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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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Students harness healthy habits at Camp Fire Wise KidsĀ®

By Tiereny Lloyd

For the students and staff of Camp Fire Wise Kids® afterschool programs in and around Dallas, Texas, health is all about balance. By emphasizing the importance of a balanced diet and of balancing “energy in” and “energy out,” staff hope to empower children to make a lifetime’s worth of healthy and wise choices.

Like other Camp Fire programs across the nation, the Wise Kids program relies on the “Thrive{ology}” framework. Described as a “research-based, measurable approach to youth development,” Camp Fire developed the approach in partnership with the California-based Thrive Foundation for Youth. It comprises four components:

  1. Helping children identify their “sparks” – that is, their interests and passions
  2. Guiding them to adopt a “growth” mindset – the belief that they can learn new skills all the time
  3. Urging them to set and manage goals for themselves
  4. Encouraging them to reflect on what they’ve done and accomplished

Camp Fire Lone Star layers its Wise Kids framework over the health and physical education standards written into the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) standards issued by the state’s department of education. The health and physical education standards are generally in line with the Healthy Eating and Physical Activity (HEPA) standards developed by the National AfterSchool Association.



Afterschool Spotlight: Michigan Engineering Zone

By Marco Ornelas

As the home of the American auto industry and birthplace of Motown, Detroit has always been a hub for American ingenuity and creativity. But in 2013, Detroit became the largest American city to declare bankruptcy after decades of economic. The city officially exited bankruptcy in 2014 following a debt restructuring plan, but many feel that the work to get the city back on track has just begun.

Still, the transformation that’s begun in the heart of downtown Detroit, which city leaders and residents are working to channel into the outer neighborhoods, signals hope. The residents of Detroit have worked hard to fight widespread economic hardships and earned their home the nickname “Renaissance City.”

What is catalyzing the economic revival of this city? Efforts like the University of Michigan’s Michigan Engineering Zone (MEZ) are definitely a helping hand in restarting the economic engine.



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.



Join us for a Day of Action to support summer learning

By Charlotte Steinecke

Summer isn’t a vacation for everyone. When schools close during the summer months, more than 25 million low-income students in America lose access to affordable food, safe places to spend the day, and opportunities to engage in learning and maintain the skills they’ve developed during the school year. And the effects don’t end when school is back in session: the culumative impact of academic skills lost each summer can leave low-income fifth graders up to three years behind their peers.

Summer should be for water slides, not achievement slides.

On June 28, the National Summer Learning Association (NSLA) is bringing support for summer learning opportunities straight to Capitol Hill—and your help will be key! NSLA has set a few goals that supporters at home can help them meet:

  • Raise awareness among Congressional Members and staff of summer learning loss as well as the risks for young people related to health and safety during the summer
  • Share the impact of effective programs in their state or district, using both data and stories
  • Ask for support of key federal programs that support summer activities at the local level
  • Build a relationship with your elected officials and their staff

Mark your calendar for June 28 and be ready to send an email urging Congress to support funding for the programs that help students thrive year-round.

After the email, head over to NSLA’s website to learn more about Summer Learning Day (July 13). You can register your event and find resources for families and students, communities, and elected officials, along with factsheets and a calendar of events near you.