What If Wednesday: Planning for Success


Group of Business People in a Meeting About Planning

What If you are intentional about MAKING time this summer to plan for the fall?

By a show of hands, how many of you are procrastinators?

Ok, you can all put your hands down.

Next question, how many of you feel you work better when you are under pressure?

Yep, seems like the same people!

In the world of afterschool, procrastination often feels like a necessity as we take care of the daily challenges of the school year. Then, we jump directly from programming in the school year to a summer program, with no break in between. If we’re lucky, we get a couple of weeks “off” toward the end of summer. This is our life! Often there is so much happening around us, and we are so busy, that we put things off, whether we want to or not. We get caught up in the urgent and fail to pay attention to what is important. Many times, our planning time suffers greatly.

Planning is an easy thing to put off because the results of planning are not immediately seen. Yes, we can look at the plan and know that we will put these things in place soon, but there is not usually an immediate action. It is all for the future. And our “deadlines” for creating a plan are not usually hard and fast. Often, the target date is self-imposed, and studies show, self-imposed deadlines are rarely effective. What is a procrastinator to do?!?!

It is easy to say “Yes, I know I need to plan”. It is another thing to actually create the time to make it happen. Here are a few ideas to help with planning.

  1. Ask someone to help keep you accountable. As stated before, self-imposed deadlines are often ineffective because there is not an external accountability factor. It is too easy for us to defy our own suggestion to meet a deadline. What If you ask a colleague or a friend to check in on the progress of your planning? Knowing that someone outside of yourself is paying attention to the progress can be just the motivation we need to stay on task.
  2. Break your planning down into manageable chunks. Planning for a whole year, or even for a semester, can seem so overwhelming that it is easier to leave it to the side and do something else. What If you create a plan for nine weeks at a time or for a month at a time? Planning for a shorter time frame takes some of the magnitude away from the task and you can spend a shorter amount of time each day planning.
  3. Schedule time for planning and treat it as an appointment. Most of us are pretty good at keeping appointments, whether it be with a doctor, a parent connected to our program, or meeting a friend for lunch. What If you adopt the mindset that your planning time is an appointment time that you cannot miss? Setting aside time on your calendar to plan can make it feel like an appointment you need to keep. Don’t “find the time” for planning. Be intentional and “make the time”.

Not to put any pressure on you (well, maybe a little pressure!), but it is now the end of June. Most of us have a little over a month and a half before the school year kicks off and we hit the ground running full speed. Make time over the next 45 days to work on your fall plan. Put a planning time on your calendar, plan a little at a time each day, and find someone who will keep you accountable and on task. The more you can plan now, the easier it will be when the school year starts and you are neck deep in the everyday of afterschool. As one procrastinator to another, I know this to be true!

Happy Planning!



Brad Lademann
Afterschool Resource Coordinator
Missouri AfterSchool Network 

Brad Lademann is a dynamic youth speaker with 16 years of public speaking experience and 12 years of experience working with middle school and high school students. He has worked with teens in many capacities including teacher, youth pastor, coach, mentor, and afterschool program supervisor. He currently works with MASN as our Resource Coordinator and provides technical assistance to SAC and 21CCLC grantees.


Summer Advocacy Update


Federal Budget Update

Even though school is out and many programs are closed for the summer, now is a perfect time to focus on advocacy efforts. The budget process really kicks off this month as the Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations Subcommittees will meet in the House and the Senate. The House started the FY19 budget process last week, and their initial bill maintains 21st Century Community Learning Centers funding at FY18 levels. The Senate is expected to begin their process later this month.

Read a full report from the Afterschool Alliance here. 

While it is encouraging that Congress does not seem supportive of the administration’s proposal to completely eliminate the program, there is still a long way to go in the process. A final budget is not expected until after the November 2018 election.

With that said, now is the time to contact members of Congress to let them know how important afterschool and summer learning programs are to youth, families, and communities across Missouri. You can do this one of a few ways:

  1. Use this super handy link from the Afterschool Alliance to send messages to your Representative and Senators or give their office a call in less than 5 minutes.
  2. Set up a time to meet with your member of Congress and/or their staff in district. Contact Casey Hanson at hansoncb@missouri.edu for guidance on how to do this!
  3. Plan a site visit and invite your member of Congress or staff out to your program. If you have summer programming, invite them now, or start to plan something for the Fall when school resumes. (Casey will help with this, too!)

