One thing is clear: Afterschool professionals and leaders miss the kids, families, and staff.
"Adaptable." "Busy." "Overwhelmed." "Helpful." "Creative." "Emotional." These are among the single-word descriptors State Affiliate leaders used to describe their present feelings. But they aren't letting the current climate stop them from lending support.
Examples of how NAA State Affiliates are providing services during this time.
Every week, through Vermont Afterschool, afterschool professionals and leaders are joining virtual roundtable sessions with topics varying based on days of the week and ranging from discussions for those specifically providing care for children of essential workers, to information for 21st Century Community Learning Center directors and afterschool and youth-serving programs, to health guidelines for emergency care providers.
Georgia Statewide Afterschool Network held a statewide virtual town hall that included a poll asking participants to share more about their current needs. Online professional development for staff and resources for engaging youth topped the list. In response, GSAN is providing weekly COVID-19 forums offering policy updates and is working on offering PD opportunities through webinars presented by their staff and by partner organizations.
Illinois Afterschool Network updated its website with additional resources for parents and youth and have made all online trainings free. IAN is working with mental health consultants to offer virtual services to address staff concerns afterschool professionals may have and help them process what is happening in our respective communities across the state.
Arizona Center for Afterschool Excellence has started an emergency fund for vulnerable afterschool programs and—in honor of its 30th anniversary and Arizona Gives Day—is offered a day of free online connecting and mini-workshops April 7, for parents, program staff, and others. The event included timely sessions on filing for unemployment and filing for SBA relief as well as more traditional topics.
In speaking with the State Affiliate leaders, Gina Warner, NAA president and CEO said, "Right now, we're in the disaster response stage." She continued with, "The period we need to be prepared for next is disaster recovery—and the role you can all play as state intermediaries is crucial and your leadership is important."
Warner touched on bringing awareness to the fragility of the workforce and items such as paid leave. She also stressed that the work being done to offer resources for continuing sustainability—such as leadership development, financial planning and organizational development—is vital.
The strong and supportive relationship between NAA and its state affiliates creates a national network that builds connectivity among stakeholders and creates opportunities for engagement that ensure a vibrant future for our field.
More information about NAA State Affiliates and the services they provide may be found on the About Us page.
Courtesy of NAA.