Tuesday, December 6, 2022

Films That Can Inspire Afterschool Leaders and Youth Participants

By Sam Piha

Source: www.pixarpost.com

There are a number of films which are relevant to the afterschool field and they can be easily streamed online. The holiday break is a perfect time to check them out. We discuss them below.

Inside Out  

Source: Inside Out

Inside Out, is a special gift for those who work in expanded learning programs. It echoes much of the research and work done on social emotional learningcharacter buildingnon-cognitive skillsgrowth mindsets, and our most recent knowledge of how the brain works. This Disney/Pixar animated film focuses on the emotions within an 11-year-old girl - emotions that battle for control and ways to influence her behavior. The film is an important tool in helping young people understand where their emotions come from, how to identify them, and empowering young people to manage their own feelings and behavior. You can view a LIAS Blog on Inside Out that we posted. We highly recommend you view the film. Better yet, watch it with a young friend who is 6 years or older.  

To watch or stream Inside Out, click here.

Finding the Gold Within 

Source: Finding the Gold Within

We first met filmmaker, Karina Epperlein, years ago at a screening of her film, Finding the Gold Within. This documentary chronicles the transition of young black men from high school to college, the issues of racism they encountered, and the role of Alchemy Inc., (Akron, Oh) an afterschool program supporting this transition. We were so taken by the film, that we sponsored several screenings in the San Francisco Bay Area which were followed by a Q&A with the filmmaker and Alchemy Inc. participants that were featured in the film. We later invited Ms. Epperlein, staff from Alchemy Inc. and an Alchemy youth participant to speak at a HKL conference. We also featured the film and filmmaker in several LIAS Blogs.

Film Synopsis: Finding the Gold Within follows six Black men from Akron, Ohio, through their first years of college. Despite their high levels of confidence and critical thinking, the stark reality of being away from their families and communities brings a series of crises. Each of them is determined to disprove society’s stereotypes and low expectations. In the intimate circle of Alchemy—which has been their “family” since sixth grade—they speak of their disappointments, despairs, trials and triumphs with a disarming honesty. Alchemy, Inc. and its leaders have been working in the school system in the Cleveland area, mentoring young black urban youth from middle through high school. –www.goldthefilm.com/synopsis

“Extremely topical… at times inspiring and funny, at other times heartbreaking and disturbing, and always fascinating. The conversations with these young men feature some of the most frank discussions about what it means to be black in America that I have ever heard.”– Pete Crooks, writer Diablo Magazine Interview

“Inspiring, heartbreaking, and unflinchingly honest, this film is not just about the journeys these men must take, but the journeys we all must share to bring about change.” – Clint Rohrbacher, Cleveland International Film Festival write-up

To watch or stream Karina's documentary, Finding the Gold Within, click here.

Brooklyn Castle

Source: Brooklyn Castle
Brooklyn Castle is a documentary about Intermediate School 318 (NYC) – a Title I school where more than 65 percent of students are living below the federal poverty level, that happens to have the best junior high chess team, bar none, in the country. We were so taken by the film, that we sponsored a special screening of it in Oakland, CA.

“The kids are happy to be at school and to stay at school past 3 p.m. because they know they are going to get to participate in the activity that they've chosen, and that they're starting to build a passion for … I guess the most important (LIAS Principle) I witnessed was that learning should expand the horizons of participants.” - Katie Dellamaggiore, Director and Producer of Brooklyn Castle. 

To watch or stream Brooklyn Castle, click here.

The Great Debaters

Source: The Great Debaters
This drama, starring Denzel Washington and Forest Whitaker, is based on the true story of Melvin B. Tolson, a professor at Wiley College, Texas. In 1935, he inspired students to form the school's first debate team, which went on to challenge Harvard in the national championship. 

Debate clubs are a valuable afterschool activity. To learn more, check out the National Association for Urban Debate Leagues. We also posted a LIAS Blog on this.

To watch or stream The Great Debaters, click here.

Source: National Association for Urban Debate Leagues

The Temescal Associates office will be closed for the holidays from 12/12/22 - 1/3/23. We'll be starting the new year off with a series of webinars in January that are not to be missed.

