Monday, October 10, 2016

Afterschool and Communities of Concentrated Poverty

By Sam Piha

Sam Piha
Afterschool youth programs have been serving low-income youth since the late 1800s. This is well documented in Robert Halpern’s book, Making Play Work. The History of Afterschool in America will also be the subject of a documentary video that we are working on currently. 

The Afterschool Alliance recently published a new report, America After 3PM Special Report: Afterschool in Communities of Concentrated Poverty. According to Nikki Yamashiro, Director of Research at the Afterschool Alliance, “Where you live has direct and indirect impacts on the fundamental resources and opportunities you count on, and which many people may take for granted. Your location affects the quality of schools available to you, your access to healthy and affordable food, and your overall wellbeing and future economic success.This is why the Afterschool Alliance believed it was critical to examine the role that afterschool programs are playing (or not playing) in communities of concentrated poverty.” 

Making Play Work by Robert Halpern and
History of Afterschool Project by The How Kids Learn Foundation

Key findings from the report include:
  • The demand for afterschool and summer learning programs in communities of concentrated poverty is high. Both participation in and the demand for afterschool and summer learning programs is higher in communities of concentrated poverty compared to the national average. 
  • Parents living in communities of concentrated poverty rely on afterschool programs. Parents living in communities of concentrated poverty looked to afterschool programs as a source of support for their family, more so than parents living outside of these communities. 
For more infographics from the Afterschool Alliance, click here.

  • Afterschool programs provide integral supports for children living in communities of concentrated poverty. An overwhelming majority of parents living in communities of concentrated poverty report that their child’s afterschool program provides opportunities for physical activity (87 percent); homework assistance (81 percent); STEM learning opportunities (78 percent); opportunities for reading or writing (76 percent); and beverages, snacks or meals (75 percent).
  • Key barriers exist regarding access to afterschool programs in communities of concentrated poverty. Accessibility and affordability are two major obstacles affecting the ability of parents living in communities of concentrated poverty to enroll their child in an afterschool program. 

Jodi Grant, Executive Director at the Afterschool Alliance, will share some of the findings at our upcoming How Kids Learn VI conference (San Francisco) in December.  

Visit the America After 3PM page where you can read the full report or executive summary.  

Monday, October 3, 2016

LIAS Online Guide with Videos

By Sam Piha
Sam Piha

The Learning in Afterschool & Summer (LIAS) project has posted several video interviews on the relevance of the LIAS learning principles featuring afterschool and educational leaders from across the country. Now we have published an online, magazine-style guide to the LIAS learning principles with mini clips from these video interviews. This guide can be viewed with a computer, smartphone, or tablet. 

We also converted a number of important articles from the LIAS project and the Expanded Learning 360°/365 project. Click here to check it out. 

Friday, September 23, 2016

Remembering the Importance of Relationships and Kindness

By Sam Piha

Sam Piha
I was reminded this week of the importance of adult relationships in young people’s development and the difference we can make by offering understanding, kindness, and acceptance. This is easy to take for granted because of all of the pressure to focus on content and academic/non-academic skills. 

I was reminded of this due to an interview between Terry Gross (NPR) and Ryan Speedo Green. Mr. Green was a violent and troubled youth at an early age. Due to the kindness and acceptance of an elementary school teacher, he is now a singer with New York’s Metropolitan Opera. You too can be inspired - have a listen

I was also reminded of a chapter in the CNYD Youth Development Guide that focuses on relationship building. You can read this chapter by clicking here. Within this chapter is a staff exercise entitled “Cookie Lady” (page 20 of the PDF). This exercise asks adults to think back to a certain age and identify the adults that were very important to them. One participant identified the lady in the cafeteria that passed out cookies - hence the name “Cookie Lady”.        

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Character Day is September 22nd and Lights On Afterschool! is October 20th

There are two important events coming up that are important for the afterschool community. We urge all afterschool leaders to consider their participation, see below. 

CHARACTER DAY - SEPTEMBER 22, 2016 (#CharacterDay2016)

Two weeks to Character Day! Afterschool and summer youth programs are perfectly positioned to promote their development of important character traits. In fact, many programs do this intentionally as part of their stated mission. We encourage afterschool and summer programs to join over 50,000 events happening around the globe. The hunger for this conversation is incredible! If you are still looking for ideas for your event (whether you have 15 mins, an hour, or a whole day devoted to Character Day), check out Let It Ripple's website, where you can find suggestions for activities, discussion kits, other free materials, and videos for all ages. 


Get Involved! We encourage all afterschool programs to participate in the 17th annual Lights On Afterschool! celebration. This is an important day, sponsored by the Afterschool Alliance, in which thousands of programs make the case for the continued support of afterschool programs for youth. You can find events, gather ideas, and register for Lights On Afterschool and help showcase the benefits of afterschool programs and their need for support. 

Last year, more than 1 million Americans celebrated Lights On Afterschool at more than 8,000 events. Thousands of news outlets shared stories of diverse programs around the country. We know partners like you made this happen.

We can’t wait to see what programs across the country have in store for Lights On Afterschool 2016!