NYSAN Digest March 2015
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NYSAN Digest
March 2015




NYSAN is pleased to announce that our staff will be growing at the end of April! We will be welcoming two new Americorps VISTA members that will be doing year-long outreach and capacity-building projects.
Timothy Fowler will be joining NYSAN as our STEM Coordinator, and he will be working with programs across the state to increase access to high-quality STEM training and student learning opportunities. Timothy has a tremendous amount of experience in the field and most recently worked for the Missouri AfterSchool Network. He brings expertise in professional development and program quality.
Saleah Blancaflor will serve as NYSAN’s Food Access Coordinator and will assist qualified programs in enrolling in the Summer Meals Program and the Child and Adult Care Food Program’s suppers and snacks funding. She joins NYSAN from Oklahoma State University with a background in journalism and children’s arts programming.
We are so pleased to welcome Timothy and Saleah, and look forward to the great services they will be able to provide to programs across the state. 

Policy Updates

Thank You Supporters!

This month, NYSAN would like to say a huge thank you to New York’s many federal supporters of afterschool programs and the 21st Century Community Learning Centers funding stream. As you have heard, bills in both the Senate and the House to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act would eliminate the 21st Century funding stream. Thanks to your efforts and the support of our federal representatives, those bills have stalled and there is an effort in the Senate to develop a new proposal. We will continue to keep you updated on this, and anticipate a call to action in April to show support for 21st Century when the new Senate proposal is introduced.
Many thanks to Senators Schumer and Gillibrand and to Representative Rangel for co-sponsoring the Afterschool for America’s Children Act, which strengthens the 21st Century program. We would also like to thank all of New York’s signers on a letter circulated in the House to support continued funding for 21st Century: Representatives Clarke, Crowley, Engel, Higgins, C. Maloney, S. Maloney, Nadler, Rangel, Rice, Slaughter, and Tonko. Thank you also to Senator Gillibrand and Representatives Meeks, Rangel, and Slaughter for co-sponsoring the Supporting Afterschool STEM Act. We would also like to thank Senator Gillibrand for her Summer Meals bill, which would make applying for summer meals and for suppers and snacks more streamlined and would increase eligibility for summer meals. Finally, thank you to Representative Lowey for continuing to chair the Afterschool Caucus.
NYSAN also wants to thank the 25 New York Congressional offices that met with afterschool supporters in Washington D.C. on March 10—and the 23 afterschool supporters, including two youth, who traveled to DC to meet with Congress! We had great conversations with the offices representing New York from Niagara Falls to Montauk and everywhere in-between. There is bipartisan interest in afterschool among those representing New York, and we look forward to continuing to work with all of our Representatives.

The place where trainers, employers, and people who work with kids connect online to share job, training, and career opportunities in New York State.

QSA Tip of the Month

Youth Participation & Engagement

“A quality program provides opportunities for youth to participate in planning, to exercise choice, and to engage in a rich variety of offerings.”

Indicator 10

"Allows participants to be meaningfully involved in program planning, implementation, data collection, and evaluation.”

Tip for Success

While it may seem simple to plan your program activities on your own, you will get more youth buy-in and more active participation if you include youth in the planning process. Soliciting feedback may take longer, but you will see results in the long run. Programs that engrain this best-practice into their program have a schedule and method for gaining participant feedback that allows them to efficiently plan engaging activities that youth are excited to take part in.

For example, every Friday could include a group conversation about what activities the youth want to see offered the following month. Volunteers can be selected to help with planning and preparing for those activities, as appropriate, and there is plenty of lead time to get materials in place. Take it a step further and allow those volunteers to lead a portion of the activity and get them even further engaged.

Similar methods can be used for program evaluation. Set specific times to collect youth feedback, and use youth to get feedback from their peers. Consider creating a volunteer team of leads for each age group responsible for surveying their peers. 

