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Leaders Recognize the Work of Afterschool Professionals!

Monday, 25 April 2022 08:01

Afterschool Professionals Appreciation Week is a time to recognize, appreciate and advocate for those who work with young people during out-of-school hours. The week is marked by celebrations and public relations efforts encouraging appreciation and support for all the afterschool professionals who make a profound difference in the lives of young people. 

We asked NAA State Affiliate leaders from across the country to share what they love about the afterschool professionals they work with and here is what they had to say.

“I heart afterschool professionals both as a part of my work and as a mom with a kiddo in afterschool, for the belonging and community they create!”
– Christine Jones Monaccio, Virginia Partnership for Out-of-School Time

“I heart afterschool professionals because of all of the amazing work they do for young people!”
– Sarah Loepfe, Minnesota Ignite Afterschool

“I heart afterschool professionals because they help youth find and follow their passions”
– Courtney Sullivan, Arizona Center for Afterschool Excellence 

“I heart afterschool professionals because they show up in big ways for youth”
– Lupine Reppert, California School-Age Consortium

“I love afterschool professionals because they are essential. They stepped up to help communities when we needed them most to ensure all children had the opportunity to reach their full potential.”
– Kelly Sturgis, New York Network for Youth Success 

“I <3 afterschool professionals because they dedicate themselves to helping youth succeed. They spend their time thinking of new ways to spark joy in their participants, to support academic and social-emotional growth, to help families access resources they need, and more. They do all of this with a smile and deserve full recognition for being true superheroes in their communities.”
– Allie Lidie, New York Network for Youth Success 

“I LOVE afterschool professionals because they are part of my support system! They provide my children learning experiences beyond the school day with elements of fun and support. Because of this, I can be my best self at work, home, and in my community!”
– Bri Gaston-Bell, Indiana Afterschool Network

“I love afterschool professionals because they are essential to the healthy growth and development of kids. They listen, they play, they teach, and they inspire. Most importantly, they help youth see their own value and unique talents.”
– Lakshmi Hasanadka, Indiana Afterschool Network

“Afterschool professionals perform a critical role in supporting our children and youth, especially during the pandemic. They provide experiential learning, emotional support, meals, post-secondary pathways, mentoring, the list goes on and on. It’s time to honor these professionals for who they are–heroes"
– David Beard, School's Out Washington 

“Afterschool Professional Appreciation Week is our chance to celebrate the incredible impact OST educators are creating every day. Bravo to the afterschool workforce and THANK YOU for the joy you bring to the world! Make sure to follow our social media next week for Afterschool Professional Appreciation Week. We recognize outstanding OST educators through our Afterschool Superheroes Award program. @akafterschool”
– Thomas Azzarella, Alaska Afterschool Network

“Seeing the excitement in children's faces about learning something new, being able to turn to someone when you are feeling sad or left out, and having your name be part of the dinner table conversation...those are the things that are part of the relationships afterschool professionals strive to create and sustain every day. It is the passion for the work that resonates with children and their families...seeing a consistent face, providing safe spaces, and leading with the heart are all attributes that create a sense of belonging and what keeps them coming back. Being an afterschool professional is about fostering change, one person, one family, one community at a time.”
– Ken Anthony, Connecticut Afterschool Network 

“The celebration and love for our field continues to evolve professionally each and every day. Also, we are building lifelong LEADERS by offering QUALITY professional development facilitated by seasoned professionals in the field. And by having a stronger, skilled, and qualified workforce, we are able to holistically, continue to deliver first-class programming to not only children and youth but parents and caregivers as part of our respective programs. ”
– Curtis Peace, Illinois AfterSchool Network

“Why do I love afterschool professionals? Afterschool professionals are at the heart of youth development and success during out-of-school hours. They are an absolute necessity to the future of our youth!”
– Ebony Grace, NJSACC: The Statewide Network for NJ's Afterschool Communities

“Why do I love afterschool professionals? Afterschool professionals are innovative and resourceful. They are educated and qualified enough to take lessons from the school day and wrap it up in a fun bow! Learning is happening and the students are engaged: Win- Win!”
– Tyneisha Gibbs, NJSACC: The Statewide Network for NJ's Afterschool Communities

How are you showing up this week? What are you doing to thank the afterschool professionals in your life? They are the #HeartofAfterschool and deserve thank yous this week and every week that they show up and make a difference in lives everywhere.