To register and learn more, click here.

Tuesday, November 29, 2022

More On Learning Loss and Afterschool

Source: Fab Youth Philly

By Sam Piha

There is a lot of concern that the COVID disruption resulted in significant learning loss and mental health issues (anxiety, depression, etc.). Should afterschool shift their focus to learning loss and academic support and move away from promoting a sense of safety, belonging and offering learning in non- academic areas?

Rebecca Fabiano
We asked Rebecca Fabiano, who is a respected afterschool leader and founder of FAB Youth Philly, to share her thoughts on these questions. Fab Youth Philly focuses three things: support youth-serving organizations through a variety of consulting services; connect youth development professionals to training and networking, and innovate summer and afterschool programming for children & teens. Rebecca has over 25 years of experience working in the afterschool field.

"I think afterschool should lean into its tradition of supporting Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) and promoting a sense of safety & belonging as a primary goal and supporting academics as a secondary goal. The afterschool field has a long history of creating spaces that encourage and promote physical and emotional safety and center relationship building as a key tool in this effort. 

Source: Fab Youth Philly

Afterschool staff often serve as critical supports and advocates for youths’ social and mental well-being and should continue to do so. They can also serve as a bridge between the school day and non-school day activities, such as academic support, including things like SAT test prep. They can partner with other organizations that provide tutoring or special academic supports to offer that either during the day or afterschool, as afterschool programs often have flexibility in terms of partnerships, hiring, funding, etc. that school systems do not have.   

Afterschool programs should respond to learning loss and mental health concerns by continuing to center positive, trusting relationships between young people and their peers and with caring adults. They should also include youth in conversations about their own mental health needs and wishes. From there, they may offer, depending on their expertise and comfort, workshops or counseling services to meet these requests. Afterschool programs can also do some additional leg work to identify resources for youth that include multilingual resources, supports for LGBTQ, undocumented and other particularly and traditionally vulnerable youth. This might include resources for the whole family."

To learn more about Rebecca Fabiano and Fab Youth Philly, click here.

For nearly 25 years, Rebecca Fabiano (She/Her/Hers) has worked in various capacities across nonprofit and youth-serving organizations, served on boards and helped to build solid youth programs that engage, encourage, and create spaces for positive development. As a program leader, she has successfully raised funds and managed program budgets; hired and supervised staff; developed and sustained strong community partnerships and designed award-winning programming. 

Tuesday, November 22, 2022

The Holidays, Gratitude and the Youth Vote

All of us at Temescal Associates, the How Kids Learn Foundation, and the Learning in Afterschool & Summer Project wish you a peaceful and restful holiday! We are most grateful to all of you who work hard to support our youth in out of school time and the youth who voted in the 2022 mid-term elections. 

On Gratitude
“When you feel gratitude, you feel a sense of abundance. When you express gratitude—especially when it’s heartfelt—you strengthen your relationships with others. Grateful people are happier and more fulfilled. And gratitude leads you to be nicer to other people: more cooperative, patient, and trusting.

Think about how your day is going. How many of these things are true?

  • I said “thank you” to someone.
  • I did something nice to show my appreciation.
  • I can list lots of people and things that I’m lucky to have in my life.
  • I noticed when someone helped me.
  • I felt a sense of thankfulness.”- Character Lab

Gratitude Activities
Below are some resources for gratitude activities.

“When you feel grateful, your moral compass becomes stronger. When you see other people commit transgressions, you hold them to higher moral standards. Your expectations rise.”David DeSteno, ED Week

“Piglet noticed that even though he had a Very Small Heart, it could hold a rather large amount of Gratitude.”- A.A. Milne, author of Winnie the Pooh

Youth in the 2022 Mid-Term Election
“Elections are a valuable opportunity for young people across the country to make their voices heard, support action on issues they care about, and grow as active voters and leaders in our democracy. It’s clear that young people had a major impact on the 2022 midterms.”
Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE)

Tuesday, November 15, 2022

3 New Books to Check Out

By Sam Piha

A number of colleagues have recently released books that we think are very valuable to the afterschool field. We discuss them below.

