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April Roundup : Let’s Hear It For Afterschool!

April Roundup : Let’s Hear It For Afterschool!

The Arkansas Out of School Network team traveled to Washington DC to participate in the Afterschool Alliance’s Afterschool For All ChallengeApril 18 and 19. During the challenge afterschool supporters from all throughout the nation joined together to remind our policy makers why afterschool programs are a critical resource for youth, families and communities. 

Our team was led by AOSN Network Coordinator Laveta Wills-Hale and included Afterschool Ambassador and Camp War Eagle Director Ben Rediske, Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Steve Clark, Economics Arkansas Executive Director Kathleen Lawson and Northeast Arkansas Intermodal Director Graycen Bigger.

To let Congress see the kinds of things happening in 21CCLC programs, the challenge kicked off with a showcase of afterschool programs on Capitol Hill. Youth presented projects, from handcrafted drones, to a 3D digital tour of an afterschool program, to videos chronicling the impact of their programs on youth and families. Five Youth Afterschool Ambassadorsclosed out the event by speaking about the powerful impact Afterschool has made in their lives.

The following day AOSN team met face-to-face with each of our state’s congressmen and their staff to make the case for quality programs in Arkansas.  In one day afterschool advocates from across the nation met with 200 members of Congress or their staff while thousands of Americans logged more than 8,000 calls and emails to Congress, urging Congress to keep open the afterschool and summer programs funded by 21st Century Community Learning Center grants.  Check out photos from our trip our on social media!

April 23-27 also marked the National Afterschool Association’s annual Afterschool Professionals Appreciation Week.  Afterschool Professionals Appreciation Week is a joint effort of community partners and afterschool programs to recognize and appreciate those who work with youth during out-of-school hours. The week boasted celebrations and public relations efforts to encourage people to thank afterschool professionals like you who serve children in programs and organizations across Arkansas and the nation.  Share your photos from Afterschool Professionals Appreciation Week with us and keep the love going!  

While April was full of progress, positivity and celebrations, we can’t forget the fight for Afterschool isn’t over.  The Trump administration has called for eliminating all Community Learning Center funding in its budget proposal. Elimination would result in 12,000 students in Arkansas and nearly two million children across the country, losing the afterschool programs that make learning exciting, and keep kids safe while parents work.  It’s Congress, however, who has the power to decide what gets funded, and what does not.  It’s not too late to reach out to your congressman and let them know that afterschool matters to you and your community.


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