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JAN
11
2018

IN THE FIELD
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"I wanted to create something ... that shared the power and impact of my afterschool program"

By Guest Blogger

By Kaleb Robertson.

Kaleb is a senior at Green Bay West High School and was recently named a Youth Afterschool Ambassador for 2016-17 by the Afterschool Alliance. He has been attending the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Green Bay afterschool program for more than five years. This letter outlines his experiences in this program and how they have influenced his path and future successes.

I originally came to the Boys and Girls Club because I had friends who attended. While I initially thought it was just a place to hang out, I quickly learned that the Club had a lot more to offer afterschool and in the summer. Caring staff who serve as mentors, leadership development opportunities, and future planning are just a few of the benefits I have been able to experience. None of these things would have been possible for me if not for my afterschool program.

One of the first programs I joined was the Be Great: Graduate program. ‘Be Great’ is a program that matches a teen with a staff member or ‘graduation coach’. My coach, Greg, has made sure that I have kept good grades and stay safe. He’s someone I know I can talk to, even though he is my formal mentor. And there are lots of other Club staff who have helped me along the way. I am comfortable knowing that whenever I come to the Club, there is always someone I can go to for guidance, support, and advice.

The Club also has great leadership opportunities, including the Keystone Club. Keystone is a program that gives teens an opportunity to learn about and practice leadership and community service. Keystone members complete and document service hours, organize fundraisers, and serve as leaders within the Club, even helping to make decisions that impact other kids. I became involved with Keystone since I started coming to Club, and have served as the Keystone President. I even got to attend the National Keystone Conference in 2016!

Besides being a leader, the Club has also helped realize and plan my future. Ms. Tori, the Club’s Graduation Specialist, has helped me stay on track and get my college applications done. Along with helping me plan financially how to stay afloat with my money and pointing me towards many scholarship opportunities, she has also coordinated several campus visits so I have a better idea of what I’m looking for in a college.

For my Youth Ambassador project, I wanted to create something that I could give to people that shared the power and impact my afterschool program has had on me. I will be taking pictures of programs around the Club and turning them into a photo storybook. This way I will not only be able to tell my story to people, but also leave a copy of it behind for them to share with others. 

My afterschool experience has been nothing short of transformational. It has helped me stay on track to graduate and also helped me to realize what my future can look like. Every kid should be able to access the same opportunities that I have. Afterschool programs make a difference!

JAN
10
2018

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup: January 10, 2018

By Luci Manning

Harvard Law Grad Helps Low-Income Students Aim High (Christian Science Monitor)

A Queens-based afterschool program is helping low-income students apply to and prepare for elite higher education. Legal Outreach offers writing courses, SAT prep and workshops, and even helps get students placed in summer internships with prestigious law firms. “For our kids, going to college is as different as going to another country,” co-director Bethsheba Cooper said. “Knowing what’s coming and having the tools to deal with it allows them to navigate this new world.” Once they get into college, Legal Outreach students typically outperform their peers, with some 93 percent of students graduating within six years compared to 18 percent of students from comparable high schools, according to the Christian Science Monitor.

Cunningham Students Learn How to Rap through Hip-Hop Literacy Program (Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier, Iowa)

Ten fourth-graders at Dr. Walter Cunningham School for Excellence are improving their writing, researching and public speaking skills through a hip-hop literacy program. The students work in groups to conceptualize and write a rap, with each person composing their own stanza, according to the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier. Students have already had the opportunity to turn their ideas into a reality by recording their songs at the Teknitions studio in downtown Waterloo.

Red Bank's Community School Marks One-Year Anniversary (Chattanooga Times Free Press, Tennessee)

Hamilton County’s first community school marked its one-year anniversary this week, celebrating its successful efforts to provide wraparound services to students and parents. Red Bank Community School houses afterschool programs, academic help, parent engagement and community partnerships. “Schools can’t do it alone,” principal Ellen Harper told the Chattanooga Times Free Press. “Students need support outside the classroom in order to thrive. Education is a community effort and a community responsibility.”  

Alley to celebrate 20 years (Dodge City Daily Globe, Kansas)

The Alley afterschool program opened its doors in 1997 after the shooting death of teen Justin Mercado and intended to give young people a safe space to spend their afternoons. Twenty years later, the nonprofit has afterschool programming four days a week for middle school students, offering activities ranging from cooking classes to discussions with community leaders. “It’s been amazing to be here and watch kids who needed something and someone and see them change for the better,” board member Monica Astorga told the Dodge City Daily Globe. “You would see kids come in here with their heads hanging low and by the time they leave here and become adults, their head is held high.” 

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JAN
5
2018

IN THE FIELD
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Guest blog: Conquering the high school transition with Road Map to Graduation

By Guest Blogger

By Roger Figueroa, program coordinator at Latin American Youth Center - Maryland Multicultural Youth Center. 

The transition for rising ninth graders is one filled with twists, turns, pitfalls, and barriers: the new and often larger environment, changes in academic responsibility, increased number of peer influences, and a new social structure can all be overwhelming. The LAYC-Maryland Multicultural Youth Center Road Map to Graduation program aims to create a supportive pathway for students.

