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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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AUG
22

IN THE FIELD
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Back to afterschool meals

By Alexis Steines

In many parts of the country, summer is drawing to a close as many kids are heading back to the classroom during the final days of August.  For children that rely on federal child nutrition programs, back to school also means back to consistent, healthful and nutritious meals, including those provided by the Department of Agriculture’s At-Risk Afterschool Meals Program.

If you're not already serving afterschool meals in your program, consider participating in the At-Risk Afterschool Meals Program.  Afterschool programs with more than 50 percent of their students receiving free and reduced price school lunches are eligible to serve these meals. Participating in the program is easy and it gives you the opportunity to build community partnerships with your school district’s school nutrition department and anti-hunger advocacy organizations.

Whether you're just starting to serve afterschool meals or are looking to increase participation in your program, the following tips should help you successfully maximize participation:

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learn more about: Federal Funding Funding Opportunity Nutrition Sustainability Community Partners
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AUG
22

POLICY
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Child Protection Improvement Act gaining momentum in Congress

By Erik Peterson

Congress is out on August recess until early September, however discussions on a variety of topics continue to take place. In particular, momentum appears to be growing in support of the Child Protection Improvement Act (S. 1362). The bipartisan legislation introduced by Sens. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) about one year ago seeks to establish affordable access to an all-encompassing criminal background check database system accessible by afterschool and other youth-serving organizations. While all youth-serving organizations can check the in-state criminal records of job applicants and volunteers, only one-third of states provide these organizations with access to the FBI database to conduct nationwide criminal background checks.

Earlier this summer, Sen. Schumer joined afterschool and youth organizations in New York for a press event highlighting the need and potential impact of the legislation. The bill builds off of the now expired pilot program created by the PROTECT Act of 2004 that gave selected youth-serving organizations access to nationwide criminal records.  Statistics from that program show the importance of having comprehensive background checks.   In that program, 6 percent of applicants had a criminal record that should have prevented them from working with children.  Additionally, 40 percent of those crimes were not committed in the same state in which the person applied for the job or volunteer opportunity, meaning that the record would be undetected without a nationwide criminal record search.

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learn more about: Congress Federal Policy Legislation
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AUG
22

FUNDING
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New toolkit lays out attendance strategy

By Sarah Simpson

We know that students who miss too much school suffer academically at every age and every grade. Equally important, we know absenteeism is a problem we can solve if districts and schools identify the students most at risk and then work with parents and community partners, like afterschool programs, to turn around attendance and achievement.  Research has shown that regular attendance at an afterschool program helps to improve school day attendance. Afterschool programs are also important partners in engaging parents and offering needed supports to students and families that may help to combat chronic absenteeism.

A new toolkit from Attendance Works, The Power of Positive Connections, calls for using absenteeism records from past years and from the first month of school to connect the most at-risk students to personal relationships and positive supports—the kind they receive every day in high-quality afterschool programs—that motivate them to show up to class every day.

As students head back to school, the toolkit provides a step-by-step guide to a data-driven strategy and resources known as PEOPLE—Priority Early Outreach through Positive Linkages and Engagement.

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learn more about: School Improvement Youth Development
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AUG
22

LIGHTS ON
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Play out loud for Lights On Afterschool!

By Sarah Simpson

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learn more about: Events and Briefings Health and Wellness Inside the Afterschool Alliance Community Partners
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AUG
20

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup - August 20, 2014

By Luci Manning

Bronx Shelter Helps Kids Escape Tortures of Domestic Violence, Heals Emotional Wounds (Daily News, New York)

The Sarah Burke House in the Bronx serves as a safe haven for kids and their moms to start a new life free from domestic violence.  There, the children participate in theater, dance, yoga classes, and do arts and crafts after school and during the summer because as Ted McCourtney, director of the shelter, told the Daily News, “I think it is really important that we address the clinical aspects of what is happening in the children, but also that we just provide a fun, memorable, normal summer experience for these kids.”  Mothers attend job training sessions while their children engage in safe surroundings, fostering the healing process.

Columbia Academy Students Travel Across Globe for Summer Learning (Daily Herald, Tennessee)

High school students from Columbia Academy had a summer to remember as they travelled to different locales as part of a summer learning programs geared towards exploring the students’ passions, reports the Daily Herald.  One student travelled to Los Angeles to study fashion, another went to North Carolina to study oceanography, while others traveled to Austria and Italy to learn more about history and European culture.  The program was a smashing success as the globetrotting students returned inspired and more aware of what they want their future careers to look like.

Engaging a Problem: Auburn Girl Attends STEM Camp in Syracuse (Citizen, New York)

Syracuse University opened its doors this summer to promote talented seventh and eighth grade girls interest in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) curricula.  “The idea is that a lot of girls at that age turn away from science and math,” Project Engage Summer Program Coordinator Carol Stokes-Cawley told the Citizen, explaining how Project Engage is there to show the girls that STEM is for them.  The students explored STEM topics to a greater depth of what they would in their schools’ science labs, pushing the limits of nanoparticles to determine their breaking points and creating prosthetics out of ordinary objects, afterwards calculating their properties, volume, flexibility, and strength.

