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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.


Virginia’s Out-of-School Time Summit

The Power of Out-of-School Time: Engaging Youth, Strengthening Families,
and Transforming Communities

On June 6, 2012 nearly 200 active community leaders including mayors, county superintendents, policy makers, city managers, school division superintendents, police chiefs, CEOs of youth serving organizations like the Boys and Girls Clubs and YMCAs, directors of city departments, funders, and more from across the state gathered to build champions for Engaging Youth, Strengthening Families, and Transforming Communities in Virginia cities and communities statewide. Hosted by Richmond's Mayor, Dwight Jones at the Greater Richmond Convention Center, local level leaders from around the state built knowledge and public will in support of Engaging Youth, Strengthening Families, and Transforming Communities, by creating champions at the local level who can lead community-based efforts to increase supports and services for their youth.  The event included representatives from the National League of Cities, Wallace Foundation, Virginia Municipal League, Virginia Association of Counties, and Virginia Partnership for Out-of-School Time.   


Afterschool Programs in Peril

In communities from coast to coast, afterschool programs are making a huge difference, keeping children safe, inspiring them to learn, and helping their working parents. Understanding that schools alone won't address all of our children's needs, afterschool programs complement and supplement the school day, often coordinating closely with teachers and principals to help students succeed. Support for quality afterschool programs is needed more than ever, yet the Department of Education is embracing policies that could devastate afterschool funding and the partnerships that make them so strong.

Today's afterschool programs are innovation labs for learning. Through decades of practice and evaluation, they have refined the "afterschool approach" to expanding learning: offering hands-on experiences that make lessons come alive, often in collaboration with community-based organizations, businesses, colleges and universities, museums and local government.

Students in afterschool programs are exposed to a range of horizon-expanding opportunities. From an expert on robotics, they might learn to design and build a robot to compete nationally. From a local chef, they might learn to prepare a tasty and nutritious meal. From a local business leader, they might get insights into making a business click. From a nearby museum curator, they might get a look behind the scenes of a local science center, and learn about careers in science, technology, engineering or mathematics. And from a local university professor or college student, they might get a tour of a college campus and start imagining how they could fit into the picture after high school.


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