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We Did It! Expanded Learning Opportunities Advocacy Day 2018

by School's Out Washington | | Posted under Afterschool and Summer News, Policy & Legislation, School's Out News

By Sukhjit Dhaliwal, Expanded Learning Opportunities VISTA 

School’s Out Washington (SOWA) hosted our annual Expanded Learning Opportunities (ELO) Advocacy Day on January 9, 2018 in Olympia and it was a success!

There were about 70 providers and youth that attended from all different parts of Washington State including Wenatchee, Toppenish, and Walla Walla, and 38 legislative meetings scheduled with legislators from various districts. Providers shared what a positive and powerful experience they had, especially since for many this was their first time in Olympia advocating about their program, and speaking to the importance of quality.

(Above) The staff of the Vietnamese Friendship Association's Project Rise in front of the state capitol, and (below) meeting with Rep. Zack Hudgins, and Senator Jamie Pedersen's Aide Amelia Brummel. 

Not only that, but the Boys & Girls Club of the Olympic Peninsula brought with them eight youth to share their experience in expanded learning programs. 

Youth and staff of the Boys and Girls Club of the Olympic Peninsula meeting with Rep. Mike Chapman (right, back row) in Olympia.

We also heard from two National Youth Ambassadors representing Washington State from 21st Century Community Learning Center programs in Toppenish (Marisol Ramirez) and Walla Walla (Ruben Balderas).

(Above) WA Afterschool Youth Ambassador Ruben Balderas pictured in the middle with Rep. Maureen Walsh, staff from WaHi FORWARD Afterschool Program, and SOWA's James Lovell. (Below) WA Afterschool Youth Ambassador Marisol Romero with Beth Monfils, 21st Century Coordinator with Northwest Community Action Center serving Yakima Valley.

As part of ELO Advocacy Day, SOWA launched the Washington Expanded Learning Opportunities (ELO) Network to support and promote policies that increase access to high-quality expanded learning opportunities for youth in Washington. The network brings together ELO providers, K12 education and school age childcare stakeholders, families and youth to help improve the access and the quality of ELOs. Please visit the Washington Expanded Learning Opportunities (ELO) Network page to join and learn more about the perks of becoming a member!  

To top it off, there was an Expanded Learning Opportunities (ELO) work session in the House of Representatives Education Committee. One of the Youth Ambassadors, Ruben Balderas, from Walla Walla testified about his experience in expanded learning programs and the way that participating in such a program has significantly impacted his life. To watch Ruben address the Education Committee, please visit Expanded Learning Opportunities-Work Session link.

If you were not able to join us on ELO Advocacy Day, there are still many opportunities for you to stay involved:

1) Join the WA Expanded Learning Opportunities Network to help advance our shared goals to support youth and help them reach their full potential in communities across Washington. We need to hear from you!

To be notified of upcoming meetings, sign up for our monthly e-newsletter. You can also sign up for our action alerts to ensure that you get notified when bills, votes, or issues facing expanded learning come up in the state legislature, Congress, or locally.

2) Join us for bi-weekly ELO Legislative updates phone calls on Wednesday mornings to learn about all things related to expanded learning opportunities in the legislature. No registration needed, just call 206-508-0497 to join. (No PIN will be required)

3) Save the Date: Tuesday, January 15, 2019 – ELO Advocacy Day 2019 in Olympia! Details to come. Hope you’ll join us!

As always, feel free to email David Beard at dbeard@schoolsoutwashington.org, SOWA's Policy & Advocacy Director with any questions. 

Posted in: Afterschool and Summer News, Policy & Legislation, School's Out News | Permalink | Share: Facebook Twitter

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