Raising Kids: Your Essential Guide to Everyday Parenting

While this book is targeting parents, we believe that it is also valuable for afterschool leaders. We have been working with co-author Sheri Glucoft Wong, LCSW for many years. She has provided in-person workshops on managing behavior for afterschool staff, has led online webinars and has contributed to several LIAS Blogs.

Publisher's Synopsis: “In Raising Kids, family therapist and parent educator Sheri Glucoft Wong and Silicon Valley private school head Olaf Jorgenson team up to deliver a down-to-earth guide to parenting that is as encouraging as it is illuminating. With its easy-to-grasp language and tools, Raising Kids is there for you, from managing family routines, screen time, and homework, to supporting friendships, self-esteem, and resilience. You'll find out how being "on your spot" leads to fewer conflicts and replaces threats, nagging, and punishment with clear, effective messages that make sense to your kids.”  

To learn more and order Raising Kids: Your Essential Guide to Everyday Parenting, click here.

“The authors successfully blend their experience with anecdotes and practical lessons on how to raise resilient children while maintaining one’s perspective—or sanity, in some cases—leaving the reader hopeful rather than powerless in striking balance and setting limits. As an educator, I plan to disseminate the lessons learned from the book. As a parent, I will rethink and re-shape some of the misconceptions and fears that I brought to parenting my two children. Raising Kids is an essential read for parents who want to parent with purpose, integrity, and equanimity.” — Percy L. Abram, PhD, head of school at The Bush School (WA) 

Heartset Education: A Way of Living and Learning

Stu Semigran
Author Stu Semigran is an important partner of Temescal Associates and The How Kids Learn Foundation. Stu, founder of EduCare Foundation, has led several online webinars and contributed to many LIAS Blogs.

Amazon’s Synopsis: “For our children to be active learners, they not only need a new growth mindset… they also need a growth heartset. Stu Semigran provides a new way to educate our children in Heartset® Education: A Way of Living and Learning. In this book, you will:

  • Discover How to Listen from Your Heart
  • Get Tools to Turn Challenges into Learning Opportunities
  • Learn How to Resolve Conflict from a Different Perspective
  • Gain Knowledge to Build a Sense of Connection with Your Children
  • Realize the Magnitude of the Power of Choice as a Personal Responsibility”

To learn more and order Heartset Education: A Way of Living and Learning, click here.

“Heartset Education brings to light the need for educating every child with greater love and understanding. It should be at the core for all our schools!” — Michael Funk, Director, Expanded Learning Division for the California Department of Education 

“Heartset Education is a MUST for bringing the best out of both educators and parents!”— Gloria Halley, Region 2 Lead for Learning Support, Expanded Learning Service, Office of Education, Butte County (CA)

The Heartbeat of the Youth Development Field

Georgia Hall, NIOST
We have been working with co-author Georgia Hall for many years and her latest release, The Heartbeat of the Youth Development Field, provides a window into the lives of youth workers and experiences that led to their work with young people. It beautifully illustrates the importance of building positive relationships with youth, and details the practices and strategies successfully employed by youth workers. While this book will be immeasurably valuable to researchers, funders, and policymakers, it is also an important resource for program leaders to promote reflection and discussion among youth worker staff as part of staff development.

Publisher’s Synopsis: “Youth work is a sacred opportunity to make a significant difference in the lives of children and youth. Through research and personal essay narrative, The Heartbeat of the Youth Development Field: Professional Journeys of Growth, Connection, and Transformation shines a light on the intricate connections between research and practice, touching upon both the vulnerability and triumph of youth development work. The passionate voices of youth workers in this volume lead to the inescapable conclusion that programs and policies for youth must be informed by these same voices and the values they express.”

To learn more and order The Heartbeat of the Youth Development Field, click here.

Wednesday, November 9, 2022

How Afterschool Programs Should Address COVID Learning Loss? Staying In Their Lane

Source: Photo by Ketut Subiyanto: https://www.pexels.com

By Sam Piha

Much has been discussed and written recently about learning loss during the pandemic. Headlines like those below raise alarms among educators and parents.