NYSAN Resource of the Month

Are you beginning to hire for summer?
Afterschool Pathfinder ( can be a great resource to find well-qualified afterschool professionals.  Pathfinder is a free website that connects employers and job seekers in afterschool, youth, and out-of-school time programs in New York. If you are interested in posting a job to Pathfinder, please register for a free account here.
Pathfinder also provides listings of online and site-based training opportunities that allow you to identify professional development opportunities for your staff. If your organization is offering a training opportunity in the future, you can create an account and post the details here.

Field Resources, Tools, and Research


Graduate! A Community Guide to College Access and Completion

A new guidebook, Graduate! A Community Guide to College Access and Completion, was just released by the U.S. Department of Education’s Center for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships.  The guide is meant to help organizations assist high school students in pursing higher education, and materials in the guide are to be used to promote college access and completion.  The guide includes information on planning for college, choosing the right college, financial aid and scholarships, campus resources, and more. 

Research-Based Practices in Afterschool Programs for High School Youth

Learn about best-practices for serving high school youth in this new report on a study done of 19 21st Century Community Learning Centers programs for high school students. Three key areas of promising practice include program activities, recruitment and retention, and student voice and choice. Many key strategies are also applicable to programs serving middle school youth. Read the report, Research-Based Practices in Afterschool Programs for High School Youth, on the National Institute on Out-of-School Time (NIOST) website here.

Measuring Social and Emotional Learning 

It has become increasingly important in the afterschool space to measure youth outcomes, including social and emotional learning. A new report, Measuring Social and Emotional Learning with the Survey of Academic and Youth Outcomes (SAYO), provides a crosswalk showing how the SAYO, a tool developed by NIOST over a decade ago, can measure many of the youth outcomes that out-of-school time programs seek to improve. Learn more here.

Making Youth Employment Work

Making Youth Employment Work: Essential Elements for a Successful Strategy, a new white paper by Bridgespan, takes a look at youth employment from the perspective of the business community. The paper argues that there are five competitive advantages that businesses gain by employing young adults, but despite these advantages, unemployment rates of 16 to 24 year olds are double and triple that of the national average. This resource outlines implementation approaches, shares strategies for mitigating common barriers to success, and includes an employer checklist and case studies of successful companies. As both employers of young adults and as programs who prepare youth for success in the workforce, this white paper is dually valuable for afterschool programs. 

Spotlight on Expanded Learning Opportunities in New York and Beyond

National Afterschool Summit Features New York

Nora Niedzielski-Eichner, NYSAN’s Executive Director, had the pleasure of joining afterschool supporters and advocates from across the country last week at the USC Schwarzenegger Institute, where Arnold Schwarzenegger told Congress, “Don’t terminate afterschool programs.” The Terminator and former Governor of California was joined by New York’s own Syracuse Police Chief, Frank Fowler, a long-time champion of afterschool programs. Chief Fowler told the audience that kids are always learning, either from positive mentors in a program or from people on street corners. He said, “Kids don’t stop learning after the bell rings. We need to intervene now and often.” Many thanks to Chief Fowler for his support for afterschool programs as a valuable crime-fighting tool.
On the panel with Chief Fowler was former Secretary of Education Rod Paige, who touted afterschool as a crucial time for learning because it allows for more experimentation and fun (read about his strong support for afterschool here). The summit also included student performances, many other distinguished speakers, and the unveiling of a video on afterschool programs. The video supports the new website,, which will continue to have weekly tweets on afterschool that you can share with one click.
Read more about the summit here and view a recording here

Hudson PROMISE Corps

Hudson PROMISE (Peace Respect Opportunity Mentor Improvement Support Education) Corps, Hudson’s first AmeriCorps program, and the only one in the Capital Region, is being led by the Mental Health Association of Columbia and Greene Counties in partnership with the Greater Hudson Promise Neighborhood and other community partners. The Hudson PROMISE Corps is different from other known AmeriCorps programs in that it focuses recruitment and hiring efforts on local young people and community members. Members are serving at several locations within the Hudson City School District.
Much of the Hudson PROMISE Corps programming is designed using ideas that translate from the highly successful Harlem Children’s Zone (HCZ).  Using the Peacemakers program model (a long-time AmeriCorps program), approximately 20 members will be based in the school where they will support students socially, emotionally, and academically. Many AmeriCorps members also work with youth in after-school programs in the community and are able to continue supporting students throughout the day. The relationships being built between students and AmeriCorps members in the Hudson City School District are beginning to shift the culture within the school and the broader community. 

