Tuesday, April 9, 2024

Afterschool Professionals Appreciation Week: Ways to Show You Care


Source: Temescal Associates

By Sam Piha

During the pandemic we learned how afterschool youth workers are “essential.” At the height of the pandemic, workers in youth programs adapted to the needs of families. They packed and delivered food to their program participants and moved their programming to online formats. 

As young people returned to their afterschool program, we saw how they were affected by the circumstances of isolation. Many were angry and depressed, which they showed through their behavior. Many afterschool staff experienced increased stress, as behavior issues and being short staffed took a distinct toll. 

Source: National Afterschool Association

April 22-26, 2024 is Afterschool Professionals Appreciation Week. This is a good time to recognize and appreciate the value that afterschool professionals bring to so many lives. Below are some ways that families, school and non-profit leaders and organizations can show their appreciation. This article was originally published by the National Afterschool Association

“How can YOU show you care about afterschool workers? 

FOR FAMILIES 

Everyone appreciates being recognized for their efforts and a simple “thank you!” goes a long way! Some ideas include: 

  • Hand-written cards from you and/or your child
  • An email to the staff member’s manager or administrator

  • Fun handmade signs put up at the location of your program 
  • Healthy or non-food treats for the afterschool program staff
  • Gift cards for a specialty coffee, teacher supply store or bookstore 

FOR LEADERS 

Thanking your staff shows them you appreciate what they do! Some ideas to show your appreciation: 

  • Sharing with parents and kids about Afterschool Professionals Appreciation Week via email or social media
  • Providing healthy treats or lunch for staff 
  • Creating awards for specific strengths of staff members (Best Family Communicator, STEM Star, Most Positive, etc.)

  • Sending a Press Release to your local media 
Source: WINGS for Kids
FOR ORGANIZATIONS 

Organizations can recognize, appreciate, and advocate for the afterschool professionals making a difference in their community; it shines the light on their efforts and accomplishments! Some ideas include: 

  • Sharing about Afterschool Professionals Appreciation Week in your communications (web site, eNewsletters, social media)
  • Hosting events honoring the success of your local afterschool programs

  • Sending a Press Release to your local media 
  • Asking local officials to proclaim the event” 

How will you celebrate? 

Additional ideas and thoughts:

  • Staff can be treated to a dinner or fun activity, such as bowling or a trip to a nearby amusement park.
  • To ensure there are funds to cover this for next year, include a line item for this expenditure.
  • Get your afterschool program youth participants to sign a card showing their appreciation.

For our part, we will create and send a press release to spread the word of Afterschool Professionals Appreciation Week by local news outlets. 


UPCOMING WEBINARS:

Almost every day there is a piece in the news about Artificial Intelligence (AI) and its dangers. AI is all around us, and whether or not you realize it, people use artificial intelligence every single day. Many young people, even those who are very tech savvy, know little about this topic. Adults, including those in afterschool programs, know even less. Yet, AI is being used by companies more and more. As we venture deeper into the digital age, understanding AI and its educational potential becomes more crucial than ever.

We believe that youth need to understand more about AI, and afterschool is a perfect place to do this. But are afterschool leaders equipped for this? It’s important for educators to understand AI so they can help their youth make sense of a technological development that is predicted to be a huge force in the world, experts say. It’s crucial for educators to be AI literate, to be able to explain what it is, and to understand its powers and limitations.

To learn more and register, click here.

The 2024 election offers a number of opportunities to engage older youth in civic engagement. But these opportunities require input from youth, organizing and planning- so start program planning early because there is no better time for youth to be involved in making a change than through the ballot box. We can frame these efforts as “meaningful participation”, “civic engagement”, “youth leadership” or “community service.”

This webinar will review the benefits of youth engagement in the elections and what programs can do to encourage youth involvement and voting. We will also talk about how to involve youth in voter registration and determine what news is reliable and which is misinformation. We will also talk about how youth who are under 18 and unable to vote can be involved.

To learn more and register, click here.

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