“These are some of the largest declines we have observed in a single assessment cycle in 50 years of the NAEP program,” said Daniel McGrath, the acting associate commissioner of NCES. “Students in 2022 are performing at a level last seen two decades ago.” - Associated Press, Reading and math scores fell sharply during pandemic, data show

But children and youth suffered more than academic learning loss. They experienced trauma due to family death/illness, fear, and isolation. Two years of upheaval as schools and community-based afterschool youth programs, including those offering sports, the arts and music activities were shut down. Young people spent this time learning, playing and socializing from home. Virus outbreaks among adult staff and youth continued the disruption even after kids returned to school and afterschool programs. In addition to academic learning loss in math and reading, we also saw social learning loss, increased absences and behavior problems.

“Three years into the pandemic, K-12 students continue to face deep social-emotional learning (SEL) challenges. Now is a crucial time for districts and schools to address students’ social-emotional needs to help them be resilient, ready to learn, and able to succeed academically. Before students can recover academically, districts and schools must first address their social-emotional learning needs.” Hanover Research, Program Planning Guide, Social Emotional Learning

Source: Photo by Charlotte May: https://www.pexels.com

“Adolescents coming of age during the pandemic have experienced social “learning loss,” and will need remedial support in social, not just academic, development, suggests new research presented this week at the Society for Neuroscience’s virtual annual conference.” – Sarah D. Sparks, ED Week


Allow schools and educators to do what they do best- teaching reading and math in ways that will impact test scores.

“Even as U.S. school districts return to traditional modes of instruction, K–12 students continue to face deep social-emotional learning (SEL) challenges — a reality that’s seeping into their ability to reach expected academic progress.”Hanover Research, Program Planning Guide, Social Emotional Learning

Instead of diverting resources away from learning that is kid-centered to academic activities, afterschool programs should stay in their lane and do what they do best:

  • re-engage youth with peers and promote the excitement of learning;
  • address social isolation by providing an environment of safety and belonging, and positive peer interaction;
  • provide young people a place where they can be physically active; 
  • build skills associated with social emotional learning. According to CASEL, these skills include:
    • self-awareness (this includes capacities to recognize one’s strengths and limitations with a well-grounded sense of confidence and purpose and understanding your emotions and thoughts and how they influence your behavior).
    • self-management (the abilities to manage one’s emotions, thoughts, and behaviors effectively in different situations and to achieve goals and aspirations. This includes the capacities to delay gratification, manage stress, and feel motivation and agency to accomplish personal and collective goals).  
    • responsible decision-making (the abilities to make caring and constructive choices about personal behavior and social interactions across diverse situations. This includes the capacities to consider ethical standards and safety concerns, and to evaluate the benefits and consequences of various actions for personal, social, and collective well-being).
    • social awareness (the abilities to understand the perspectives of and empathize with others, including those from diverse backgrounds, cultures, and contexts. This includes the capacities to feel compassion for others, understand broader historical and social norms for behavior in different settings, and recognize family, school, and community resources and supports).
    • relationship skills (the abilities to establish and maintain healthy and supportive relationships and to effectively navigate settings with diverse individuals and groups. This includes the capacities to communicate clearly, listen actively, cooperate, work collaboratively to problem solve and negotiate conflict constructively, navigate settings with differing social and cultural demands and opportunities, provide leadership, and seek or offer help when needed).

Source: CASEL.org


Crafting afterschool programs around youth development principles naturally addresses issues of social learning loss and earlier trauma. 

“PYD has been defined as voluntary education outside school hours aiming to promote generalized (not just health) and positive (not just avoiding risk) development of assets such as bonding, resilience, social, emotional, cognitive, behavior or moral competence, self-determination, spirituality, self- efficacy, clear and positive identity, belief in the future, recognition for positive behavior, opportunities for pro-social involvement and/or pro- social norms.”BMC Public Health, What is positive youth development and how might it reduce substance use and violence? 

