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Recap: Annual Out-of-School Time Advisory Coalition meeting

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Recap: Annual Out-of-School Time Advisory Coalition meeting

This year’s Afterschool for All Challenge not only gathered passionate afterschool advocates together, but also included a meeting of advocates who support healthy eating and physical activity in the afterschool space.

Through funding from Voices for Healthy Kids, a joint initiative led by the American Heart Association and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Afterschool Alliance leads the Out-of-School Time (OST) Advisory Coalition. This coalition consists of stakeholders and subject matter experts from both national- and state-level organizations that focus on afterschool initiatives. Our goal is to promote Voices For Healthy Kids’ funding opportunities and provide guidance to states seeking to advance policy that secures state-level funding for training and technical assistance in implementing the National Afterschool Association’s Healthy Eating and Physical Activity (HEPA) standards in afterschool programs.

“Participating as a member of national OST Advisory Coalition is a win-win for the SC Alliance of YMCAs.  I feel our statewide campaign gains knowledge from national experts on best practice strategies.  Yet at the same time, South Carolina’s Out of School Time coalition can help inform this important national work with our successes, challenges and the realities of actually getting best practice legislation passed,” shared Amy Splittgerber, Executive Director of the South Carolina Alliance of YMCAs and current coalition member.

We met during the first day of the Challenge to discuss and explore ways to strengthen the support we can provide to states seeking funding for implementing HEPA. The first half of the discussion focused on exploring model policy language and identifying the key questions that need to be addressed when states develop policy language – including considerations of grant programs that would be the most equitable in supporting low-resourced programs and the types of training/professional development that would support the diverse roles played by program staff.

The second part of the meeting was dedicated to examining the current supports and threats to policy that would support training and technical assistance for HEPA. Increasing interest in the concept of the “whole child”, connecting health to the workforce, adolescent brain science, and more apps that support mindfulness and physical activity were among many identified supports.

This annual meeting reflected the strengths provided by this coalition, which include leveraging the expertise of leaders at both the state- and national- level to ensure that afterschool programs are able to provide healthy opportunities to students. We were able to reflect on both the progress that has been made in the field, and explore ways to continue the momentum in integrating healthy behaviors in the out-of-school time space.

You can learn more about the health and wellness work at the Afterschool Alliance here.

While the application period for summer has closed, Voices for Healthy Kids will begin another reading period for proposals to advance state policy focused on diverse aspects of child health in the autumn. We will update this blog with dates when they are announced — in the meanwhile, state networks can review the toolkit for promoting application periods to programs in their states.

Recap: Annual Out-of-School Time Advisory Coalition meeting

This year’s Afterschool for All Challenge not only gathered passionate afterschool advocates together, but also included a meeting of advocates who support healthy eating and physical activity in the afterschool space. Through funding from Voices for Healthy Kids, a joint...

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