According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 1 in 5 children in the US has obesity. September’s Childhood Obesity Awareness Month is a chance to learn more about strategies OST programs can use to support the health and wellness of youth, families, and communities.
Working in the OST field means taking care of youth, families, and communities. But how can you be expected to take care of those around you if you aren’t taking care of yourself? Self-care means taking the time to do things that help will help both your physical and mental health.
I recently got into an argument with a white cis male Linkedin business "influencer" about the booklist he released that, amongst the over 100 titles, included almost no women or BIPOC authors. Of course, his responses were defensive: "I read what comes across my desk." Agh.
Millions of dollars are being pumped into school and out-of-school time (OST) programs by the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) fund, allowing those programs to make enormous headway into addressing learning loss caused by the pandemic. Schools are tasked with ensuring that all students, both in classrooms and in out-of-school time programs, can access effective learning as well as have support for social, emotional, and mental health needs. Specific to afterschool, it addresses planning and implementing activities related to supplemental afterschool programs and summer learning enrichment to address learning loss.
Over the last 20 years, Out-of-School Time (OST) has progressed with research, practice, and policies related to program quality, yet workforce stability, recruitment, and retention of direct-service workers continues to be a challenge. The National AfterSchool Association (NAA) recently launched the Thriving Out-of-School Workforce Initiative focused on creating a strong and valued profession. In talking about the initiative, Angelica Portillo, NAA’sDirector of Advocacy and Workforce Initiatives, shared, "Moving this invaluable workforce forward is necessary for upholding our commitment to equity, access, and quality."
Teaching ethics is an often-debated topic. How can one present something that is based on values and beliefs? What should ethics conversations be included in staff meetings when we have so many important things to cover? Can ethics even be taught or are they something that is already learned?
In Out-of-School Time, planning for staff development is an important part of the back-to-school season. Staff development is one aspect of job quality that prepares OST professionals to deliver the high-quality programs that ultimately lead to positive youth outcomes. As the professional association for the field, NAA’s mission is to create a strong and valued profession.
As the professional membership association for people who work with and on behalf of youth during Out-of-School Time (OST), the National AfterSchool Association is concerned about ensuring the number of skilled professionals necessary to provide the quality OST programs that kids and families desperately need.