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Afterschool Challenge Snacks
JUN
11

CHALLENGE
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Youth advocates hone their skills at the Afterschool for All Challenge

By Melissa Ballard

We welcomed more than 30 youth from across the country to this year’s Afterschool for All Challenge. Half came from science center afterschool programs, thanks to our partnership with the Association of Science-Technology Centers (ASTC). Youth from this year’s MetLife Foundation Afterschool Innovator Award-winning programs also attended. These young advocates visited Congressional offices along with their state teams and shared personal stories of how afterschool has impacted their lives. But before they got started, we helped prepare them in an intensive workshop.

The workshop started with the students brainstorming ideas about what advocacy is and how it’s done. The group focused in on one aspect of advocacy—that it gave voice to those that don’t have one—thinking about other kids in their home communities. Then, we discussed what kinds of "asks" state teams would make and how advocacy through Capitol Hill visits fits into the legislative process (and of course, we had to show the classic School House Rock video).

To prepare for their turn to speak in the next day’s Capitol Hill meetings, we spent time crafting and practicing talking points. The task was to come up with a short, succinct way to describe what they did in their afterschool programs; why it mattered to them; and to concretely describe the effect participation has had on their interests, behaviors, knowledge and skills. Our last task for the workshop was to translate these talking points into a memorable document to leave behind with Congressional staff after the meetings. Check out all the youth’s handouts in America’s Afterschool Storybook.

Feedback from both the youth and their adult leaders was overwhelmingly positive. Leaders reported that the youth’s compelling personal stories were a great impact at each office they visited. ASTC is currently working on a video capturing the reactions of the science center youth—we’ll post that next week. We’re looking forward to an even bigger and better Afterschool for All Challenge in 2015!

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learn more about: Advocacy Afterschool Voices Congress Events and Briefings Inside the Afterschool Alliance MetLife Innovator Awards Youth Development
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MAY
30

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Preeminent afterschool researcher and 10 state education leaders honored as Afterschool Champions

By Sarah Simpson

As part of the Afterschool for All Challenge, last week Judge Glenda Hatchett joined some 250 parents, children, educators, lawmakers and advocates from around the country at the “Breakfast of Champions” on Capitol Hill to honor Members of Congress and state champions for afterschool programs. We were proud to give our National “Afterschool for All” Champion Award to Dr. Deborah Lowe Vandell, founding dean of the School of Education at the University of California-Irvine, for her powerful and growing body of research that has been used to improve programs and measure their impact.

Dr. Vandell was one of the first researchers to assess afterschool programs and has been presenting findings to her peers on afterschool choices and outcomes for more than 20 years. She has released more than 30 papers and articles reviewing the academic and social outcomes associated with participation in quality programs. She is a preeminent researcher on afterschool programs and outcomes, and her work has informed program and policy development at the national, state and local levels.

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learn more about: Advocacy Afterschool Champions Congress Events and Briefings Inside the Afterschool Alliance Media Outreach MetLife Innovator Awards State Networks
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MAY
30

CHALLENGE
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Hundreds of you took action for the Afterschool for All Challenge; Congress heard you loud and clear

By Sarah Simpson

Last week, hundreds of afterschool advocates took action to urge their Members of Congress to support the Afterschool for America’s Children Act.  While afterschool leaders from across the country spent the day on Capitol Hill to hold 200 meetings with Members of Congress and their staff, almost 700 more amplified their voices by calling and emailing from home.

You spoke, they listened.  Here’s what your actions were able to do:

  • 7 new co–sponsors of the Afterschool for America’s Children Act in the House: Reps. Beatty (D-Ohio), Grijalva (D-Ariz.), Kirkpatrick (D-Ariz.), Sewell (D-Ala.), Velazquez (D-N.Y.), Higgins (D-N.Y.) and Lowey (D-N.Y.). That more than quadruples the number of co-sponsors from before the Afterschool for All Challenge!
  • At least 1 new co–sponsor of the Afterschool for America’s Act in the Senate—we’ll keep you posted on who they are once the Senate is back in session next week!
  • At least 3 new members of the Congressional Afterschool Caucus.

Thanks again for taking the Afterschool for All Challenge and advocating for the afterschool programs that keep kids safe, inspire learning and help working families. We couldn’t have done it without you!

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learn more about: Advocacy Afterschool Voices Congress Inside the Afterschool Alliance Legislation
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MAY
29

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Personal experience and research share the stage at Congressional afterschool briefing

By Erik Peterson

On May 22—in conjunction with the 13th annual Afterschool for All Challenge—the Senate Afterschool Caucus, the Afterschool Alliance and the Expanded Learning Project joined forces to host a Capitol Hill briefing featuring compelling stories and encouraging research that point to the success and potential of afterschool and summer learning programs. 

Dr. Deborah Lowe Vandell, founding dean of the University of California-Irvine School of Education, shared new data that shows how quality afterschool programs can help close the achievement gap. She emphasized findings that show afterschool programs are particularly effective at improving achievement and positive behavior among low-income students. She noted that afterschool researchers and advocates have data that show that the long-term outcomes associated with afterschool participation are positive and compelling and should move the discussion about the benefits of afterschool beyond the safety and good behaviors conversations.  In addition, Vandell stated that in recent years the research tools and findings have facilitated the incorporation of measures of intensity, duration and quality. 