Rising Second-Graders Shining ‘STARS’ This Summer (Brunswick Beacon, North Carolina)

Fifteen rising second graders from Jessie Mae Monroe Elementary sang proudly at their Seaside Teaching and Reaching Students (STARS) summer program graduation ceremony this week.  The six week program, hosted by Seaside United Methodist Church, helped young students develop a love of reading. Program Director Mary Ellen Good boasted to the Brunswick Beacon, “The changes I saw in their reading ability, their desire to read. When they first came in reading was the last thing on their mind.  Toward the end of the program they were asking to read.  They found joy in going to the library each week.  They were so proud of the fact that they had library cards.”

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learn more about: Science Summer Learning Literacy Community Partners
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AUG
14

LIGHTS ON
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The 2014 Lights On Afterschool poster is here!

By Sarah Simpson

Read more about Ashley's afterschool experience in America's Afterschool Storybook.

This year we had thousands of afterschool artists answer our call and submit artwork for the chance to be featured on the 2014 Lights On Afterschool poster.  We had such a good time looking through all the artwork and seeing the talent and creativity coming out of these programs—it’s clear that these artists really love their afterschool programs!

After much consideration, we’re pleased to announce the 2014 Lights On Afterschool poster contest winner: Ashley Parker from Farmington, New Mexico!

Ashley says she was inspired to draw a bright, Broadway-style marquee sign with lots of color and doodles around it.  We think it’s the perfect way to promote your event and let your community know that the lights are ON afterschool!

The artwork will be printed on 70,000 posters and sent to all registered Lights On Afterschool events to help them promote their events. Get yours now! Register your event to receive 10 free posters.

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learn more about: Afterschool Voices Inside the Afterschool Alliance Rural Arts
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AUG
13

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup - August 13, 2014

By Luci Manning

NMSU STEM Outreach Center Expands Summer Camps and Locations (Las Cruces Sun-News, New Mexico)

This year, New Mexico State University’s STEM Outreach Center expanded, giving more students the opportunity to participate in fun summer STEM activities.  Susan Brown, director of the NMSU STEM Outreach program, explained to Las Cruces News how crucial it is to get kids excited about STEM, and that out of school programs are the way to truly engage them because, “summer camps give students a real-project based, problem-solving, inquiry-based approach to the STEM fields.”  NMSU STEM also runs an afterschool program during the school year. 

Girls Interest in Helping Environment Gaining Momentum (Santa Fe New Mexican, New Mexico)

Two rising sixth graders at Desert Academy are doing all they can to help the environment through their Global Warming Express!  Marina Weber and Joanna Whysner created Global Warming Express and enlisted supportive adults to raise awareness about climate change.  The camp takes a hands-on approach to teaching elementary students about biology, earth science and sustainability and public speaking, so students can effectively advocate for their cause. So far the students have gotten their school to remove a vending machine to cut down on plastic bottle waste and presented before Environmental Protection Agency officials in Denver, the Santa Fe New Mexican reports.  They hope to expand the camp into an afterschool program.

Book Retailer Teaming Up With Jessye Norman School to Build Library (Augusta Chronicle, Georgia)

Kids at the Jessye Normal School of Arts are getting a library!  The school teamed up with The Book Tavern to collect books this month to build a school library.  Collin Segura, counselor and publicity representative for the school, told the Augusta Chronicle that “the reading program would be a good way to prevent summer brain drain,” and has already been successful in getting its 27 participants to read 63 books in just three weeks. 

Award Winning SD 4-H 'Teens as Teachers' Releases Program Report (Rapid City Journal, South Dakota)

The award winning Teens as Teachers program helped nearly 300 elementary and middle school students throughout South Dakota to “Take A Stand” against bullying, reports the Rapid City Journal.  Teens taught younger students about conflict-resolution including lessons on communication, teamwork, social skills, empathy and cultural awareness and gained valuable inisight into teaching as a career.  The South Dakota State University Extension 4-H Youth Development partnered with the South Dakota Coordinated School Health and the South Dakota 21st CCLC on the anti-bullying program.  

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learn more about: 21st CCLC Robotics Science Summer Learning Sustainability Literacy Community Partners
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AUG
8

IN THE FIELD
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Guest Blog: After-School All-Stars youth leaders from across the nation converge on Washington, D.C.

By Erik Peterson

Guest blog by Alyssa Plotkin, national program assistant for the After-School All-Stars.

 

“Because of After-School All-Stars, I feel like I’m important, that my opinion matters. I’m so fortunate to have been chosen to be a yabbie. I feel happier, more social and more knowledgeable.” – Citlali of ASAS Los Angeles

After-School All-Stars (ASAS), a leading national provider of comprehensive out-of-school-time programs that serves more than 90,000 children in 13 cities across the U.S.—brought 40 extraordinary 8th grade leaders and staff to Washington, D.C., in July for a week-long leadership summit. Each chapter, from New York to Hawaii, selected an outstanding student-based on their leadership abilities, strong attendance, academic performance and unwavering commitment to community service.

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learn more about: Advocacy Afterschool Voices Congress Guest Blog
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