Afterschool Program Leaders Meet with Congress


Afterschool Program Leaders Meet with Congress

Our Afterschool Ambassadors are at the forefront of making a positive impact in their communities, working tirelessly to support students and families who rely on afterschool and summer programs the most. Last week, thirty of our Afterschool Ambassadors, plus a New Jersey state network staff member, came in from all across the nation to raise their voices in the halls of Congress and remind their federal elected officials  that we need more investments in 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) and the Child Care Development Fund – not less – to continue supporting students and families who rely on afterschool programs. Funding for 21st CCLC has not kept up with inflation or the demand for programs, and costs to operate programs continue to rise. Today, for every child in a program, four more are waiting to get in.

The Afterschool for All Challenge experience began with meetings with representatives from the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Agriculture where Ambassadors were able to share their successes and challenges with accessing federal funds and learn about new resources and technical assistance supports from the agency staff.

On Wednesday, June 14, Afterschool Ambassadors and Afterschool Alliance staff members participated in a series of 68 meetings with their elected officials and their teams, emphasizing the value of afterschool programs in their community and state, ensuring that 21st Century Community Learning Centers are funded for years to come, and even inviting officials to join a local Lights On Afterschool celebration! Ambassadors were met with broad support and excitement.

 As the Afterschool for Challenge day came to a close, our Ambassadors shared their gratitude for  the experience, “The meeting went beautifully. I couldn't have asked for a more amazing experience.”

Our Ambassador’s efforts were joined by advocates at home, making close to 300 calls, texts, emails, and tweets to their elected officials. Supporters can still let their members of Congress know that afterschool works to inspire learning, keep kids safe, and support working families all year round.