April is for ADVOCACY!

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April showers bring May flowers and many opportunities for advocacy with the state legislature in full swing and Congress working on the budget in Washington.

Legislative Advocacy in April

In President Trump’s skinny budget proposal, funding for 21st Century Community Learning Centers is eliminated. While the budget ultimately has to pass through Congress and is nowhere near final form, this is alarming news for afterschool advocates. 21stCCLC funding is the largest source of funds for afterschool in Missouri at just over $18 million annually, serving over 18,000 youth daily, and over 24,000 youth throughout the school year and in summer.

Now is the time to let our Federal Senators and Representatives know that “Afterschool Works!” in Missouri for youth, family and communities. To take action and make your voice heard, take a few minutes and visit the action center here.

Local Advocacy in January

To support our advocacy efforts, we are also teaming up with the Afterschool Alliance to collect stories about the impact afterschool has on youth, families, and communities throughout Missouri.

We want to hear stories from youth/afterschool alum, parents, teachers, afterschool professionals and other partners. Stories can be anecdotal, or if you work in a program and have data to share, you can share that as well. You can also upload pictures to share with your story.

Share your afterschool story here!

Activities for Youth and Parents

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In addition to collecting afterschool stories from youth and parents, Afterschool Professionals Appreciation Week (April 24-28) is a great time to involve them in thanking the professionals who work in programs every day. Give parents and youth an opportunity to leave thank you notes for the staff in your program, or share why they appreciate the professionals who are truly the HEART of afterschool.

Staying Connected via Social Media

We will be taking to social media for Afterschool Professionals Appreciation Week (April 24-28) using the #heartofafterschool hashtag to show our support for afterschool professionals during the week!

As we continue our advocacy efforts, use the hashtag #MOAfterschoolWorks to share what is going on in your program and to show how afterschool is working for the youth and families in your community.

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Don’t forget to follow us @MO_Afterschool on Twitter and look for the Missouri AfterSchool Network on Facebook!

Download a printable version of this calendar here.

Advocacy Opportunity–Outreach to Senator Blunt during Recess

We wanted to provide a quick update regarding the current situation with 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21CCLC) funding in Congress.

First—the GOOD news. As of July 18, it was confirmed that in the House version of the appropriations bill, funding for FY17 will be maintained at current levels. That said, in the latest markup of the Senate bill, funding for 21CCLC in FY17 is cut by about $116 million. Based on the Afterschool Alliance’s worksheet, this would be about a $2 mill (1.8) cut for Missouri, affecting our ability to serve approx. 1800-2000 youth.

There are still many steps in the process, but right now, with Congress on recess and being in the midst of an election year, the process is somewhat on hold. With that being said, now is a great time to make sure we are contacting Missouri Senator Roy Blunt, specifically, because of his role in the appropriations process as the subcommittee chair responsible for funding 21CCLC, to remind him of the value of our programs for youth and families across the state.

There are several ways to go about this—here are a few options below:

  • Senator Blunt is hosting a number of “Mobile Offices” around the state, which give folks an opportunity to meet with staff members from his offices. Here is a list of the mobile offices with dates, times, and locations.
  • If you are in one of the major areas where the Senator has a regional office, set up an appointment to meet with his district office team. Here is a list of locations and the main contact information for each office.
  • If you don’t have time for a face-to-face meeting with staff, make sure to send some kind of electronic communication via social media or email. If you go through the Afterschool Alliance’s site here, you can find templates to make things easier for you.

Last year, our grassroots efforts were critical in ensuring that we kept 21CCLC funding as a dedicated, stand-alone program in ESSA. We won that battle, but now we have to ensure that the program is adequately funded to serve as many Missouri youth as possible.

As always, thanks for your support and for the work you do each day to improve the lives of youth and their families throughout our state! 

Spring Opportunities for Advocacy!

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Spring break can be a great time for hosting legislator site visits, as legislators generally have their Spring Break at the end of March and so do most of the school districts in our state.