No matter how big or small the action, we need to ensure that our legislators are hearing from us about afterschool. So whether you have 5 minutes to make a quick contact or several days to plan an event, you must make sure your voice is heard over the next few months.

National Summer Learning Day – July 12


Even though school is out, many professionals throughout Missouri and the nation are working hard to keep kids learning this summer. That’s why on July 12, the National Summer Learning Association will host its annual awareness event – National Summer Learning Day – to highlight the importance of keeping kids learning, safe and healthy every summer, ensuring they return to school in the fall ready to succeed in the year.

The National Summer Learning Association website has many valuable resources to help you advocate for the importance of summer learning, including:

  1. A place to add your Summer Learning Day event to a national map.
  2. Resources to help promote the value and importance of summer learning.
  3. A “Take Action” Center to help you contact Congress regarding summer learning.

Summer Learning is a key piece of the out-of-school time puzzle, and it’s important that we continue to advocate for opportunities afterschool AND in summer, so that when school is out, we know youth have a safe place to be where they can explore, learn, and grow.

What If Wednesday: Making a Difference Where We Can


Sitting here on a Monday morning, three days removed from yet another school shooting in America. Every time it happens, I have a reaction. This time, I can’t get it out of my head. What needs to happen in order for these tragedies to stop occurring? Personally, what can I do about it? What can we, in the afterschool world, add to the possible solutions? What do the kids need? What are they missing that is leading them to commit these horrific acts?

This will not be an argument about gun control, mental health, or some other factor. It is a question about what can we do in an afterschool setting to help stem the tide of violence at school.

What If we explore the idea of creating more afterschool programs for teens?

The prevailing thought in afterschool seems to be that programs are crucial for elementary students and that programs are beneficial, but not necessary, for secondary students. We need to recognize that secondary students are still kids. They may look like grown-up people and they are gaining new abilities to think and to process emotions and to navigate relationships, but they still need guidance and assistance in getting through the complex world we live in. A solid afterschool program may be just the place to help them develop the skills they will need throughout their lives.

What If we think about the problem at our local level?

It is often heard after an event like this “I didn’t think it could happen here.” We can’t do anything about what is happening in other places but we can be purposeful about what we do in our own setting. Stop thinking in a way that creates a narrative about them, out there where these things happen, and adopt the viewpoint of us, where we are all in this together.

We won’t ever get every kid. There is no way to reach all of them. We won’t stop all of the violence. We know that. However, we can make an effort to reach out to all of the students around us. You never know the impact your kind words or your invitation to be a part of something may have on a struggling student.

What If we are intentional about checking in with our students on a regular basis?

It is so easy to get caught up in the immediate work or in the routine of what we do. Be intentional about asking your kids how they are doing and what is happening with their lives. As adults, we need to listen to what our kids are saying and be aware of the things they may not be saying out loud. Active listening is a skill we can, and should, develop in ourselves. Practice it with your students. Check in with them often.

What If we are intentional about planting seeds of kindness and resilience in our students?

The pattern many of these heartbreaking incidents seem to have is that they are committed by young people who have been slighted or marginalized in some way. We have the opportunity in our afterschool program to weave social emotional learning through all that we do. Talk about the importance of kindness and empathy. Give students the tools to be resilient. Teach them to take a long-term view of their lives. Demonstrate kindness and resilience in your own life. On purpose, we must do everything we can to develop strong social emotional traits in our students.

Bill Milliken, founder of the dropout prevention organization Communities In Schools, holds the philosophy that, “It is relationships, not programs, that change children.” Afterschool programs can serve as the vehicles for caring adults to develop relationships with young people. This includes afterschool programs for secondary students.

Create an afterschool program for high school students.

Build those relationships.

Bring them hope for a positive future.



Brad Lademann
Afterschool Resource Coordinator
Missouri AfterSchool Network 

Brad Lademann is a dynamic youth speaker with 16 years of public speaking experience and 12 years of experience working with middle school and high school students. He has worked with teens in many capacities including teacher, youth pastor, coach, mentor, and afterschool program supervisor. He currently works with MASN as our Resource Coordinator and provides technical assistance to SAC and 21CCLC grantees.