“Positive youth development (PYD) strategies offer ways to support and respond to mental health needs at different levels: promoting resilience through positive youth development; and adopting trauma-informed practices…” – National Center on Afterschool & Summer Enrichment, Supporting and Promoting Mental Health in Out-of-School Time 

To learn more about positive youth development strategies for afterschool, see Youth Development Guide 2.0. 

The Power of Us Workforce Survey is administered by the American Institutes for Research (AIR), an independent, nonpartisan, not-for-profit organization that conducts behavioral and social science research and delivers technical assistance, both domestically and internationally. This reliable survey will be administered throughout 2022. 

Tuesday, November 1, 2022

School Shootings This Year

Source: Katie Godowski, www.pexels.com

By Sam Piha

School shootings have unfortunately become commonplace but that doesn’t mean we should accept them as normal or acceptable. Over the years we have posted blogs on this topic, which can be accessed here and we will continue to speak out when they happen.

“There have been 40 school shootings this year that resulted in injuries or deaths, the most in a single year since Education Week began tracking such incidents in 2018. There have been 132 such shootings since 2018. Prior to 2022, the highest number of school shootings with injuries or deaths was last year when there were 34. There were 10 in 2020, and 24 each in 2019 and 2018.” - Education Week, School Shootings This Year: How Many and Where

Below we share Education Week's latest School Shooting Tracker, updated October 31, 2022. 


  • 40  School shootings with injuries or deaths
  • 122  People killed or injured in a school shooting 
  • 34  People killed 
  • 28  Students or other children killed 
  • School employees or other adults killed
  • 88 People injured 
Here are a few organizations to help you get involved with to prevent school shootings:

Source: Youth Service America

Tuesday, October 25, 2022

What Researchers and Experts Have to Say: The Benefits of Music and Music Making for Young People

Source: The NAMM Foundation

By Sam Piha

We know through our own personal experience that music and music making is very important to youth. However, it is useful to identify research that speaks to this issue. We continue our spotlight on the power of music in afterschool. You can view our previous blogs here.

Research expands understanding about the impact of music making and music education, the importance of music at every stage of life, and relationships between music and physical and emotional wellness… There is an increasingly robust literature of recent research findings that support the developmental importance of music in adolescence.” – The NAMM Foundation

There is an abundance of research on the importance of music for adolescent development. Below we offer a few findings from research on the benefits of music and music making for youth development.  

Music creates a much-needed sense of belonging in the lives of teenagers. Teenagers are known for feeling isolated from society and friends. Music, as an art form, can serve as an outlet to express the feelings of frustration that come with feeling isolated. Listening to music can also give teens the chance to feel connected to musicians and other fans of specific musicians. 

Music is also something that can be enjoyed fairly privately and away from judgement, allowing teens to tailor their experiences to what they actually would like to listen to or play. Learning how to play music also gives teens real, impressive, marketable skills, making them feel useful and capable. Writing and making music is also a way for teens to express themselves as privately or as publicly as they wish.” – Author and music therapist, Cara Jerniga 

Bridging Societal Gaps
Our society tends to be very racialized, and experiences tend to be very different depending on race or ethnicity. Music provides the opportunity for teens of all races and ethnicities to share a common bond and learn about each other's cultures and backgrounds. For instance, much of the Rap and R&B genres are rooted in Black culture, and many of the prominent performers and names in those genres are Black. Music is also usually very personal to the experience of the artist, so through those things, music can be used as an educational tool for teenagers to learn about backgrounds differing from theirs.” – Author and music therapist, Cara Jerniga 

Executive Functions
Music may expose the child to challenges and multi-sensory experiences which enhance learning abilities and encourage cognitive development. In particular, music can also engage cognitive functions, such as planning, working memory, inhibition, and flexibility. These functions are known as executive functions.” – Researcher, Dave Miranda

Source: Heart of LA

Developmental Resource 
Music influences important aspects of adolescent development; music can represent a protective and a risk factor; and music can serve as an adjunct component in prevention and intervention. Therefore, it is proposed how music is a developmental resource in adolescence. It is argued that research on the developmental role of music can create a window to the everyday psychological, social, and cultural needs of contemporary adolescents.” – Researcher, Dave Miranda

