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DEC
14
2017

IN THE FIELD
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How afterschool can support school meals: 3 activities

By Guest Blogger

By Daniel W. Hatcher, MPH, director of Community Partnerships at Alliance for a Healthier Generation.This article was original published on December 5, 2017 on the Healthy Out-of-School Time New & Notable blog.

Partnerships between school and afterschool educators are essential to ensure our community health efforts are sustained.

On November 29, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) published a new School Meal Flexibility Rule that will weaken nutrition standards aimed at reducing sodium and increasing whole grains for meals provided under the USDA’s National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs.

Afterschool programs that voluntarily adopted the National AfterSchool Association Standards for Healthy Eating and Physical Activity have the potential to be impacted by any weakening of school nutrition standards. In particular, if their school oversees the afterschool snack and meal program.

Below are three ways afterschool leaders can share their voice for healthy school meals while championing the power of afterschool.

Write a letter to the editor of your local paper

Shout your hard work creating healthy afterschool from the rooftop! Share the story of how your program is bringing the National AfterSchool Association Standards for Healthy Eating and Physical Activity to life.

Writing and submitting a letter is simpler than you think! Check out Tips on Writing Letters to the Editor.

Submit a comment on the flexibility rule

As someone who works directly with children and families, you voice is important. Share your feedback and questions with the USDA by January 29, 2018 using the online comment form. Five minutes is all it takes to share your essential perspective!

Encourage families to go on a #CafeteriaDate

In addition to these three tips, encourage families to schedule a time to go on a “cafeteria date” with their child. Want to learn more about this campaign and why building a relationship with your school lunchroom is so important? Visit http://www.thelunchtray.com/cafeteriadate/ and share your experience by using the hashtag #cafeteriadate.

DEC
5
2017

IN THE FIELD
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Los Angeles afterschool program builds 'a world fit for kids!'

By Matt Freeman

25 years ago, riots exploded in South Central Los Angeles in the wake of the acquittal of four police officers charged with beating a prostrate taxi driver named Rodney King. The event called attention to issues of race and economic inequities, one element of which was cutbacks in the L.A. school system that had resulted in the elimination of physical education and other programs.

From the ashes of the riot grew an innovative afterschool program called A World Fit for Kids! (WFIT), whose leaders were determined to give inner-city youth opportunities for physical fitness, wellness and self-esteem programming that had been lost to budget cuts. In the 25 years since, the program has touched the lives of more than 460,000 children and family members in the city, encouraging them to make healthy decisions over the course of their lives. Along the way, it has pioneered a research-based training model called Mentors in MotionSM that prepares high school “Coach-Mentors” to work with elementary and middle school children, helping both age groups achieve health and fitness goals and develop strategies for success in all aspects of their lives.

“We believe physical activity is a vital tool for personal growth,” says Normandie Nigh, the program’s CEO. “Traditional programs usually emphasize competitive sports and stand-alone recreational activities. But we take a more comprehensive approach, training our staff and Coach-Mentors to address the whole child by linking healthy bodies with healthy minds. We train them to help students increase their self-awareness, improve their capacity to self-manage, and take greater responsibility for the decisions they make.”

NOV
17
2017

IN THE FIELD
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HEPA Success Story: DC SCORES

By Faith Savaiano

In 1994, a former school teacher in Washington, D.C., began an afterschool soccer program for 15 girls who had little to do after their school days. The teacher, Julie Kennedy, soon realized that the team relationships the girls built on the field translated well to other activities they could pursue during their afterschool time, such as slam poetry and community service. With that, the DC SCORES program was born, and now has been replicated in 12 cities across the United States and Canada.

DC SCORES afterschool programming implements a unique combination of competitive soccer, slam poetry, arts enrichment, and service learning on an alternating year-round schedule. According to the Chief Program Officer, Sean Hinkle, this holistic model combined with a focus on delivering a high-quality experience allows every student to define and achieve their own version of success through the program.

