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Everyone Can Advocate: How You Can Support the Future of OST

Wednesday, 28 September 2022 17:47

Everyone can be an advocate. You don’t have to be a policy expert; all you need is to find your voice and stand up for what you believe in. Every afterschool professional has a compelling story to share. Stories inspire action and advocacy. Stories bring attention to important issues. Stories build an understanding and respect for the OST field. Now is the time to find your voice, use your story, and be an advocate.

Lights on Afterschool is the perfect opportunity for afterschool programs and professionals to celebrate and showcase exactly what they do each and every day. It is time to make the case to families, communities, policymakers, and the media that afterschool programs are essential for young people and their families. It is a time to highlight what afterschool really looks like for youth. It is a time for afterschool professionals to share about the important work they do.

Afterschool programs provide hands-on, engaging opportunities for kids that enhance and build on what they are learning in the school day in some unique ways. Many folks know what afterschool really is, but many others do not. That is why hosting a Lights on Afterschool event is a great opportunity to educate your communities, stakeholders, and elected officials and to create new advocates for afterschool. Bring attention to the need for high-quality afterschool programs and resources in your areas. This is the time to be an advocate and speak up for the youth, communities, and for afterschool professionals.

Lights on Afterschool is just one opportunity to advocate for afterschool programs and professionals. Think about how you can extend your advocacy throughout the year.

  • Do you have a community event you can invite stakeholders, elected officials, or the media to?
  • What about scheduling a site visit for your mayor, school board members, or other elected officials?
  • Have you shared your program with the local media?
  • Have you celebrated Afterschool Professionals Appreciation Week?
  • Do you want to support advocacy efforts for the OST workforce by sharing your story?

These are all ways to bring attention to the incredible work you are doing. For more inspiration, check out ideas from the NAA Community.

Let’s shine a light on afterschool this October, but don’t let that be the end. Be an advocate year around. Find your voice and use it!