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learn more about: 21st CCLC Advocacy Afterschool Caucus Afterschool Voices Equity Events and Briefings Academic Enrichment
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MAY
12

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Call Congress to support Afterschool for America's Children Act

By Sarah Simpson

On May 22, we’re teaming up with the National Network of Statewide Afterschool Networks to bring afterschool leaders from around the country to Washington, D.C., to meet face to face with Members of Congress and urge them to co–sponsor the Afterschool for America’s Children Act. We need your help to amplify their voices.You’re the local expert on afterschool. Members of Congress need to hear from constituents like you who care about making afterschool for all a reality. Help us make 535 calls to Congress–that’s one for every senator and representative on Capitol Hill.

Click here to call your Members of Congress. We have everything you’ll need to make the call, including a sample script!

Feeling ambitious? Click here to learn how to set up a district meeting with your local Congressional office.

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learn more about: 21st CCLC Afterschool Voices Congress Legislation Media Outreach State Networks
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APR
2

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Guest Blog: A first-hand account from the Afterschool for All Challenge

By Sarah Simpson

Jeff Cole is the associate vice president of school-community partnerships for the Nebraska Children and Families Foundation and Network Lead for the Nebraska Community Learning Center Network.

 

As a first time participant in the Afterschool for All Challenge, I really didn’t know what to expect as we were filing into the Russell Senate Office Building.  Having nominated Kristin Williams, Director of Community Initiatives at Omaha’s Sherwood Foundation, as Nebraska’s Afterschool Champion (a MUCH deserved recognition for all her work promoting afterschool programs in high poverty schools in Omaha and across the state), I knew state level advocates would be recognized for their work.  I didn’t realize that a bipartisan group of senators and representatives would be joined by other national advocates and young people from nearby programs at the “Breakfast of Champions” to make such a strong case for why afterschool programs are so important for our nation’s future before heading to meetings on Capitol Hill. 

I was especially hearted by Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s (R-AK) comments in support of S. 326, which strengthens the crucial federal 21st CCLC grant program, highlighting how important afterschool programs are for residents of her largely rural state.  I was honored to have the opportunity to chat with and share my enthusiasm for rural afterschool programs with Sen. Murkowski as she was leaving the ornate and historic Kennedy Caucus Room.

I carried this enthusiasm for the importance of rural afterschool programs over into the meetings that I had with 4 of Nebraska’s 5 Congressional delegations after the “Breakfast of Champions.”  Retiring Sen. Mike Johanns met with our group and reflected on his understanding of the importance of afterschool programs that he gained while serving as Nebraska’s governor.

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learn more about: Advocacy Afterschool Champions Congress Events and Briefings Guest Blog Rural State Networks
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FEB
12

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Thanks for taking the Afterschool for All Challenge at home!

By Sarah Simpson

On Feb. 7, 2013, hundreds of you across the country stepped up to the challenge and reached out to your elected officials to let them know that you support afterschool for all:

  • More than 120 Congressional offices
  • Across 36 states
  • More than 100 district meetings & site visits
  • Hundreds of phone calls and emails to Congress
  • Digital Learning Day celebrations in 23 states
Highlights from home:

Arkansas: The Arkansas Out of School Network worked with allied organization Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families to take the Afterschool for All Challenge to the state capitol in Little Rock on February 7. Child advocates from across the state met at the Arkansas State Capitol to participate in the legislative process, meet with local legislators, attend legislative committee meetings, and observe lawmakers voting on bills that affect the lives of children and their families.

In conjunction with Kids Count Day, Arkansas Senate Bill 249 was introduced to provide $5 million to fund the pilot phase of the Positive Youth Development Act.

Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe stopped by Kids Count Day to lead pre-k children in singing Itsy Bitsy Spider. Watch:

 

Pittsburgh: Director Mila Yochum of Allegheny Partners for Out of School Time (APOST) had several local advocates join her at a series of meetings at the local offices of Rep. Mike Doyle and Sens. Pat Toomey and Pat Casey.

 

More than 200 state afterschool leaders and experts backed up your outreach with face-to-face meetings on Capitol Hill with senators and representatives to echo your message that afterschool works to keep kids safe, inspire learning and help working families.  

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learn more about: Advocacy Afterschool Voices Digital Learning Events and Briefings Legislation State Networks State Policy
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FEB
11

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Taking the Afterschool for All Challenge to Capitol Hill

By Erik Peterson

More than 200 advocates for quality afterschool and summer learning programs packed into the majestic Kennedy Caucus Room in the Russell Senate Office Building on February 7 for the "Breakfast of Champions."  The event honored a record 18 state afterschool champions, National Afterschool Champion John Galvin, assistant principal of I.S. 318 in Brooklyn, NY, (and co-star of the award winning afterschool chess documentary Brooklyn Castle), and four senators who are champions of afterschool programs.  John Galvin was recognized for his dedication to his students and the afterschool chess program, which has helped build a culture of success at the school.  Galvin mounted a community-wide campaign to fight budget cuts that threatened the chess program.
 
The "Breakfast of Champions" was part of the 13th annual Afterschool for All Challenge, which brought together hundreds of educators, parents, afterschool leaders and advocates from around the country for a series of events and meetings with Members of Congress.  Sens. Mark Begich (AK), Barbara Boxer (CA), Lisa Murkowski (AK) and Sheldon Whitehouse (RI) addressed the enthusiastic crowd and were honored for their support of afterschool programs.  Following the Breakfast, advocates met with more than 200 House and Senate offices asking for support for afterschool and summer learning programs that face a 5 percent funding cut next month due to sequestration; and supporting the soon to be introduced Afterschool for America’s Children Act.
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learn more about: Advocacy Afterschool Champions Congress State Networks
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