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We Know the Time Is Now

The following are remarks from the NAA18 Monday afternoon plenary by Heidi Ham, NAA Vice President of Programs and Strategy.

Today, we are all here together, which is exciting, encouraging and positive. But outside of this safe haven—out in our day-to-day worlds and communities—we continue to hear news of school shootings and other acts of violence.

Young people's lives are valuable and kids deserve more than our reactive reassurances. As afterschool professionals and leaders, when do we say "Enough"?

We know that afterschool professionals and leaders want to be inspired, to connect, to share and to learn. While we don't expect you to find inspiration in horrific events, we know that with the support of our association and each other, those in the afterschool profession can focus their energies on proactively supporting the mental health and emotional and physical safety of young people.

At NAA ...

We believe in the power of afterschool and the people who work with—and on behalf of—children and youth during out-of-school time.

We believe that when adults invest quality time and compassion in young people, our youth rise to the challenge of making the world a better place for themselves and for others.

We believe that strong afterschool leaders develop the skilled professionals and teams that run strong organizations and quality programs that result in positive youth outcomes.

We believe afterschool is powerful today and has the potential to be even more so in the future.

At NAA, we believe in the power of afterschool and we believe in you!

That's why, over the course of the next year and beyond, members of the NAA community can expect more resources and supports. Starting right here in this room, today.

Brave leaders take risks, face the unknown, and create a vision for others that they can't imagine themselves.

We believe that the passionate people in the afterschool profession are the key to building our future and the future of millions of kids

We believe that afterschool makes a difference in the lives of young people, our communities and our nation.

We believe in you, in our youth, in ourselves and the collective us.

We believe in creating an even more powerful afterschool movement and look forward to working with you all and everyone in the afterschool profession to making it so.

And we know the time is now.

 

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