Day of Sharing – May 9

On Wednesday, May 9 (Tomorrow!), the Afterschool Alliance will host a “Day of Sharing” in conjunction with the National STEM Summit taking place in Huntsville, AL. The goal of the Day of Sharing is to have youth, parents, afterschool professionals, and advocates share their afterschool stories to highlight the impact of programs around the country. The best part is participating is easy! Here are a few simple steps:

  1. RSVP for the Day of Sharing Facebook event. 
  2. On May 9, log on to Facebook and Twitter and share your afterschool story, using the #ThisIsAfterschool and #AfterschoolWorks hashtags. If your story has a STEM focus or theme, this is great, too, as the event is happening at the same time as the National STEM Summit.
  3. While you’re on Facebook and Twitter, you can share and retweet posts from the Missouri AfterSchool Network (MO_Afterschool) or the Afterschool Alliance (@afterschool4all) to keep the buzz going throughout the day.
  4. You can also visit the Afterschool Alliance website here to find more tools and social media post samples.

We can’t wait to see all of the posts from our Missouri Afterschool community on the Day of Sharing tomorrow!

Also, if you haven’t already, RSVP to join us for our final committee meetings of the year on Thursday, May 10 in Columbia.

Afterschool Professionals Appreciation Week: THANK YOU from the MASN Team!

As we celebrate Afterschool Professionals Appreciation Week, MASN staff and coaches wanted to share why they love and appreciate afterschool professionals throughout the state.

Clint Darr, Afterschool Regional Educator, Mid-Missouri


It is an honor for me to have the privilege of visiting, coaching, training, and working alongside the professionals in the field of afterschool. I am constantly amazed to see the great things that are going on in afterschool programs around the state, and I know it is because of the effort, dedication, and passion of the professionals who staff these programs. These professionals embrace the principals of program quality assessment and improvement, and I get to witness first-hand the safe, supportive, interactive, and engaging programs they have created. Thank you for the long hours, hard work, tears and laughter that you give for your students and for the difference it makes in their lives!

Terri Foulkes, Executive Director

Terri - headshot in office

My boys have developed their closest friends as a result of their afterschool program.  Afterschool gives them time to talk, learn, explore, and play with other kids which helps them to connect with one another.  I am thankful for afterschool staff throughout the state that take the time to get to know each child and help them to feel comfortable being themselves, explore their interests, and develop new talents and skills. 

Casey Hanson, Policy and Communications Coordinator


In my role, I get to not only witness the work being done on the frontlines, but also the advocacy program staff are doing outside of the work day with community leaders and policymakers to make sure their programs are supported and sustained. I am so impressed by the level of passion and dedication the professionals in Missouri demonstrate on a daily basis.

Thank you to all of the professionals in our state who spend long hours and sometimes hard days to ensure that youth have a safe place to be, where they can find a sense of belonging, explore and discover their passions, and learn to be their best selves. Your work is invaluable to communities throughout our state. 

Brad Lademann, Afterschool Resource Center Coordinator and Regional Educator

Brad pic

The thing I love most about afterschool is the opportunity for staff to be creative in furthering the education of their students. Whether the creativity comes out in a lesson or in who the program may work with as a partner, the students in afterschool get to continue learning in ways that are not typically seen in a regular day classroom.

To all of the afterschool professionals in Missouri, thank you for making the time, and putting in the work, to plant the seeds of education and hope in the students you work with.

Kay Lewis, Afterschool Regional Educator, St. Louis & East Region


Thank you to the programs and professionals for promoting partnerships within the communities to meet the diverse and changing need of families!

Sandra Pratt, Afterschool Regional Educator, Southwest Missouri


I love being a part of a group of individuals that puts “kids first” and makes it their passion, it is energizing and allows me to learn and share with other sites!

Thank you to all the afterschool professionals that help to make youth feel safe and supported and are always willing to go the extra mile to give youth opportunities and encouragement that they need to become engaged in their programs!

David and Connie Toney, Afterschool Regional Educators, Southeast Missouri


We love afterschool because it provides every single person involved, no matter the age or role, the opportunity to learn new things, expand experiences, make connections, and feel safe, supported, and valued.  

We value those that work in the afterschool field and the work that they do because they care about children—and the development of knowledge, creativity, & personal and social skills.


Afterschool Professionals Appreciation Week – April 23-27

APAW Logo.fw

This week, we are celebrating the professionals around the state who spend their early mornings, late nights, and summers dedicated to ensuring that youth have a safe space to learn and thrive when school is out – the true Heart of Afterschool.

