Policy makers at every level of government are critical allies in expanding the resources available to support afterschool programs. Consider inviting them to your event or asking them to issue a proclamation
The Dallas AfterSchool Network hosted a bus tour of afterschool programs in north and south Dallas for local dignitaries and community leaders, affording them a realistic look at “a day in the afterschool life of a Dallas child.” As a direct result of the bus tour, the local ABC television affiliate committed to doing a weekly segment on afterschool, and Dallas AfterSchool Network, Executive Director Tanya McDonald was able to establish relationships with federal and state representatives and schedule follow-up meetings.
The Fort Worth Independent School District's 21st Century Community Learning Centers Programs' Lights On Afterschool event was a rally in front of the JCPenney store in Fort Worth's Ridgmar Mall. The event, which drew more than 700 attendees, drew on the talents of children from 21st Century programs across the school district, featuring singing, cheers, ballet folklorico, poetry, hip-hop dance, steppers, Tae Kwon Do, a band performance, a fashion show and Kung Fu. Displays on various afterschool learning opportunities filled the mall walkways on two floors in front of the store, giving parents, the media and policy makers the chance to sample the programs' rich and diverse curriculum.
A "Battle of the Bands" event built around the mayor's city pride initiative attracted media attention and local policy makers, creating visibility for the program and strengthening relationships with officials.
The main event kicked off with a student torch race to the state capitol. Students passed the torches on to legislators to call attention to the thousands of area children without afterschool. The creative event inspired a state policy maker to help find needed funding for afterschool.