WA Youth Head to DC to Speak Up for Expanded Learning
by School's Out Washington | | Posted under
Afterschool For All Challenge
What a month for afterschool. Hundreds of advocates from across the country gathered in Washington D.C. to advocate for funding to increase access for more youth to quality expanded learning opportunities after school and in the summer.
The Afterschool for All Challenge coordinated by our national partners, Afterschool Alliance, put a spotlight on the critical role of programs across our country. Our Washington State team included two youth selected by the Afterschool Alliance as part of the inaugural class of Youth Afterschool Ambassadors as well as another amazing youth from Walla Walla; and providers Brent Cummings from Walla Walla, Beth Monfils from the lower Yakima valley, and Dorinda Belcher from White Salmon.
Marisol Romero of Toppenish, and Ruben Balderas of Walla Walla, have been busy honing in on their speaking and advocacy skills as spokespeople for expanded learning opportunities at the national level in their role as Youth Ambassadors. Additionally, Kyle Carver of Walla Walla joined to talk about his experience learning and growing in his program.
For Marisol, Ruben, and Kyle, their trip to Washington D.C. was their first outside of Washington State, and what an opportunity! They met with Washington’s Congressional Delegation and spoke at the national convening about why afterschool matters to youth and families in their community.
With 21st Century Community Learning Center funding again on the chopping block in the FY 2019 budget, speaking up for these programs is more critical than ever. Visit our 21st Century CLC action page for more information on what you can do to voice your support.
Afterschool in the News
Marisol, Ruben, and Kyle’s voices were heard not just in Washington D.C., but here in Washington State with great articles and editorials highlighting their leadership and their afterschool programs fostering and helping to build these skills.
As the Yakima Herald-Republic explains in a feature article on how afterschool programs empower kids:
“Quality after-school programs can make a crucial difference for all kids, but especially for those growing up amid challenges, whether they’re struggling with grades, emotional issues or difficult conditions at home.
Many Yakima County after-school providers know those issues well and offer more educational opportunities, personal support and guidance. Such efforts build resilience in youths who have experienced childhood trauma and go far beyond offering just a place for kids to mark time until their parents or other family are home.
After-school program providers know how important it is that as many students as possible receive academic support, mentoring, career development and character education beyond what schools can provide. Amid growing awareness of bullying and its potentially lifelong repercussions, it’s also important to offer a supportive environment where students can be themselves without judgment.”
Read the full article, and other news coverage of the benefits and need for additional funding to support programs below.
Funding sought to continue after-school program, The Wenatchee World, April 11, 2018
After-school programs empower kids, but need exceeds funding, Yakima Herald-Republic, April 15, 2018
Youngest Afterschool Alliance Lobbyists Ever Reassured by Legislators on Annual Funding, Youth Today, April 19, 2018
Afterschool program opened doors for student, Walla Walla Union-Bulletin Letter to the Editor by Ruben Balderas, April 19, 2018
Toppenish 11th-grader speaks in Washington, D.C. about afterschool programs, The Yakima Herald-Republic, April 23, 2018
Many youths benefit from after-school programs, The Yakima Herald-Republic Editorial Board, April 25, 2018
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