Music provides opportunities in school for teens’ engagement as performers, composers and intelligent listeners, and these activities and qualities appear to be deeply meaningful to them. For teens who are desperately seeking relevance, musical study may give them the balanced experience they require.” – NAMM 

Stress Relief and Coping 
Music is a well known outlet for stress relief. Many people actively turn to music as a coping strategy when processing stress or sadness, because it helps shut out the noise of the world and the noise inside our heads. Furthermore, music is increasingly being used as a form of therapy, and music therapy in some capacity has existed for centuries. Teenagers, especially those going through puberty, conflicts with friends, or the college process, are under a high amount of stress. Listening to music has been seen to help teens process or release difficult sensations or emotions in a healthy way.” – Author and music therapist, Cara Jerniga

Music helps adolescents release or control emotions and helps coping with difficult situations such as peer pressure, substance abuse, pressures of study and family, the dynamics of friendships and social life, and the pain of loss or abuse.” – The NAMM Foundation

What music and music making means to teens? It helps define them as they grow up, it gives them purpose and meaning, and contributes to their success in school and in life.” – Joe Lamond, president and CEO, NAMM

Source: DJ Mackswell

Music can also provide teenagers with a skill or hobby that is special to them, which can help further build identity and give teens something to be proud of during a period of life that is often characterized by low self-confidence. Music is an incredibly powerful tool that can be accessed and appreciated by people of all ages and backgrounds, and for that reason alone, it should be appreciated and utilized by anyone and everyone.” – Author and music therapist, Cara Jerniga

The Brain
Research shows that making music changes the brain, and that these brain changes have tangible impacts on listening skills, learning and cognition.” – Nina Kraus, Ph.D., Director, Auditory Neuroscience Laboratory, Northwestern University

Music training leads to greater gains in auditory and motor function when begun in young childhood; by adolescence, the plasticity that characterizes childhood has begun to decline. Nevertheless, our results establish that music training impacts the auditory system even when it is begun in adolescence, suggesting that a modest amount of training begun later in life can affect neural function.” – Tierney, Adam T., Jennifer Krizman, and Nina Kraus

Below we cite 4 videos that explain the benefits of music and music making in the lives of young people. 

How Playing an Instrument Benefits Your Brain- Anita Collins

On November 7, 2022, from 10am- 12pm PST, Temescal Associates and The How Kids Learn Foundation will be sponsoring a webinar on this topic entitled, The Sound of Learning: The Importance of Music in Afterschool. Speakers will include researcher Patricia Shehan Campbell (UW), Les Peters (LBYMCA), Jon Bernson (BACR/SNBC), Kevin Peraza (Youth Institute Alumni) and Ren Daraio (Temescal Associates). To learn more and register for this informative webinar, click here.

Tuesday, October 18, 2022

YOUTH VOICE: The Meaning of Music Participation In and Out of School

Source: www.pexels.com

By Sam Piha

We will do well to listen to what teens tell us about music as a common need and a constant presence in their lives. Music is their social glue—a bridge for building acceptance and tolerance for people of different ages and cultural circumstances.Patricia Shehan Campbell, Ph.D.

Anytime we want to better understand what things mean to youth, we should ask them. Below are some summaries and statements on the importance of music in young people’s lives originally published on the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) Foundation website.

Music is my life. It's a safe haven. - Student at Skaneateles High School.

Source: Davis Sanchez, pexels.com

The study conducted by Patricia Shehan Campbell Ph.D (University of Washington), titled “Adolescents’ Expressed Meanings of Music in and out of School,” was based on responses by 1,155 teens who submitted student essays to Teen People magazine as part of an online contest. Throughout their essays, students expressed their thoughts regarding learning and playing music and revealed that they value music making as a central aspect of their identities.

