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Tennessee Expands Service-Learning in Afterschool

Posted By Julie Rogers Bascom, Thursday, April 9, 2020

NYLC supports 14 states in the Statewide Afterschool Network with technical support, coaching, grants, trainings, and resources to  develop or expand service-learning in afterschool programs in their state. These selected networks work collaboratively with each other and NYLC so that service-learning becomes a sustainable and systematic part of afterschool learning.

 

During the cohort’s monthly call in February, Mary Graham, Lead for Tennessee’s Afterschool Network (TAN), shared insight into how she supports, grows and uses service-learning as a strategy to bring benefits to Tennessee’s youth and youth workers.  Wearing multiple hats, Graham says she was “interested in service-learning and how it builds character, leadership and academics. I view service-learning as a way to address other issues like obesity and the opioid crisis. I looked strategically as a way to combine efforts for more impact.”

 

Here are a few words of advice from a seasoned service-learning leader:

  • Get the right people at the table.  Look at who you have partnerships with and invite them to help you strengthen the efforts.  Maybe it’s a steering committee, training partners or funding support - there are lots of resources out in the field to share and your team can help you access curricula, trainers, and data.  Graham reminds us, “This also helps to align with existing efforts - align service-learning with other initiatives for strong impact.”
  • Start early.  Gather your team, strategize and plan for training and deep understanding which allows youth workers time to understand and organize.  “We started training programs in March for a summer program and that wasn’t enough time.”
  • Consider diverse pilots.  What will work at one site won’t always work at another.  Find where the interest is and support them to be successful
  • Require an agreement of MOU with pilots.  If a program is receiving free training, technical assistance and funding, regardless of how small,  they need to commit to producing an outcome. This establishes a commitment to results and ability to track performance.
  • Pilot sites needed ongoing technical assistance.  Because there is so much staff turnover in out-of-school programs, ongoing training and support helps to ensure that workers have what they need to use service-learning with their youth.
  • Educate. Educate. Educate.  There is a difference between community service and service-learning. “You need to make sure leaders and partners and workers know what service-learning is, why to use it and what kind of outcomes it can bring.  Tennessee has 8 hubs across the state and all of these hubs are required to know what service-learning is and how to use it.”  

 

The benefits to service-learning are vast and varied but when service-learning is woven into a program’s fabric, youth enhance their academic, 21st Century, leadership, and social emotional skills because they are physically out in the community, making real change happen. It demonstrates that afterschool programs are developing the next generation of engaged and informed citizens who are ready to address community needs.

 

Thank you Mary, for being a leader in the out-of-school service-learning world. Learn more about our work with the Statewide Afterschool Network

Tags:  afterschool  out-of-school  service-learning 

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Celebrate Lights On Afterschool

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, October 22, 2019
Updated: Tuesday, October 15, 2019
https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=1&v=2lDL1VbydvA

Celebrate the 20th annual Lights On Afterschool Oct. 24, 2019!

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.

Learn more and prepare to celebrate!

Tags:  afterschool  service-learning 

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Unleashing My Voice and Becoming an Advocate: A Story of Success, Failure, and Lessons Learned

Posted By NYLC, Friday, June 1, 2018
Updated: Saturday, August 4, 2018

by Ricky Yoo, Youth Advisory Council member

By listening and working with young people, we can get closer to creating the conditions that all young people need to have a real chance to succeed in school and life.

-John Gompert, President and CEO of America’s Promise Alliance

“You, French Fry. Me, Hamburger,” I proclaimed to my pre-K teacher. She gawked at me with awe. I stared blankly at her as she started to jump and holler, “Ricky! Yes! You, French Fry. Me, Hamburger!” I was stunned, and she, elated.

It was the first time I spoke a complete phrase to my teacher.

As a timid, young boy, my English was elementary and my social skills, even worse. Thus, I spent my words wisely, to persuade teachers to bring me food or request a toy of my choice from the treasure box. But much to the disappointment to me and my peers, my voice would remain buried throughout my adolescence.

Like many pre-teens, I struggled with social anxiety, and I secluded myself. My thoughts were dear to me and my own, and it would remain this way until my freshmen year of high school.

My voice came from humble origins – the bathroom mirror. While my mother disapproved of my loud orations, a toothbrush, a half-spent bar of soap, the allegedly tropical scent of hand wash, were all a familiar audience. Unfortunately, the congeniality of my toiletries starkly contrasted with the judgemental remarks of my classmates. Their mockery, I tolerated, but my feelings of inadequacy, I did not. With hours of practice and deliberation, the stuttering and mumbles were replaced with ferocity and power. Like the budding of a new relationship, I grew a fondness for public speaking. This would leak into different facets of my life.

I developed confidence in my role as a leader as more people began to listen to my voice. My inhibitions dissolved, and my social exposure procured an interest in leadership. The strength of my voice directly correlated with my ability to captivate my teammates, and, indirectly, manage them as well. Workshop and speaking engagement opportunities arose, and, with microphone in hand, I intended to advocate for youth voice.

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Tags:  afterschool  featured  Tags afterschool  Youth Advisory Council  youth leadership  youth voice  Youth4Education 

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