The Hudson PROMISE Corps has served as an inspiration to students in Hudson. Based on the model, students in third through sixth grade decided to begin their own Junior AmeriCorps club. The club has lunch meetings, afterschool activities, and community service activities and is led by Hudson PROMISE Corps members. The students decided that their club will address needs in the school and the broader community through service. This club promotes service learning, volunteerism, and youth voice.

Do you have a story about a New York program you would like shared? Email Alli Lidie and your story could appear in a future NYSAN Digest.

Funding Opportunities & Competitions

Academic Enrichment Grants
Deadline: April 15, 2015

The McCarthy Dressman Education Foundation offers grants to create and implement innovative programs that improve student learning in and out of the classroom. If you have a program dedicated to developing intellectual, artistic, and creative abilities of children from low-income families, consider applying for an Academic Enrichment Grant. Awards of up to $10,000 per year for a maximum of $30,000 over three years are available. For more information, visit the funding page here

EcoTech Grants from the Captain Planet Foundation
Deadline: April 30, 2015

Grants will be awarded to schools or non-profit organizations for the purpose of engaging children with project-based learning activities in STEM fields (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math). Sixteen $2500 grants will be awarded to schools or nonprofit organizations and more information can be found here.  

Capital District Child Care Council Annual Conference RFP
Deadline: April 30, 2015

There are still opportunities to share your talents with the professionals in the Capital Region. If you are interested in presenting at the Capital District Child Care Council’s Annual Conference, please find the RFP here

NEH Digital Projects for the Public
Deadline: June 10, 2015

This grant opportunity supports projects created for digital platforms, such as websites, mobile applications, and games that demonstrate the potential to attract a broad audience. Discovery awards (up to $30,000) are designed to fund the early, exploratory stages of a project, while prototyping grants (up to $100,000) support the creation of an actual proof-of-concept prototype. For more information on the types of funding available, visit the Digital Projects for the Public page here

Upcoming Events

Multiple Dates: Developing Skills through Leadership and Citizenship Opportunities 

The National 4-H E-academy will be offering a 5 week series throughout the month of April for afterschool staff to learn what they can do to develop impactful experiences for teens in their programs. For more information on the topics of each webinar, and to register for the series, please visit the 4-H page here.


4/2: Making the Case: Why Advocacy by Nonprofits is So Important – Webinar

The first in a series of three webinars hosted by BoardSource and the Alliance for Justice, this webinar will present an overview of what advocacy is and how it can help organizations accomplish their goals. The webinar will take place from 2pm – 3pm on April 2nd. More information can be found here


4/2: Building Literacy in Afterschool – Webinar 

Hosted by the Afterschool Alliance, this webinar provides a chance for afterschool staff to see what other programs are doing to equip students with the literacy skills they need to be successful in school. Representatives from three afterschool programs will present on how they are supporting the literacy skills that students learn during the school day with fun and innovative activities after school. The webinar will begin at 2pm on April 2nd. To register for the free webinar, visit the Afterschool Alliance.  

4/9: Tinkering and the Intersection of Formal and Informal Learning – Webinar 

Hosted by Vermont Afterschool, this webinar examines the role that “tinkering” activities play in developing 21st century skills in children and how formal and informal learning can help them develop these transferrable skills. The webinar will take place from 1pm – 3pm on April 9th, and the link to register can be found here

4/9: You CAN Advocate: Overview of the Legal Rules – Webinar

The second webinar from BoardSource and the Alliance for Justice will present information on legal rules regarding nonprofit lobbying activities, and how you can get the most out of your advocacy work. The webinar will take place from 2pm – 3pm on April 9th. More information can be found here.

