The Afterschool Alliance is a nonpartisan nonprofit organization whose mission is "to ensure that all children have access to affordable, quality afterschool programs." It uses communications and advocacy strategies to try to increase public and private investments in afterschool programs. The Alliance serves as both a central resource center for after-school activity programs and as a public advocate.
The Alliance was launched in September 1999 as an association of organizations with the collective goals of garnering awareness about the benefits of after school programs and seeking to achieve quality programs that provide opportunities for all children. It grew out of a public-private partnership between the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation and the U.S. Department of Education as an effort to expand after school programs through the 21st Century Community Learning Centers. The Alliance was formally incorporated as a nonprofit in 2000 by the Mott Foundation, J.C. Penney, the Open Society Institute, The After-School Corporation, the Entertainment Industry Foundation and the Creative Artists Agency Foundation.
- In communities today, more than 15 million children take care of themselves after school.
- A study of the federal afterschool initiative (21st Century Community Learning Centers) found that 45 percent of participants improved their reading grades, and 41 percent improved their math grades.
- On school days, the hours between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. are the peak hours for juvenile crime and experimentation with drugs, alcohol, cigarettes and sex.
- Teens who do not participate in afterschool programs are nearly three times more likely to skip classes than teens who do participate. They are also three times more likely to use marijuana or other drugs, and they are more likely to drink alcohol, smoke cigarettes and engage in sexual activity.
- Parents with children in afterschool programs are less stressed, have fewer unscheduled absences and are more productive at work.
Afterschool for All Challenge
The Afterschool for All Challenge is a conference held in Washington, D.C. for youth, staff, and other individuals involved in afterschool programs. The event brings together hundreds of afterschool supporters (staff, parents, youth, agency and community leaders) in Washington, D.C. for networking, training, meetings with Congressional offices and a special recognition of state and Congressional afterschool leaders. Previous Congressional Champions honored at the event have included: Representatives Nita Lowey (D-NY), Patrick Kennedy (D-RI), Phil Hare (D-IL) and Bobby Scott (D-VA), and Senators Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Thad Cochran (R-MS), Christopher Dodd (D-CT), John Ensign (R-NV), Johnny Isakson (R-GA), Ben Nelson (D-NE), Jack Reed (R-RI) and Arlen Specter (D-PA). In 2009, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan spoke about the important role of community organizations and afterschool in supporting students. Maggie Daley, Chair of After School Matters, was honored for her efforts to provide quality afterschool opportunities for older youth, and Members of Congress and state leaders from California, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, New York and Ohio were recognized. In 2010, the Afterschool for All Challenge will be held from April 19–21 in conjunction with the National After School Association’s annual Convention and the National League of Cities' biannual Afterschool Summit.'
Lights On Afterschool
Lights On Afterschool is a nationwide rally to draw attention to the importance of afterschool programs and to highlight their importance to children, families and communities. Each year, more than one million people attend over 7,500 events. Lights On Afterschool is covered in every major media market in the country and in thousands of news clips. Lights On Afterschool events give student participants in afterschool programs a chance to show off the skills that they have learned in their respective programs and to demonstrate the need for further support of such programming. In 2001, Arnold Schwarzenegger became Honorary Chair of the event. For the past two years, the Empire State Building in New York City has featured yellow lights on the evening of Lights on Afterschool in honor of the cause. In 2008, Afterschool Alliance replaced its former Lights on Afterschool incandescent lightbulb symbol with a CFL (compact fluorescent lamp) to support energy efficient habits.
Afterschool for All
Afterschool for All is a national petition in support of afterschool programs stating that all children and youth should have access to quality, affordable afterschool programs. Roughly 19,000+ individuals and organizations have signed on. Among the partners are governors, mayors and law enforcement leaders, and others who support the cause of afterschool programs. Examples of entities that have signed on include: the YMCA of the USA, the NAACP, the National Council of La Raza, the National PTA, the National League of Cities, AARP, 100 Women in Hedge Funds, Time Warner, IBM, the NBA, NFL, MLB, NHL and the US Conference of Mayors.
Afterschool Ambassadors are trained to act as spokespeople on the issue of afterschool programming. Participants in the program learn about communications and advocacy in order to act as liaisons to their respective communities. The Ambassadors also receive media training. Afterschool Ambassadors share their experiences and their education and serve as local representatives of the issue of afterschool.
- Terry Peterson, Chairman
- Director, Afterschool and Community Learning Resource Network
- Charleston, South Carolina
- Herb Sturz, Secretary
- Trustee, Open Society Institute
- New York, New York
- Jaemie Ballesteros Altman
- Independent Consultant, Food and Restaurant Industry
- San Francisco, California
- Mayor David Cicilline
- Mayor, City of Providence
- Providence, Rhode Island
- Dr. Lucy Friedman
- President, The After-School Corporation
- New York, New York
- Former Secretary of State, State of Florida
- Orlando, Florida
- Reinaldo Llano
- Director, Corporate Community Relations, Bright House Networks
- Orlando, Florida
- Lisa Lucheta
- Principal, Torani Syrups and Flavors
- South San Francisco, California
- Kenneth C. Montague, Jr.
- Former Secretary of Juvenile Justice, State of Maryland
- Baltimore, Maryland
- Gilbert Moreno
- Senior Relationship Manager, JP Morgan Chase, NA
- Houston, Texas
- Mary Peavey
- President, Peavey Electronics Corporation
- Meridian, Mississippi
- Stacey Gillis Weber
- New York, NY
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