“The different ways that kids can connect with one another, trusted adult mentors, and with the bigger community really sets us apart [with] many different ways for kids to find success,” said Hinkle.

NOV
16
2017

IN THE FIELD
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Support healthy OST programs with this action center's state policy toolkits & funding

By Tiereny Lloyd

Voices for Healthy Kids®, an initiative of Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and American Heart Association, recently released an Out of School Time (OST) Campaign Toolkit. The toolkit is designed to empower OST advocates to take action in their communities and improve health of children in OST programs. Some features of the toolkit are new graphics, social media samples, fact sheets, messaging guides, and other resources. The toolkit can be downloaded here at no cost!

While you are downloading all the wonderful resources from the new toolkit, be sure to check out the open call for proposals to advance healthy eating and physical activity in your state.  This round of funding is specifically limited to proposals in the areas of the school health (physical activity/physical education, junk food marketing, wellness, ESSA, school food, and water), early care and education, and out-of-school-time policy levers. Applications must support the Voices for Healthy Kids OST Policy Lever: Pursue policy changes that require out-of-school time programs to integrate national healthy eating and physical activity (HEPA) standards into recognition programs, accreditation programs, certifications, and rating systems.

The deadline for submission is fast approaching; all applications must be submitted by December 8, 2017 at 5 p.m. PST. Visit the grant portal to learn more!

Last but not least, be sure to join the movement! As the only online national network of people focusing on helping kids grow up at a healthy weight, the Voices for Healthy Kids Action Center (formerly PreventObesity.com) is the place where leaders and organizations connect with hundreds of thousands of health and wellness supporters in advocacy efforts and policy implementation. The action center offers two pathways to membership; you can sign up as an individual leader or you can create an organization profile

If you have questions about any of the above resources, please be sure to give me a ping at tlloyd@afterschoolalliance.org, I look forward to hearing from you!

NOV
8
2017

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup: November 8, 2017

By Luci Manning

Former Student Shares How Bellevue’s Jubilee Reach Provided Help (Bellevue Reporter, Washington)

Current University of Washington student and REACH afterschool program alumna Jeyma Garcia will share how instrumental the REACH afterschool program was to her at the annual Festival of Trees fundraiser on November 11. She credits the REACH afterschool staff and coaches with helping her overcome depression. Now she strives to provide the same level of passion and empathy to her students. “Garcia said she doesn’t know where she would be now if she hadn’t had help from her site coach when she was 13 years old,” reports the Bellevue Reporter.

James Island Elementary's After-School Fishing Program Catches on with Young Anglers (Post & Courier, South Carolina)

Students in the James Island Elementary School Fishing Club are spending their hours after school learning about birds and wildlife, how to tie knots and the difference between different fishing rigs. “The time spent with the kids outdoors has been amazing…. The looks on their faces when they catch that fish by themselves is amazing,” club founder Patrick Harrington told the Post & Courier. The program has helped the children become expert fishermen, earning them plaques and other awards at the annual Trident Fishing Tournament.

Kids Learn the Link Between Food, Health (Record Searchlight, California)

Patient educator Betsy Amstutz and nurse Jayne Cummins are offering a new afterschool cooking class at the Shasta Community Health Center to educate youths about how to cook more nutritious and balanced meals. The class, inspired by an adult nutrition class offered to the center’s patients, also teaches students about knife safety, hand-washing, and how to avoid cross-contamination. “I took this class because my mom made me and, two, I really enjoy cooking. It's my passion. It's a hobby actually,” 12-year-old member Ryder Rogers told the Record Searchlight.

Farm Program Lets Students Learn Hands-On from Animals (Las Vegas Sun, Nevada)

A new club at Mabel Hoggard Elementary School is introducing students to animal care, genealogy and gardening. The program is taught both during the school day and in the out-of-school time Zookeepers club and Green Thumb Kids club. During lunch hour and before school, 25 to 50 students partake in the unique experience of learning about and caring for a variety of over 130 animals. The programs are meant to inspire students with an interest in zoology, veterinary, geology and other science fields. “We wanted to give our kids a more involved experience,” life sciences teacher Kimberly Law told the Las Vegas Sun. “I think this is a unique way for them to learn, and something no other elementary kids get to do.” 

