Tuesday, September 3, 2019

One More Thing

By Sam Piha

We are committed to speaking out on the youth impacts of immigration policies, sustained funding for afterschool, access to mindfulness training and playful learning opportunities afterschool. Below, we offer some additional resources on these topics.

Source: Denver Public Schools
“In the wake of the horrible tragedy in El Paso, Texas, and the ICE raids in Mississippi that have come crashing down on a nation already awash in rising racial tension and vilification of immigrant families, we…are now more than ever focused on being a safe harbor for all of our children and families.” -Denver School Superintendent Susana Cordova (Cordova’s full statement is available in several languages.)

We do know that some school districts have addressed these issues regarding immigrant youth. But what about afterschool programs? According to the Afterschool Alliance, “In communities across the country, anxiety and concern are growing among immigrant children and families in response to new immigration policies and efforts currently underway. Afterschool programs can play an important role in creating a safe and welcoming environment for immigrant students and families and cultivating a sense of belonging and overall wellbeing.” The Afterschool Alliance hosted a webinar with speakers from the National Immigration Law Center and Legal Services for Children. 

The Alliance is also in conversations with the American Constitutional Society for Law & Policy on hosting another webinar next month on the topic of the ICE raids. We will share more information once we know more.

We know that funding for afterschool is not guaranteed. Thus, it is important that we advocate every year. One way is participation in the yearly Lights On Afterschool events. 

“Join more than 8,000 communities and 1 million Americans in celebrating afterschool programs for this year's Lights On Afterschool! This nationwide event, organized by the Afterschool Alliance, calls attention to the importance of afterschool programs and the resources required to keep the lights on and the doors open. To learn more about Lights On Afterschool, register an event, access event planning tools, or to find out what’s going on in your area, visit afterschoolalliance.org.” -Youth Service America
Why not invite a policymaker to visit your program? By engaging them, you begin to build a relationship and educate them about the importance of your program and the issues that matter to you.

Check out Youth Service America’s site on GYSD Advocacy / Public Official Engagement Tools. This page will help you engage public leaders. Voices for National Service has tips for Hosting a Successful Site Visit. The Afterschool Alliance outlines five simple steps to set up a site visit and also provides these three case studies

Too often we have avoided the “F” word, FUN, in afterschool programs.  The National Afterschool Association (NAA) dedicated an issue of Afterschool Today to playful learning. In 2019, The Genius of Play spread its message to afterschool professionals and parents through a new partnership with NAA.  

Source: Laurie Grossman

For years we have been promoting the value of teaching mindfulness. We thought you might enjoy this brief radio interview with a school volunteer that teaches mindfulness to young people in an Oakland school.

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