Join our E-News List

Connect to

Forty-Three Youth Selected by STEM Next Opportunity Fund’s Million Girls Moonshot Initiative to Join the Youth-Led Flight Crew

Youth ambassador program gives afterschool leaders skills to advance the national conversation
about STEM learning 

STEM Next Opportunity Fund’s Million Girls Moonshot announced its second cohort of its Flight Crew - a youth ambassadors program that is advancing equity for girls in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). The 2023 Flight Crew cohort includes 43 youth, ages 13-18, from 37 states across the nation.
From January to August, the Flight Crew will complete leadership development and public speaking training while simultaneously acting as youth ambassadors to share the value of their experiences in afterschool STEM. Skill building will include resume and interview coaching, connections with mentors and social media training to support these young people as they develop the critical social capital necessary on their STEM journeys.
The expanded 2023 Flight Crew was recently announced as a STEM Next commitment to the White House National Space Council’s priority to promote career awareness of space opportunities. The Flight Crew elevates youth voices to inspire more young people to become future STEM leaders. 
Having participated in stimulating, hands-on STEM experiences in afterschool and summer programs, members of the Flight Crew were selected to share their transformational testimonies to break down stereotypes and spark their peers' curiosity in STEM. These young leaders demonstrate the power of the Moonshot mission to reimagine who can build, invent and engineer by sharing their personal journeys with high-quality STEM beyond the classroom and by becoming role models who show other young women what is possible. 
Launched in 2020, the Million Girls Moonshot builds the capacity of the afterschool and summer fields to expand the pipeline of future STEM leaders by reimagining who can engineer, who can build and who can make. To achieve the ambitious goal of reaching one million girls by 2025, the Moonshot partners with the robust 50 State Afterschool Network to empower and support afterschool and summer STEM programs in every state across the country.



ADE, A-State and Out of School Network Award $11.3 Million for Afterschool Learning



The Arkansas Department of Education’s Division of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE), Arkansas State University and its sponsored initiative, the Arkansas Out of School Network, have awarded $11.3 million in American Rescue Plan (ARP) ESSER III funds to 84 quality afterschool, summer and extended year programs across the state.

The second round of ARP ESSER III federal relief funding was allocated to mitigate student learning loss as a result of the pandemic and support social emotional development. The maximum award for round two was set at $150,000 to be used between September 1, 2022, and August 31, 2023. Grants will expand access to quality afterschool and summer programs in underserved areas of the state as well as provide continued funding for 2021 grant awardees.

Awardees, which include school districts and community-based partnership programs such as public libraries, nonprofit organizations, career and technical programs, faith-based organizations, and institutions of higher learning, will utilize grant awards to address the academic impact of lost instructional time on student learning through evidence-based afterschool and summer programs.

“Even before the pandemic disrupted all aspects of student life, Arkansas struggled to meet the demand for afterschool and summer learning programs,” said Laveta Wills-Hale, director of the Arkansas Out of School Network. “For every child in an afterschool program in Arkansas, three more are waiting to get in. We will continue working tirelessly to mitigate the impacts of the pandemic and to ensure all children have access to quality afterschool and summer learning programs. This funding is a critical resource to communities and programs across our state, and we’ve been able to distribute $18.3 million over the past year through ARP ESSER III funds. We are grateful to the Arkansas Division of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) for its partnership to ensure every child has access to quality afterschool and summer learning.”

With this announcement, more than $18.3 million in federal funds have been awarded to Arkansas afterschool and summer learning programs over the last year to ensure students get back on track following the pandemic.

“We are excited to award an additional $11.3 million in funds to much-needed programs that are filling the gap to provide student learning opportunities,” Dr. Ivy Pfeffer, DESE deputy commissioner, said. “While there are new grant awards, many of the awardees in this round are receiving additional funds to continue the good work they have been doing. This is evidence of the need and success of these programs, with students benefiting from ongoing collaboration and partnerships.”


The 28 new grant awards include the following:

– Arkansas Connections Academy, Statewide

– Associated Industries of Arkansas, Statewide

– BGC Phillips Counts, West Helena

– Salvation Army - Boys and Girls Club of Texarkana

– Blessed Christian Ministries, Pulaski County

– Boy Scouts of America, Little Rock

– Bridge 2 Success, Little Rock

– Chance Change, Forrest City

– City Church of College Station -Youth Institute

– City of Hope Outreach, Conway

– Girl Scouts - Diamonds, Statewide

– Jamison Alexander Success Center, Mayflower

– Lakeside School District, Hot Springs

– Leap Forward, Jonesboro

– Mabelvale Middle School, Little Rock

– Mr. Mac's Learning Center, North Little Rock

– Mumford and Associates, Little Rock

– Newport School District

– 7th Street Elementary, North Little Rock

– Palestine-Wheatly Elementary, Palestine

– Potter's House 98, Fayetteville

– Russellville School District

– Saint Theresa School, Little Rock

– Searcy School District

– Sharing Love, North Little Rock

– Sheridan School District

– Trumann School District

– Westwind, North Little Rock


The 56 continuation grant awards include the following:

