Be An Advocate

Advocacy can take 5 minutes and has the opportunity to last a lifetime. Each of us can be an advocate by communicating our support of a cause to others.

Do you value quality out of school time programs for children? During this election year, take the opportunity to reach out to the Presidential Candidates and encourage school aged children to write letters to the future president. Check out this great resource: Letters to the Next President.

This month, many new elected officials step into office.This is an important time to reach out to your newly elected officials and remind them of afterschool’s role in your community, district or state. Offer to be a resource on the issue, and invite them to come see your program firsthand.

Here are some basic tips for reaching out to your representatives at all levels.

As you review candidates positions on education, find a way to connect afterschool to their passion. Is their chief concern is creating jobs in your community? Tell them how afterschool offers workforce development opportunities.

You can use our sample letter to get started. It is often helpful to provide information about the impact of afterschool in your community—and it’s easy to do so with data points about afterschool in your state from the America After 3PM dashboard. Facts combined with relatable anecdotes can work together to create a strong narrative about the impact of afterschool. If you work with a program that receives 21st Century Community Learning Center funding, you should also be sure let them know about the impact it has.

When Afterschool Ambassador Kim Templeman contacted Congressman Tom Cole to visit her program, she called and left emails with his office. A representative from his office visited her program, and then encouraged the Congressman to attend too! During his visit, Rep. Cole saw firsthand what afterschool looks like, and Kim was able to show him the direct impact of federal funds on her program. This type of personal interaction can help any official understand more of what you do and how you do it—whether they represent you on a federal, state or local level. Before the official leaves, make sure to give them materials to take back to their office so they can start making the case for afterschool. Check out our advocacy basics to learn more.

After your visit, write the official to thank them for attending, and reiterate any points that you think are important for them to remember. You might also think about thanking them publicly, through social media or a blog about their visit. This is a good place to provide photos and stories, so those who aren’t able to physically attend your program can see what it looks like as well. Don’t forget to follow up, so that when you need support, you have a warm relationship to ask for it.

Reach out to your elected official or community stakeholders and let him or her know how important out of school time programs are to you.

Community Stakeholders:

Be Up To Date

The Afterschool Snack is a blog on the latest research, resources, funding and policy on expanding quality afterschool and summer learning programs for children and youth.

Below are current articles, automatically updated via Afterschool Alliance.

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