The findings include:

  • Playing music provides a sense of belonging for teens
  • Making music provides the freedom for teens to just be themselves; to be different; to be something they thought they could never be; to be comfortable and relaxed in school and elsewhere in their lives
  • Music helps adolescents release or control emotions and helps coping with difficult situations such as peer pressure, substance abuse, pressures of study and family, the dynamics of friendships and social life, and the pain of loss or abuse
  • Teens believe developing musical skills and performance is important since it paves the way to musical opportunities as skills develop
  • Teens long for more variety and options for making music in school, including the expansion to instruments and technology used in popular music
  • Adolescents are genuinely committed to their instruments and their school ensembles because they love to be involved in these musical and social groups
  • Teens believe that music is an integral part of American life, and that music reflects American culture and society
  • Teens feel that playing music teaches self-discipline such as “there are payoffs if you practice and stick with something”
  • Adolescents are of the opinion that playing music diminishes boundaries between people of different ethnic backgrounds, age groups and social interests
  • Teens associate playing music with music literacy, listening skills, motor ability, eye-hand coordination and heightened intellectual capabilities.”

A Good Resource for Research

The National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) Foundation is a not-for-profit association dedicated to advancing active participation in music making across the lifespan by supporting scientific research, philanthropic giving and public service programs.

On November 7, 2022, from 10am- 12pm PST, Temescal Associates and The How Kids Learn Foundation will be sponsoring a webinar on this topic entitled, The Sound of Learning: The Importance of Music in Afterschool. Speakers will include researcher Patricia Shehan Campbell (UW), Les Peters (LBYMCA), Jon Bernson (BACR/SNBC), Kevin Peraza (Youth Institute Alumni) and Ren Daraio (Temescal Associates). To learn more and register for this informative webinar, click here.

Tuesday, October 11, 2022

Millions of Youth Are Newly Eligible Voters in 2022

Source: Photo by Mikhail Nilov: https://www.pexels.com

By Sam Piha

The 2022 election offers a number of opportunities to engage older youth. We can frame these efforts as “meaningful participation”, “civic engagement”, “youth leadership” or “community service”. There are a number of organizations and initiatives that have designed curriculums, program tools and other materials to assist afterschool providers in their efforts to engage youth in the 2022 election. Consider working with youth to organize a voter registration event in your school. At the end of the blog, we list some resources on how youth can get involved.

Did you know that:

-“Young people who have turned 18 since the 2020 election are a sizable group that is diversifying the electorate and can have a decisive impact on the midterms. There are an estimated 8.3 million newly eligible young voters for the 2022 midterm elections—meaning, youth who have turned 18 since the previous general election in November 2020. These 18- and 19-year-olds comprise 16% of the 18-29 age group for the 2022 election.” - Peter de Guzman, Researcher

-Young people can pre-register to vote at the age of 16. There are a number of ways that youth can be involved in the 2022 election, even if they are not old enough to vote. These include sponsoring a voter registration event, supporting family and friend’s participation, uplifting stories and issues they care about, supporting a candidate’s campaign through volunteering or being part of the election process.

-“There are distorted “assumptions about young people and how they participate in political processes that are common and are often triggered by lack of understanding and/or by prejudice. These persistent assumptions inaccurately characterize the everyday experiences of most youth – who do not constitute a homogenous group – and can lead to discrimination of young people, negatively affecting their capacity to participate in political processes… Assumptions about young people that distort the actual picture include the following: 

  • they are apathetic about and disengaged from politics – so, for example, they don’t bother voting
  • they lack maturity, experience, and knowledge, implying they are not capable or intelligent enough to make informed decisions (such as when voting) and are easily manipulated
  • they are “anti-state,” with a propensity for violence and extremism.” – The ACE Project


We learned about how teachers and youth workers can use a video by rapper, Yellopain, entitled, "My Vote Don't Count," which can be viewed by clicking on the image below. 

Source: Yellopain, Youtube.com


Below are a number of other resources that you can check out:

You can also learn more by exploring these websites:


In recent months schools and educators have been attacked under the guise of critical race theory, parent rights and the call to ban certain books. We published three LIAS blogs and a briefing paper (14 pages) on this topic of the education culture wars. We also sponsored a webinar entitled, Education Culture Wars and Maintaining Bipartisan Support for Afterschool. We posted a recording of this webinar on our How Kids Learn Youtube channel, which quickly received over 700 views. 