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learn more about: STEM In The News Nutrition
OCT
9
2017

IN THE FIELD
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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.

OCT
4
2017

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup: October 4, 2017

By Luci Manning

Detroit High School Chefs Team Up with Lions for Cooking Competition (Detroit Free Press, Michigan)

Students in the Detroit Food Academy's afterschool culinary program are learning cooking skills and self-development through food and entrepreneurship. High schoolers enrolled in the program recently had the opportunity to cook alongside Detroit Lions football players like defensive tackle Akeem Spence in a cooking competition. The competition, “Eat Up or Cook Up,” awarded winners a $1,500 scholarship from Baker College, a Detroit Lions gift bag, and game tickets as a prize. “These kids, they can definitely cook, especially at the age group they are,” Spence told the Detroit Free Press. “It’s amazing to see their creativity come to life and they are doing what they love to do.”

Penn Students, Faculty and Alumni Work Together at this After-School Program for Latino Students (The Daily Pennsylvanian, Pennsylvania)

Three recent University of Pennsylvania graduates began an afterschool program called Lanzando Líderes, or “Launching Leaders,” to promote leadership and academic excellence in for high schoolers from immigrant or first-generation, low-income families. The program pairs high school students with mentors and tutors from the university and puts on academic and leadership workshops. “In my life I never really felt like I had someone to guide me. I got lucky and got placed into the hands of awesome teachers. But that was all luck. I sort of feel like I owe it to people in my sort of situation to help them reach their full potential,” tutor Enoch Solano-Sanchez told The Daily Pennsylvanian.

The Wrong Way to Fight Gangs (The New York Times, California)

In an op-ed for The New York Times, Lauren Markham, author and Oakland International High School employee, explains how afterschool programs help keep immigrant youths out of gangs: “Newly arrived immigrants are a fast-growing demographic in American schools…. Yet the Trump administration is pushing for cuts that will affect their ability to succeed in school, or even attend school at all. The proposed 2018 education budget includes… an evisceration of the 21st Century Community Learning Centers…. If 21st Century funds go away, these programs vanish. Which means the students will find somewhere else to take them in. [Notorious gang] MS-13, as it happens, welcomes young people with open arms.”

The Right STEPS: Kei-Che Randle Bridges Hearing Gap with Music (The Courier, Iowa)

The STEPS afterschool program teaches American Sign Language to hearing students from kindergarten through eighth grade learn through music. The program is run by Kei-Che Randle, a site coordinator and camp director at the Family YMCA of Black Hawk County. “It was just the most beautiful program,” YMCA chief executive officer Angie Widner told The Courier. “Not only had they learned sign language, they had learned to present themselves with confidence on stage; they had such a presence on stage.” Randle’s goal for STEPS is to create a stronger connection between the Waterloo hearing and deaf communities. 

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learn more about: Arts In The News Nutrition Safety
SEP
29
2017

IN THE FIELD
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Pro sports can connect kids to afterschool STEAM learning

By Guest Blogger

By Jesse Lovejoy, director of STEAM Education for the San Francisco 49ers and managing partner of EDU Academy. More information on 49ers STEAM programming is available here

On its best days, informal and afterschool education is cool. It’s different. It lights fires. For many kids, it’s a window into new way of thinking about subjects they either don’t know or think they don’t like. Sports can be a powerful connector of kids to content—one on which the San Francisco 49ers capitalize, through the organization’s education work in the Bay Area.

“Some kids think learning isn’t cool,” said George Garcia, lead STEAM instructor for Santa Clara Unified School District, “but you tie it into something they enjoy or see on TV and all of a sudden kids sit up straighter in the classroom and almost forget they’re learning.”