Does your program offer Spring Break or Holiday Break care? This could present a great opportunity in the middle of session to invite your legislators into your program. Some ideas might be:

  • Inviting legislators to plays or concerts you have throughout the week
  • Invite a legislator as part of your curriculum—host a roundtable or town hall style event, and help the children prepare questions or ideas to share in advance.
  • Invite your legislator to join in a meal or activity time.
  • Invite your legislator for a full tour of the program and opportunity to meet with kids, staff, and parents.

Visit the Afterschool Alliance’s “Preparing for a Site Visit” page here for more information and ideas for your site visit.

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Spring also brings us to the 34th Annual Missouri Child Advocacy Day! This annual day at the Capitol brings together advocates from all throughout Missouri to meet with legislators and ensure that children remain a priority as they work throughout the legislative session.

We hope you’ll join us on April 23 for Missouri Child Advocacy Day in Jefferson City at the Capitol! If you plan to join the afterschool community, follow these 3 steps:

1) Register for the day by visiting http://childadvocacyday.org/

2) Let us know you’re coming so that we can bring you afterschool materials here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/CADMASN2016.

3) Attend our Child Advocacy Day Prep webinar on March 29 at 10:00am to prepare for the big day in Jefferson City! Here is the webinar link:  http://univmissouri.adobeconnect.com/r78xrny4sfw/16.

 

Welcome Back to Legislative Session!

Today at noon, the 2016 Missouri Legislative Session kicked off in Jefferson City! If you haven’t in the past, now is a perfect time to introduce yourself to your representatives and senators.

Here are some tips for outreach as session begins!

  • Determine who your legislators are by using the Legislator Lookup tool on the Missouri House and Missouri Senate websites. If you are unfamiliar with your legislator(s), get to know them by reading their biography, looking at the bills they sponsor or co-sponsor, and their committee memberships. This can help you figure out which messages to use when talking with them about afterschool!
    • Note: If you work for a school district, it is good to contact your legislators where you live and those who represent the school district.
  • Get to know the legislator’s staff! Call or stop by their office and introduce yourself. Ask about which methods are best for reaching your legislator, invite them to upcoming events in your program or community, and find out if your legislator has a district office or staff.
  • Provide the legislator and/or staff member with information about what your program specifically (including number of youth served, daily activities or clubs, etc.) and provide them with some general information about afterschool in Missouri. Here are some great handouts you can leave behind with them:

You can also contact the MASN team for a district-specific legislative brief to provide to your local legislators.

To make sure youth and afterschool programs remain a priority for our legislators, it is important that we have all hands on-deck in terms of our outreach and education. If you have questions or need assistance in getting started, please contact Casey Hanson at hansoncb@missouri.edu and she’ll be happy to help you get started.

Happy Advocacy!

 

#LightsOnAfterschool is THIS WEEK–help us get the buzz going on Social Media!

#LightsOnAfterschool week is finally here! And we want you to help us get the buzz going on Social Media. Check out our social media guide here for accounts to follow, our favorite hashtags, and sample tweets, and make sure you follow our accounts to LIKE, SHARE, and RETWEET posts this week.
You can also change your profile pictures or your Facebook cover photo using these images provided by the Afterschool Alliance:

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Finally, don’t forget to join our #MOLightsOn Contest for your chance to win awesome afterschool swag for you or your program! There are two ways to win–as an individual or a program–so check out the contest details and submit your photo entries this week!

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#ESEA Update–Every Child Achieves Act debate begins today!

On Tuesday, July 7, the US Senate will begin floor debate on the Every Child Achieve Acts, or the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). Despite earlier concerns that the new bill would not include a dedicated stream of funding for 21st Century Community Learning Center (21CCLC) programs, the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee unanimously added the program back in as an amendment to the bill earlier this Spring, and the latest draft does keep the 21CCLC program intact in its current form. Woohoo!

