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First Lady Michelle Obama Celebrates Summer Learning with ASAS

All-StarMoment-MichelleObama-300x217First Lady Michelle Obama celebrated National Summer Learning Day with more than 200 students and education leaders in Washington, D.C., last week. ASAS was there to spread the word about Sports as a Hook, our health and fitness program that gets kids active outside of school. The First Lady got a quick lesson on nutrition and portion control for growing kids from ASAS D.C. participant Rhece, who’s lost 20 pounds with the help of Sports as a Hook.

ASAS’ summer high school and college readiness program, CampUs, was also featured at the event. ASAS South Florida alum Ti’Andre graduated from the CampUs program at Florida International University four years ago, and is now a high school senior with a 3.9 GPA. Alongside Rhece, the two young men showed how ASAS’ quality out-of-school-time programs give kids support and experiences that power success in the classroom and beyond.

Schwarzenegger and Paige: Why Congress should keep funding afterschool

washington-postThe Afterschool Alliance is a nonprofit organization that works to ensure that all children have access to affordable, high-quality afterschool programs. The idea of providing programs for students to attend after the regular school day — where they can keep learning in different ways, play and stay in a safe environment — is a no-brainer, but somehow keeps falling under the radar of school reformers and policy makers. In fact, for years the Obama administration
diverted money intended to be used for high-quality afterschool programs to support the expansion of learning time during school hours (which sounds useful but is often a waste of time). As alliance Executive Director Jodi Grant once wrote on this blog:

Students need more than a strong curriculum, good teachers, and time in the classroom to succeed. Afterschool programs have long known that they can embrace the hours between the time school closes and parents return from work to provide children, especially those who don’t have access to other activities, with exciting, engaging experiences that will help them learn academic, social and professional skills. The research is clear: children in quality afterschool programs are more likely to come to school and stay in school, more likely to hand in their work and get better grades.

Congress is now debating whether to continue funding afterschool programs. Here to explain why they it should are Arnold Schwarzenegger, the former governor of California, and Rod Paige, a former secretary of education under president George W. Bush.

By Arnold Schwarzenegger and Rod Paige

There are more than 60,000 children who go to sleep every night in a juvenile detention center, and 2.6 million of our high school students will drop out before they ever graduate high school.

We can do better.

We both believe that education is a basic civil right for all, and that education does not end when the bell rings at the close of a school day. As the former governor of California and U.S. secretary for education, we fought to support federal funding for afterschool programs to support the lifelong learning of our children. We stood together at a summit in 2003 to fight for these programs, and now we have come together again.

Today, as Congress debates the elimination of $1 billion in critical funding for afterschool programs that could affect 1.6 million students, we are both deeply concerned and prepared to fight for these programs which help some of our most at-risk students.

Afterschool programs offer students a safe, caring environment with homework assistance, digital arts, crucially important Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) learning, healthy eating habits, and classes that have been squeezed from the normal school day including the arts and extracurricular activities.

These programs provide a real return on investment to taxpayers and budgets. Studies have shown that every dollar spent on afterschool programs can save anywhere from $2 to nearly $9. Spending a dollar today to avoid spending a fortune in the future on incarceration and additional classroom instruction is a deal everyone can support.

Researchers have found that students who participate in afterschool programs graduate from high school at a rate of 86 percent, while the students who don’t have access to those programs graduate at a rate of 72 percent – and that comprehensive afterschool programs can dramatically improve math test scores.

Juvenile crimes spike between the hours of 3 and 6 p.m. when kids roam the street with no adult supervision. Luckily, there is a solution. Participation in afterschool programs has been shown to decrease the likelihood of these students participating in criminal activities by 30 percent. We know that afterschool programs boost graduation rates, improve school attendance, grades and test scores, protect the health and safety of our children, and support students in at-risk and disadvantaged communities.

The benefits extend beyond the students. Working families, who are the bedrock of our economy, are able to keep their jobs and miss less work because their children are safe in afterschool programs. We have both spoken to many of these parents who tell us what a relief it is to know their kids are safe, learning, and out of trouble.

More than 10 million children already experience the benefits of afterschool programs every day, but the demand for participation is much greater—close to 20 million students would be in programs if they were available.

At a time when we should be discussing how to increase the supply of afterschool programs and their proven benefits to meet the demand, Congress is debating whether to eliminate the funding. In this crucial debate, we stand with the students, and with the strong bipartisan coalition in Congress that has expressed support for afterschool programs.

Let us be very clear: this is a crucial investment in our future. The alternative is far more expensive. In 2003 and 2013 we were successful in our fight to protect after school funding. We will be successful again. We can do better for our students, and we will.

We look forward to discussing the benefits of these programs and establishing another generation of afterschool success stories on March 24th at the important summit we are cohosting.