New stories of the education culture wars continue to pepper the national news and we expect this to increase over the course of the upcoming election season. 

Below we list some new articles:

Tuesday, October 4, 2022

An Afterschool Innovator: Bringing Urban Music to Afterschool

Source: Sunset Neighborhood Beacon Center

By Sam Piha

We first met Jon Bernson decades ago at the Sunset Neighborhood Beacon Center (A.P. Giannini Middle School, SF). Jon founded an urban music program, which taught young people the skills and business of being a DJ. This program has evolved over the years and Jon is now the Director of Creative Arts at Bay Area Community Resources. As an early innovator in afterschool music programs, I asked Jon a number of questions regarding the power of music in afterschool and below are his responses. 

Jon Bernson, SNBC

Q: What are the ages of youth served in your program?
12 - 14 (Middle School).

Q: Do you think music is important to youth? If yes, why?
To some youth, music is life-changing and transformational. To some, it does not speak as loudly, but in my experience, it has profound effects on most teens. Some reasons that come to mind: 
  1.  Music is the language of emotion, and has far more complex ways of communicating feelings than written or verbal language. Developing the ability to express oneself through music allows youth to communicate feelings that are often difficult for them to express with words alone. 
  2. To many, music is a shared interest that allows youth who may have little else in common the ability to come together around a shared passion. In this respect, it can break down geographic, language, cultural and age barriers that other forms of education and activism may struggle to provide. 
  3. Music soothes the soul. Simply put, listening to music takes the mind off of many youth's troubles. It cannot remove these troubles, but it can give them distance, so that when their troubles return to their consciousness, they have a better perspective, as a result of the distance they've gained. 
  4. Music is a conduit for inspiration. It is a way that artists can speak with one another across time and space. Without knowing another person, youth can feel that they are intimately connected to another artist, whether that is a friend, mentor or someone famous. By hearing another artist, youth get ideas, and are given a yardstick with which they can compare their results and aspire to greater heights. 

Q: How does your program engage youth in music? 

  • Listening to music
  • Learning how to play an instrument
  • Dj skills
  • Making beats
  • Recording music

Q: Please describe one example of how your program engages youth with music?
A: Since 1997, we have been teaching youth how to DJ and produce their own music. During that time, we have produced 58 compilations of youth-produced music. In most cases, this series documents the first attempt our youth have ever made to create their own original piece of music. While most youth are encouraged to draw or paint original pieces in art classes, our education system rarely teaches and supports the mysterious pathway that leads to the creation of original work. 

Q: What benefits do you think come from youth engagement with music?
Confidence, when youth stick with the process. The tools to express themselves. Community and a connection to a lineage of artists that spans many years, as well as the broader community of artists around the world. Because we use technology and touchscreens to make music, we have helped many youth to understand that our screens are not just passive devices but tools for creativity that can change and influence their peers, their community and their world. This is one of the greatest lessons we try to impart in our program: that it may be harder to create than consume, but it is far more rewarding. 

Source: www.pexels.com

Q: What benefits do you think carry into adulthood?
A: Creation over consumption is a lesson described above that we've seen many youth carry with them into whichever field they choose to pursue, whether musical or not. We are cognizant that most of our youth will not become professional musicians or DJ's (though some do), but everyone will have developed a deeper understanding and appreciation for the elements that are needed to create music. Not least of which is the courage to take the leap of faith and follow a spark of inspiration until they are finished making what they started. 


Jon Bernson, SNBC
Jon Bernson is BACR's Director of Creative Arts and is the founder and coordinator of SNBC's Urban Music Program (UMP). Jon is also the founder of Sunset Media Wave, a mixed-media blog run by high school students out of SNBC's community storefront. Outside of UMP, Jon is the songwriter behind several musical acts, including Exray’s, whose music can be heard in David Fincher's Academy Award-winning movie, The Social Network. Jon is also a resident playwright at Playwrights Foundation and was a 2015 artist-in-residence at the de Young Museum.

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