You can read more about the upcoming debate and current draft of the legislation at the Afterschool Alliance’s “Afterschool Snack” blog here.

Although it is extremely positive that 21CCLC was added back in by the committee and proponents are hopeful and optimistic that the provisions will stay in the bill through floor debate, it is important for afterschool advocates to continue contacting our Senators throughout the course of debate to express the value and importance of these programs for youth, families, and communities in Missouri.

Here are the contacts for our US Senators from Missouri:

Senator Roy Blunt (R- MO)
Phone: 202-224-5721
Website contact form
Twitter: @RoyBlunt 

Senator Claire McCaskill (D- MO)
Phone: 202-224-6154
Website contact form 
Twitter: @clairecmc

If you are not sure what to write, or want to make things easier on yourself, visit the Afterschool Alliance’s Action Alert Center, where you can have messages composed and sent to all Missouri Senators and your Congressional representative in just a few clicks. Our friends at the Afterschool Alliance offer you help by providing talking points and messaging, and if you choose, there is space for you to personalize the message to fit your program or community.

If you have any questions or need any further assistance, please feel free to contact Casey Hanson at hansoncb@missouri.edu.

Remember, communicating with legislators is a year-round process, and youth in Missouri need your voice to ensure that Congress continues to provide support for these invaluable programs!

Spring Madness–an advocacy update!

This spring has proven extremely busy for afterschool advocates, and our lack of blogging surely denotes that! We wanted to get caught up and provide a rundown of all of the amazing work that’s been taking place over the last few months. Check out our update and stay tuned for more!

The rush began with our statewide summit, “Telling Your Afterschool Story,” which took place on March 5th. Participants had the opportunity to learn more about conveying their afterschool message, and the importance of framing their stories when talking to strategic partners, including business leaders, families, and policymakers. Our keynote speaker, Rep. Diane Franklin (Camdenton), gave attendees a glimpse inside the mind of a legislator, and shared some key tips on how to best communicate a message with our elected officials.

Representative Diane Franklin addressing participants at the annual MASN summit.

The following week, from March 8-11, some members of the Missouri afterschool community, and the Missouri AfterSchool Network, particularly, were able to join colleagues from around the nation at the National Afterschool Association conference in DC. In conjunction with the conference, the Afterschool Alliance hosted its annual “Afterschool for All Challenge,” which provided an opportunity for advocates to meet with their Congressmen/women, Senators, and staff to discuss the importance and value of afterschool, and particularly federally-funded programs, like the 21st Century Community Learning Centers programs.

MASN staff preparing for Congressional office visits.

On March 24, former California Governor and afterschool champion Arnold Schwarzenegger hosted the National Afterschool Summit in LA, to shine light on the importance and value of afterschool programs, and to kick of a national effort to raise awareness and continue work to advocate for expanded support for afterschool and summer programs. The summit included mayors from around the country, state and federal elected officials, business owners, afterschool professionals, and some special performances and appearances by current and former afterschool youth! Read more about one Missourian’s experience here and check out the media round-up to read other articles that followed the event.

Also, be sure to visit tweet4afterschool.com to get involved in the national social media campaign for #afterschool!

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Governor Schwarzenegger gives opening remarks at the National Afterschool Summit in LA.

Child Advocacy Day happened on April 1 in Jefferson City, and welcomed hundreds of child advocates to our state’s capitol, with the united purpose of speaking up for Missouri’s children. Afterschool advocates were on hand to deliver the newly-released “State of Afterschool” district-specific legislative briefs.

And to wrap up the great news, 21CCLC advocates were successful in working together to get a bipartisan amendment placed on the Senate version of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) reauthorization bill, the “Every Child Achieves Act,” on April 16 during the Senate HELP committee’s markup session. Read Jodi Grant’s statement, and the Afterschool Alliance’s latest blog for more information about the bill and amendment that passed and next steps.