self-esteem, assistant director Marcyline Bailey told the Brunswick News. The program will also give students a head start on what they’ll be learning during the school year, offering supplemental instruction in math, language arts and reading.

A Summer Camp for Refugee Children Sprouts in St. Louis, Freeing Parents to Take English Classes (St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Missouri)

When the International Institute of St. Louis, a refugee resettlement and assistance agency, noticed a consistent drop-off in summer enrollments for adult English classes, the agency found a creative solution: It organized a summer camp for children so that parents could be free to attend their English lessons. The free camp’s curriculum mirrors what parents are learning in their English classes so that families can review the material together at home. “This is a chance for family to be in a safe learning environment together where the parents don’t have to worry about their children and can focus on their English,” director of education Anita Barker told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

16 Schools Reopen for Summer as Recreation Centers (Detroit News, Michigan)

This week, 16 Detroit public schools opened as “Summer Fun Centers,” giving students free access to places where they can swim, play basketball, work on arts and crafts projects and more under adult supervision throughout the summer. The addition of the Summer Fun Centers supplements the 11 full-time recreation centers already in place throughout the city. “Too many times, kids, if you don’t give them something positive to do, they’ll find something negative to do,” Detroit Parks and Recreation Department interim director Keith Flournoy told the Detroit News. “This is an opportunity to provide kids with something positive.” 

JUN
23
2017

IN THE FIELD
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Guest blog: Afterschool programs change the lives of young refugees

By Guest Blogger

By Susanna Pradhan, an alumna of ourBRIDGE for KIDS in Charlotte, N.C. Susanna is a rising sophomore at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and attended the Afterschool for All Challenge in Washington, D.C. as part of the Youth Track. 

In 1998, I was born to a Bhutanese refugee family in Sanischare Camp in Eastern Nepal. As refugees, we were isolated from the rest of the world and deprived of our basic rights. We were abused at work, making less than a dollar a day.

Growing up in the slums of Nepal, my only hope for a better future was through education. My father was a teacher and my mother the pharmacist, albeit an informal one, in our camp. My parents were respected individuals in our camp and from a young age I wanted to become a respected individual as well. Seeing my mother cure the sick sparked my interest in the medical field. I dreamed of becoming a doctor and carrying on my mother’s healing work.

Everything changed when my family was given the chance to come to the United States. After a lengthy process, we arrived in Charlotte, N.C., in April of 2009. In August, I started my first school in America as a sixth grader at Eastway Middle School. It was only then, when I was faced with the reality of life in the United States, that I realized how horrible our Nepal conditions really were. America was living in a future so advanced it was unimaginable. There are so many details of everyday life that many take for granted; because of my experience in Nepal, I can appreciate the details that many overlook.

JUN
7
2017

CHALLENGE
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Congratulations to Columbus State Community College's ESL Afterschool Communities!

By Nikki Yamashiro

We are proud to announce that this year’s Dollar General Afterschool Literacy Award winner is Columbus State Community College’s ESL Afterschool Communities (ESLAsC)! Thanks to the generous support of the Dollar General Literacy Foundation, the Ohio program is the recipient of the $10,000 award and is featured in a Dollar General afterschool literacy issue brief, Afterschool Providing Key Literacy Supports to English Language Learner Students.