Afterschool professionals work unconventional hours to support working families and their children. They find unique and innovative ways to engage youth in learning, often disguised as fun, to not just support what happens in school but to expand it. They work to develop and support strong lines of communication between schools and parents. They strive tirelessly to establish strong community partnerships to enhance programming and provide youth with opportunities they wouldn’t otherwise have. They change lives on a daily basis, and we must express our sincere gratitude for the vital services they provide.

Those among many other reasons are why the Missouri AfterSchool Network is proud to join the National Afterschool Association (NAA) in its celebration of the third annual Afterschool Professionals Appreciation Week, April 23-27, to recognize and thank the Heart of Afterschool.

The Contest

We want to reward one professional or program by highlighting the celebrations occurring around the state. You can enter the contest a few different ways:

  1. Take pictures and post about your program’s celebration for Afterschool Professionals Appreciation Week. Tag the Missouri AfterSchool Network on Facebook or @MO_Afterschool on Twitter so that we can recognize your entry.
  2. Create a post on Facebook or Twitter (and tag us!) about an afterschool professional who you work with or who has had an impact on your life.
  3. If you are an afterschool professional, share why you love working with youth and families in afterschool or summer learning programs on Facebook or Twitter and tag MASN.

The Prize

The winner will be randomly selected at the end of the week, and will receive an awesome afterschool swag bag to help support you in your work in afterschool and summer learning programs.

Other Ways You Can Participate 

Our friends at NAA have offered these awesome ways for professionals, afterschool advocates and community members to participate in Afterschool Professionals Appreciation Week. Check them out:

1) Share the news with your staff, youth in your program, families and members of your community! Click here for ideas and inspiration.

2) Access the toolkit for downloadable graphics, sample social posts and a promotional video and more! Include the hashtag #heartofafterschool in your posts!

3) Order swag! Buttons, t-shirts and more are available in the online store here.

4) Send a Press Release to your local media and encourage your local and state officials to proclaim April 23-27, 2018 as Afterschool Professionals Appreciation Week. Click here for templates.

5) Help Afterschool Professionals Appreciation Week Go Viral! Follow these instructions to participate in our social media campaign. You can also find the campaign at http://bit.ly/SupportAPAW.

Spring Advocacy: Afterschool for All Challenge


This week, a team of Missourians will travel to Washington DC to participate in the Afterschool for All Challenge. The Challenge is an annual event that brings advocates from all 50 states to the nation’s capital to share with legislators the importance and value of afterschool for youth, families, and communities.

Maya Irvine, 2018 Youth Ambassador, giving her speech.

Missouri is proud this year to have Maya Irvine participating as one of only five youth selected nationwide as part of the Afterschool Alliance’s Youth Ambassador program.

Read more about Maya and the great work she is doing here.

Even if you aren’t able to travel to DC, there are many ways you can participate in the Challenge from home.

  • Call your Congressman/woman or Senators’ offices and set up an time to meet with district staff to talk about your program; or invite them out for a site visit!
  • Participate in the Challenge via Social Media
  • Contact Congress on April 19 when the team of Missourians are making their office visits. Use this tool from the Afterschool Alliance to make it easy!

Sample Social Media Posts 

  • “Thanks, @RoyBlunt for supporting #21CCLC in FY18. Now, please ensure strong support continues in the FY19 budget #AfterschoolWorks”
  • “Just called Senator @clairecmc’s office to voice support for the #21CCLC program. #AfterschoolWorks for youth, families and communities throughout Missouri!”
  • “We know #AfterschoolWorks and today we’re sharing with our legislators as part of the #A4AChallenge”

The Afterschool Alliance also has this great social media toolkit to help you make the most of the day.

Twitter Handles for Missouri Delegation

  • Senator Blunt: @RoyBlunt
  • Senator McCaskill: @Clairecmc
  • Congressman Lacy Clay (District 1): @LacyClayMO1
  • Congresswoman Ann Wagner (District 2): @RepAnnWagner
  • Congressman Blaine Luetkemeyer (District 3): @RepBlainePress
  • Congresswoman Vicky Harztler (District 4): @RepHartzler
  • Congressman Emanuel Cleaver (District 5): @RepCleaver
  • Congressman Sam Graves (District 6): @RepSamGraves
  • Congressman Billy Long (District 7): @USRepLong
  • Congressman Jason Smith (District 8): @JasonSmithMO


We hope that whether you’re joining the team in DC or helping back here in Missouri, you will join voices from across the country this week to let our legislators know that Afterschool Works for Missouri!