ASAS Awarded Largest Expansion Grant of $4MM From The New York Life Foundation

Multi-Year Funding Will Support Expansion of Afterschool Programs for Middle School Students

NEW YORK, March 6, 2014

After-School All-Stars (ASAS), a national nonprofit organization providing comprehensive afterschool programs, announced today a $4,000,000 grant from the New York Life Foundation supporting expansion to serve middle school youth in six new U.S. cities. This four-year grant is one of the largest in ASAS’s 20-year history and its first ever multi-year expansion grant.

“We are thrilled to partner with New York Life, an organization that shares our values and is investing significant resources in local communities. As our largest funder, New York Life gives After-School All-Stars the ability to reach unprecedented numbers of students nationwide. Our shared vision is for all middle school
students to be safe and healthy, to transition to and graduate from high school, go on to college, find careers they love and give back to their communities,” said ASAS President and CEO Ben Paul. “We are looking forward to working with the New York Life team to continue serving middle school students around the country.”

“The Foundation is deepening the relationship we established with ASAS in 2012 because their programming — a combination of academics, enrichment activities and healthy lifestyles — has improved student achievement significantly. In fact, 99 percent of ASAS’s We Are Ready students were promoted on time to the ninth grade,” said Maria Collins, vice president, New York Life Foundation. “We are focusing our educational enhancement funding on middle school students because it is a particularly vulnerable time for students and only a small percentage of programs target this age group.”

ASAS has identified Newark, NJ, and Philadelphia, PA, as the first new expansion cities in 2014. The grant will allow ASAS to expand its comprehensive afterschool model, including an array of academic, enrichment and health and fitness programming, along with ASAS’s four signature initiatives:

  • We Are Ready: a program to prepare middle school students for life in high school, college, and the workforce. This includes the CampUs program, an intensive week long immersion program that takes place on a university campus. The camp prepares students for high school and college and makes connections between academic, professional and personal success;
  • Sports as a Hook: a unique sports-based youth development program that connects sports activities to lessons on leadership, teamwork, resilience, discipline, health, nutrition, community service, gender equality, and the environment;
  • Career Exploration Opportunities: a financial literacy, career development, and entrepreneurship program; and
  • Life Service Action: a program created to enhance student achievement, help students develop as leaders, and inspire them to be active and responsible members of the community by designing and leading their own service learning projects.

About After-School All-Stars

Founded in 1992, After-School All-Stars is a leading national provider of year-round, school-based, comprehensive afterschool programs. During the school year, children participate in free programs that include academic support, enrichment opportunities, and health/fitness activities. The organization’s mission is to keep children safe and help them succeed in school and in life. Nearly 90,000 children from families of poverty benefit in 14 U.S. regions: Atlanta, Chicago, Hawaii, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, New York, North Texas, Ohio, Orlando, San Antonio, San Diego, San Francisco Bay Area, South Florida and Washington, D.C. For more information, visit

About The New York Life Foundation

Inspired by New York Life’s tradition of service and humanity, the New York Life Foundation has, since its founding in 1979, provided nearly $185 million in charitable contributions to national and local nonprofit organizations. Through its focus on “Nurturing the Children,” the Foundation supports programs that benefit young people, particularly in the areas of educational enhancement and childhood bereavement. The Foundation also encourages and facilitates the community involvement of employees, agents, and retirees of New York Life through its Volunteers for Good program. To learn more, please visit www.newyorklifefoundation.orginv-logo-NYLF


gr-e-newsIf you want Michelle Obama to approve of your summer plans, you need to make sure they’re “strategic.” That was the key word used when the first lady of the United States sat down with Terrence Jenkins to promote the National Summer Learning Day Fair, co-hosted by the U.S Department of Education and National Summer Learning Association.
And during their conversation, FLOTUS revealed what advice she’d give her younger self. “I would have been more strategic. Because the thing is, getting into college nowadays is harder than ever before. I don’t remember having to think about all these things,” she told us. “But there are so many kids who don’t know that they need to be thinking about internships and making money and developing skills with financial literacy. I wish I had known more about these things.” Obama is urging young students to use their summers wisely, by cutting back on the video games and partying and instead using the extra to time to get ahead by interning.

“I wasn’t this sophisticated when I was their age. I worked because I had to work, so I did the basic things like babysitting, I worked at a bindery once, I was the typist. “But I did that because I had to make money and that’s one of the reasons why events like these are so important, because we want all kids to know that they need to think strategically about how they’re spending their summers. Especially if they want to go to college,” she said. “Being able to emphasize to parents and kids around the country that summers are a time to get ahead and finding great internship opportunities are one of the best ways to spend the summer.”

Read the original article or watch the full interview on E News Online.