The program seeks to provide wrap-around services to support students during their transition through Road Map workshops, an intensive five-week summer bridge program, after-school academic assistance, individual development plans, case management, and parent engagement.

NOV
14
2017

RESEARCH
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"Building Workforce Skills in Afterschool" highlights promising practices for all ages

By Nikki Yamashiro

The next generation of the American workforce is growing up right now and afterschool programs are vital partners in helping young people discover new passions and work towards their dreams. As in so many other subjects, the variety and versatility of afterschool programming offers opportunities for different kids at different ages and stages of development to benefit, whether the focus is on social and emotional learning, teamwork and communications skills, or concrete experience at paid internships.

In the Minneapolis Beacons afterschool programs, elementary school students learn and play collaboratively in groups, practicing active listening, considering and respecting different perspectives, and reaching consensus in a group setting. On the other side of the spectrum, high schoolers in Sunrise of Philadelphia’s afterschool program create five-year road maps for themselves, participate in mock interviews, and have the opportunity to work in a variety of paid internships.

Programs are helping students discover potential career pathways, connecting students to real-world workplace experience, and guiding students to build the foundational skills that will benefit students in school and when they enter the workforce. Afterschool Alliance’s new issue brief, Building Workforce Skills in Afterschool, examines the ladder of supports that afterschool programs provide students to help them thrive beyond school, as they grow into adults into their future careers.

SEP
27
2017

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup: September 27, 2017

By Luci Manning

Georgia Students Learn Pre-Engineering as They Revamp Shipping Containers for Haiti (Youth Today, Georgia)

Marietta High School students in the school’s civil engineering club and afterschool design class are designing a community center out of shipping containers to help communities in Haiti. The designs will include features like solar panels, a rainwater harvesting system and a waste recycling system. Teacher Leon Grant and local architects will work with students to build the structures, while also teaching basic engineering principles. “I want a creative environment where young people can utilize [the math and science] they learn,” Grant told Youth Today. While the designs will be sent along to Haiti, the structure will remain at the school as an innovation laboratory for future students.

Green Bay's Boys & Girls Club to Open College and Career Center (WFRV, Wisconsin)

Last Friday, the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Green Bay opened their new College and Career Center for Teens to give young people a safe space to learn and explore future job opportunities. "Teens get a bad reputation, but they are up against some horrific odds. So, we knew a space needed to be made just for them where they can feel heard, motivated, encouraged, and like someone believes in them,” Club Director of Communications Stephanie Nespoli told WFRV. The center will offer internship and job placement services; provide free tutoring, job training, workforce etiquette lessons and academic mentoring; and give students the chance to listen to guest speakers, go on college visits and shadow adults in various industries.

Death of A’yanna Allen Sparks Local Girls to Create a Program to Help Youths Learn Life Skills (Salisbury Post, North Carolina)

A new afterschool program started by three nine-year-old girls aims to solve violence and improve life skills for children in the Salisbury community. A Bridge 4 Kids was started by three elementary school students in response to the death of their seven-year-old cousin, A’yanna Allen. “We are trying to get kids out of the streets. We don’t want them to be a follower but be a leader,” co-founder Invy Robinson told the Salisbury Post. The program includes three stages with unique goals and programming geared towards different age groups. “We want them to be able to get a job instead of fight,” co-founder India Robinson said.

Kids Learn to Grow Together (Great Falls Tribune, Montana)

An afterschool and summer gardening program is hoping to increase access to fresh foods for Westside Community residents and promote healthy eating habits among youths. Students in the Sunburst Unlimited gardening program maintain a community garden, learn about gardening techniques like composting and bring home the produce they’ve grown to share with their families. “Watching them brush off the dirt, take a bite and then to see their eyes light up – they like vegetables,” Sunburst Unlimited Director Mike Dalton told the Great Falls Tribune. “That’s what makes my heart smile. To see their joy exploring out in the garden every day.”

JUN
19
2017

IN THE FIELD
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Guest blog: How one rural town is investing in Alaska's future workforce

By Guest Blogger

By Thomas Azzarella, director of the Alaska Afterschool Network. This blog was originally published on the Alaska Afterschool Blog on June 6.

Photo courtesy of Eric Filradi

Nearly two-thirds of Alaska’s cities, towns, and villages are accessible only by plane or boat, which makes having a strong aviation workforce critical to having a strong state economy. Qualified and experienced employees in the aviation industry are in high demand throughout the state, especially in rural communities.

The 21st Century Community Learning Center (CCLC) in Nenana is addressing this demand by preparing youth living in rural Alaska for this crucial industry.

Nenana is a small rural town of approximately 400 residents. Nenana City School District is comprised of one K-12 grade school that serves nearly 200 students. Approximately 100 of these students are enrolled in the school’s boarding facility, the Student Living Center, for grades 9-12. These students come from villages and towns all over the state, many of which attend school in Nenana because of the limited educational offerings in their home village. 

Nenana’s Community Learning Centers program expands the school’s educational offerings after school by providing tutoring, career-tech programs, and opportunities for building self-confidence and leadership skills. Among these offerings is the school’s Aviation Mechanics program, which is preparing high school students for high-paying jobs in Alaska’s aviation industry.