– Aaron & Belinda International Ministry, Inc, Pine Bluff

– Rural Community Alliance, Little Rock

– Applying Positive Touches LLC, Little Rock

– AR STEM Coalition, Little Rock

– Arkansas 4H Camps, Little Rock

– Arkansas Employment Career Center, Little Rock

– Arts and Science Center of SE Arkansas, Pine Bluff

– Bald Knob School District

– Boys and Girls Club AR River Valley, Russellville-Dardanelle

– Boys and Girls Club Cedar Mountain, Hot Springs

– Boys and Girls Club Central AR, Little Rock

– Boys and Girls Club Diamond Hills, Alma

– Boys and Girls Club El Dorado

– Boys and Girls Club Faulkner County

– Boys and Girls Club McGehee

– Boys and Girls Club Van Buren

– Big Brothers Big Sisters, North Little Rock

– Brandon House, Little Rock

– Carter's Crew, North Little Rock

– Cathy's Sweet Dumplings Daycare & Preschool, Eudora

– Central Arkansas Library System, Little Rock

– City of Little Rock: West Central Summer STEAM

– City Youth Ministries, Jonesboro

– Clarendon School District

– Cutter Morning Star School District

– Danville School District

– Elkins School District

– Fordyce School District

– Four States Urban Development- Literacy Council, Texarkana

– Greenbrier School District

– Greenland School District

– Harrison School District

– Heart2Heart Connections, Wilmot

– High Impact Movement, Hot Springs

– Hispanic Community Services, Inc, Jonesboro

– House About It Community and Economic Development, Little Rock

– Izard County Consolidated School District

– Joseph Pfeifer Kiwanis Camp, Little Rock

– Life Skills for Youth, Little Rock

– LISA Academy, Little Rock

– Mansfield Middle School, Mansfield

– Melbourne School District

– Mountain View School District

– One Community, Inc., Springdale

– Our House Shelter, Little Rock

– Ozark Guidance Arisa Health, Fayetteville

– Producing Outstanding People, Inc., Marion

– Pulaski County Youth Services-Afterschool

– Rogers School District

– Second Baptist Church, Little Rock

– SOAR NWA, Springdale

– Songbird Media, Little Rock

– Teen Action Support Center, Rogers

– Tendaji Community Development Corp., Little Rock

– Washington Foundation Lil' Jacob Learning Center, Eudora

– We Care of Pulaski County


The Arkansas Out of School Network, administered by Arkansas State University, is one of the 50 State Afterschool Networks (SANs) working to promote an expansion of school-based and school-linked afterschool and summer programs serving children and youth ages 5-19.  AOSN’s mission is to create safe, healthy and enriching experiences for Arkansas youth during out of school times.


For more information about the ARP ESSER III grant funding program, contact the Arkansas Out of School Network at (501) 660-1012 or visit

# # #
The Arkansas Out of School Network, administered by Arkansas State University is one of the 50 State Afterschool Networks (SANs) working to promote an expansion of school-based and school linked afterschool and summer programs serving children and youth ages 5-19.  AOSN’s mission to create safe, healthy and enriching experiences for Arkansas youth during out of school times.



Join This Year's Leadership in Action Fellowship

Click Here for an Application 
Click Here for Course Offerings 



AOSN Youth Opportunity Campaign

MIZZEN BY MOTT (Click Here to go to the website
The Mizzen by Mott app can help programs deliver high quality content. Find the app in the Google Play Store on Android or the App Store on your iPhone. Download to your phone and create a profile to get started!

Download the App Today!


AOSN Advocacy Blog

News from the Afterschool Alliance - Rural Afterschool America After 3:00 p.m.

  Unmet Demand for Afterschool in Rural Communities Rising  Students of Color and from Low-Income Families Most Likely to Miss Out Afterschool and summer programs are invaluable to …Read More

Lights On! Afterschool 2020 Was a Big Success - Video Contest Winners

"Now More Than Ever" Arkansas Shines a Light on Afterschool   Hundreds of children, parents, afterschool professionals, policy makers and community leaders celebrated the importance of afterschool and …Read More

Lights on Afterschool

Check Out Our Lights On Afterschool Blog! Lights on Afterschool, a national advocacy day shining a light on the importance of afterschool learning may have past on October 24, but we’re still …Read More

Contact Us

Network Coordinator-Laveta Wills-Hale, MA
501 Woodlane St. STE 312C
Little Rock, AR   72201
t. 501.660.1012