4/11: NY STEAM Collaboration Forum

The NY STEAM Girls Collaborative will be bringing together educators, industry leaders, and public partners to explore new ways to encourage and promote girls in STEM fields at the Collaboration Forum. The Forum will be held on April 11, from 9am – 5pm at the IBM Think Lab in Yorktown Heights, NY. More information can be found here

4/15: Afterschool and Keeping Kids Active and Healthy: What You Can Do – Webinar

This webinar, presented by the Afterschool Alliance, will examine the results of the latest America After 3pm special report, Kids on the Move: Afterschool Programs Promoting Healthy Eating and Physical Activity, and review the different initiatives that are taking place in afterschool programs to strengthen healthy eating practices and physical activity offerings. The webinar will take place on April 15th from 1pm – 2pm. Click here to register.

4/16: Putting It All Together: How to Incorporate Advocacy into Your Organization – Webinar

The final webinar in a series on nonprofit advocacy, presented by BoardSource and the Alliance for Justice, will share case studies on advocacy work from different organizations and provide examples on how you can get the most out of your advocacy work. The webinar will take place from 2pm – 3pm on April 16th. More information can be found here.

Multiple Dates: Positive Youth Development Trainings

This train-the-trainer offering will prepare educators and youth workers to offer the recently published Positive Youth Development 101 Curriculum in their communities. Participants will become familiar with the theoretical foundations of the PYD approach, best practices for implementing an interactive workshop, and the opportunity to present and receive constructive feedback from a peer group. 
The trainings will be held in Rochester (4/22-23) and Utica (4/28-29). You can find more information here

4/28-5/1: BOOST Conference

The BOOST Conference will be held from April 28-May 1, 2015 at the Palm Springs Convention Center in Palm Springs, California. Join over 2,000 other afterschool professionals for meetings with national leaders and public figures, workshops, and endless networking opportunities. Registration in now open at

4/30-5/1: Bivona Summit on Child Abuse

The Bivona Summit on Child Abuse is a multidisciplinary training conference for professionals who work with children. The conference will be held at the Rochester Riverside Convention Center on April 30th and May 1st and more information can be found here.

5/7: 2015 NYS Anti-Hunger Conference 

Hunger Solutions New York will be hosting the 2015 Anti-Hunger Conference on May 7th at the Empire State Plaza in Albany. The conference will bring together policy makers, elected officials, advocates, service providers, and others from across the state to learn about the prevalence of hunger and the different initiatives and programs working to fight it.
Registration is $40 and includes lunch. More information can be found on the conference website

7/13-7/17: NIOST Summer Seminars

The National Institute on Out-of-School Time will be holding professional development seminars for afterschool, out-of-school time, expanded day, summer camp, and youth development staff. Three sessions with unique tracks will be held from July 13-17 in Boston. More information can be found here. Register before April 30th and save $175!

7/20-7/22: Positive Youth Development Institute

The Positive Youth Development Institute and Summer Training Academy will be held at the University of New England in Biddeford, Maine from July 20-22. Registration is now open, with early bird rates available until May 1st. This conference is open to all and is designed for providers from all states in the north east. The conference is also currently accepting proposals for presentations. Visit the webpage for more information

10/12-10/14: National Conference on Summer Learning

Save the date for the National Summer Learning Association’s 2015 Summer Changes Everything conference held in Baltimore, Maryland from October 12-14! As the only national conference dedicated to summer learning, organizations and administrators have the opportunity to learn how to strengthen their staff and get the most from their programs. A call for presentation proposals and more information can be found on the conference website.  

Afterschool Pathfinder

For more events, check out Afterschool Pathfinder, which has an extensive list of upcoming trainings, seminars, and webinars.

If you have content you’d like featured in a future Digest, questions about anything that appears here, or any other feedback you would like to share, contact Alli Lidie, Policy & Communications Coordinator, at

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