Afterschool Professionals Appreciation Week

How about a standing ovation for afterschool professionals? The last week of April (April 22nd through 26th) is Afterschool Professionals Appreciation week. The National Afterschool Association sponsors the week as a “joint effort of community partners, afterschool programs, youth and child care workers, and individuals who have committed to declaring the last full week of April each year as a time to recognize and appreciate those who work with youth during out of school hours (National Afterschool Association, 2019).” This week we celebrate afterschool professionals through celebrations and public declarations to inspire people to thank the afterschool professionals who are making a difference in our communities and the lives of our youth. Check out Click2Science's April webinar to learn more about the Impact of Afterschool Programs.

The value of Afterschool Professionals

An afterschool professional is someone who works in school and community based programs to provide fun, educational expanded learning opportunities during out of school time (OST) hours. They are the heart and soul of OST programming. It is estimated that over 10 million children and youth participate in OST programming every year in the U.S. and it is because of the dedicated men and women who work in these programs that this is possible. According to Harvard Graduate School of Education one of the critical factors in achieving successful outcomes in OST programming is quality staffing. In an article they state “children who attend these well-supervised afterschool programs display better work habits, task persistence, social skills, pro-social behaviors, academic performance, and less aggressive behavior at the end of the school year (Marin Wong, 2008).” Without caring adults, we have no one to help with homework time, teach educational activities, engage students in physical activity, or help youth learn social skills. As someone who works with a variety of afterschool professionals in a variety of ways, I know the importance of the work you do. I recognize how difficult, yet rewarding, your work is and you deserve to be recognized for the work you do.

How can you show your appreciation?

The National Afterschool Association has a variety of ideas and inspiration for families, administrators, and community groups to show their appreciation for the afterschool professionals in their lives. Here are a few quick ideas form the National Afterschool Association:

For Families

  1. Hand written thank you cards
  2. An email to the program administration.
  3. Make signs and hang them up
  4. Treats for the program staff
  5. A simple in-person thank you

For Administrators

  1. Sharing about Afterschool Professionals Appreciation Week with families and school staff.
  2. Providing treats for staff
  3. Public recognition of staff members
  4. Sharing about Afterschool Professionals with local media
  5. Sharing about the great things in afterschool programs with families, community, and local media.

For Community Groups

  1. Getting local officials involved with a proclamation
  2. Sharing with local media
  3. Public recognition of afterschool staff
  4. Sharing about Afterschool Professionals Appreciation Week in your communications.
  5. Host an appreciation event to showcase the success of your local afterschool program/s

National Afterschool Association also provides a toolbox of resources for you to use to help spread the word and to show your appreciation for Afterschool professionals. Here’s what they have:

  1. Graphics and Logos: These graphics and logos can be used to share on Social Media, add to posters/signs, added to press releases for local media, etc.
  2. Sample Social Media Posts: They provide sample posts for programs and program partners and also for individuals. You can use these posts or use them as inspiration to develop your own!
  3. Video: This video shares some statistics about afterschool and afterschool professionals. It also provides some examples of how those who watch it can show their appreciation for the wonderful afterschool professionals in their community. Share this video on social media or share it with administration and community partners.
  4. Announcements: These announcements can be sent out in emails, shared in newsletters to families, staff, stakeholders, etc.
  5. Press Release: Use this press release to send to local media or as a template to develop your own with more local information.
  6. Flyers: They have 2 types of flyers. “Recognition” flyers to use in your program or around you community and a “Ways to Celebrate” flyer. The ways to celebrate flyer is a great way to spread the word about celebrate Afterschool Professionals Appreciation week!
  7. Talking Points: These talking points can be used with families, community partners, local media, and local government officials.
  8. Proclamation: This proclamation is for local and State offices to recognize Afterschool Professionals Appreciation Week and the importance these adults play in the lives of youth.

As we wrap up April let’s give Afterschool Professionals a standing ovation for their hard work and Dedication. I challenge you to do something to show your appreciation for the Afterschool Professionals in your community during the week of April 22nd through 26th.

References:

Magin Wong, A. (2008, February 24). Secrets of Successful Afterschool Programs. Retrieved March 7, 2019, from https://www.gse.harvard.edu/news/uk/08/02/secrets-successful-afterschool-programs

Nation Afterschool Association. (2019). Afterschool Professionals Appreciation Week. Retrieved March 7, 2019, from https://naaweb.org/heartofafterschool-home

Afterschool Alliance. (2017). What Does the Research Say about Afterschool Retrieved from http://afterschoolalliance.org/documents/what_does_the_research_say_about_afterschool.pdf