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Afterschool is the New Norm

By: Jodi Grant

As the pace of work ratchets backs up, and we face the challenges and opportunities a new year brings, I wanted to take a moment to look at where we are, and where we need to go.  We learned a lot about that in 2014, with the release of our third America After 3PM report, the most in-depth survey exploring the afterschool hours in our nation. Over the past 10 years, afterschool program participation has increased by more than 50 percent, to more than 10 million children.  Quite an accomplishment. But the unmet demand for afterschool programs has also seen a steady increase.



Raising the Bar for Afterschool

On November 5, 2014, an exclusive gathering of champions for quality out-of-school time programming in Virginia convened at the Virginia Partnership for Out-of-School Time (VPOST) Summit.  This event was designed for professionals working in the field of education, juvenile justice, school-age child care, prevention and youth development, recreation, military family support, and social services. Hosted by VPOST at the Williamsburg, Virginia DoubleTree Hotel, attendees had the opportunity to build knowledge and public will in support of Raising the Bar for Afterschool and Summer Learning for Student Success. A focus on increased awareness among all stakeholder groups regarding the impact of out-of-school opportunities on both youth and community outcomes was the overriding theme of this event.


Celebrate the 17th annual Lights On Afterschool Oct. 20, 2016!

Launched in October 2000, Lights On Afterschool is the only nationwide event celebrating afterschool programs and their important role in the lives of children, families and communities. The effort has become a hallmark of the afterschool movement and generates media coverage across the country each year. The Afterschool Alliance organizes Lights On Afterschool to draw attention to the many ways afterschool programs support students by offering them opportunities to learn new things—such as science, community service, robotics, Tae Kwon Do and poetry—and discover new skills. The events send a powerful message that millions more kids need quality afterschool programs. Click here for more information!



Building Better Afterschool

A decade ago, afterschool systems – which coordinate the work of programs, government, funders and other key afterschool players so they can together build more and better programming for kids – were a rarity in American cities.

Not so now, judging by the 57 city teams at a recent conference on afterschool systems.   

Read about what they learned from one another and field pioneers in a report released today: Better Together: Building Local Systems to Improve Afterschool (A Conference Report).

The report captures clear themes about how systems can open the way to strong afterschool programming for more disadvantaged children – by improving program quality, collecting and using data for informed decision-making, getting the mayor on board, and even finding creative solutions to transportation problems.



The Secret War on Afterschool Programs

By Jodi Grant

For several years now, the Obama administration has been quietly trying to divert funding intended for afterschool programs to pay for adding time to the school day or year, instead of using new funds to pilot test this concept. If this happens, families will lose the afterschool programming they rely on to keep kids safe while parents are at work, and students will lose access to fun, enriching, hands-on learning activities as well as meals, mentors, and opportunities for parental engagement. The extended learning time (ELT) initiative first appeared in President Obama’s 2010 Blueprint for Education Reform. Since then, the administration has taken a number of steps to use funds from the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) initiative—which was designed to support afterschool, before-school and summer learning programs—to pay for extended learning time.


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Afterschool for All Challenge

On Feb. 7, 2013, hundreds of people across the country stepped up to the challenge and reached out to elected officials to let them know that we support afterschool for all. The Virginia delegation included six adults and eight youth from Alternatives, Inc. in Hampton, Virginia. Our youth had the opportunity to speak at the Breakfast of Champions as well as visit the offices of our elected officials in Virginia to share their personal connection to afterschool, and how it has impacted their lives. 

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


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Virginia Youth Advocate Honored in Nation’s Capital as a Powerful and Effective Champion for Afterschool and Youth

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Afterschool Alliance today honored Kathryn Johnson, Executive Director of Alternatives Inc., for her support for afterschool programs. Johnson was named a State Afterschool Champion at the “Breakfast of Champions,” a gala event in Washington, D.C. featuring Members of Congress and national afterschool champions. Johnson has been a leader in ensuring access to afterschool programs for low-income children.  She was one of 18 state champions from around the country honored at the Breakfast for supporting and working on behalf of afterschool programs and the children and families who benefit from quality programs.  The Virginia Partnership for Out-of-School Time (VPOST) nominated her for the honor.



Expanding Minds and Opportunities: Leveraging the Power of Afterschool and Summer Learning for Student Success

Mark H. Emery, Ph.D., Chair of the VPOST Leadership Council and Administrator for Fairfax County Public Schools Middle School After-School Initiative is Featured In the New Book on Success of Afterschool and Summer Programs in helping students achieve positive outcomes. Expanding Minds and Opportunities: Leveraging the Power of Afterschool and Summer Learning for Student Success. Edited by Terry K. Peterson, Ph.D., this compendium demonstrates the role that afterschool and summer learning play in improving and expanding students' education.


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