STARBASE Afterschool STEM Mentoring Program

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STEM afterschool

The S&S team is proud to be the sponsor of the National Afterschool Association Next Generation Award for Afterschool for 2017. We are recognizing the nominees and winners for their accomplishments and dedication to the afterschool community. Benita Blackwell shares her experience as an afterschool professional, and how introducing the field of STEM to her students has had an impact on their lives and life skills.

I was introduced to the afterschool profession six years ago when I served a Certified Secondary Mathematics teacher in the public school system. This particular afterschool profession helped to enhance the academic enrichment with the student body of the school. With my enrichment area of expertise being Mathematics and Science, my students questioned me daily on when they would ever utilize the topics embedded in the curriculum in the real world. No matter how much I related the areas to their real world job content, I was still leaving my students stranded in an abyss, because it was not a part of the world they live in. They still could not see how limits relate to atoms and the atomic number; how basketball related to special right triangles; how vectors are associated with every sport; how mathematics can be a form of literature; how algebra, trig, calculus, physics, outliers, and standard deviations are used in the workplace (engineering, automotive, nursing, doctors, banking, accounting, pilots, scientist, biologist, designers, interior decorators, veterinarians, graphic designers, programmers, coding, architects), basketball, baseball, football, soccer stadiums and buildings, and much more. Continue reading



Journey Of A Community Learning Center Professional

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S&S Worldwide sponsored the National Afterschool Association Next Generation Award for Afterschool for 2017, and we are very proud of all of the nominees and winners! This is a great opportunity to highlight these afterschool professionals and the dedication they have to their programs. Here is Andrew Fletcher’s journey as a 21st Century Community Learning Center Professional:

I first applied to work for a 21st CCLC program seven years ago while attending Idaho State University. I was simply looking for a part-time job to help pay for college tuition and expenses, which I thought an aide for an alternative Jr. High afterschool program was a good fit. What I didn’t know at the time was that I had found my passion and my career. I always had an interest working with youth so it was a perfect fit. Continue reading



Higher Ground – Innovation in Youth Development

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higher groundsAs a sponsor of the National Afterschool Association Next Generation Award for Afterschool for 2017, we are recognizing the nominees and winners for their dedication to afterschool. Jansen  Azarias shares his experience building a successful program that has truly changed the lives of children and families.

Higher Ground started in my living room almost a decade ago with my stepson and his friends who were intrigued by my martial arts background. I began offering free martial arts lessons, and used them to engage these young men in their academics (e.g., “No training until homework is done”). Little did I know that this modest beginning would evolve into what is considered an effective and innovative youth development center in the Tucson community: Higher Ground a Resource Center.

I came from the Philippines when I was 18 in hopes of fulfilling my dreams as a writer and rich young bachelor. I was raised in a country where the United States is considered the promise land. When I came here, I met my wife, Barbara Azarias. She needed help with her son, Timothy and needed some tutoring. She had just gone through a divorce, breast cancer, and the death of her father all happening in a year. I began helping him in my living room and soon, he brought his friends along. Continue reading



Clayton Kid Zone Afterschool Program

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afterschoolS&S Worldwide recently sponsored the National Afterschool Association Next Generation Award for Afterschool for 2017, and we are very proud of all of the nominees and winners! This is a great opportunity to highlight these afterschool professionals and the dedication they have to their programs. Tyler Kearns shares his experience as an afterschool leader and some tips for a successful program:

I, as many do, came into this role as an afterschool professional unintentionally and fell in love with this work from the beginning. I began my work in afterschool with the Clayton School District’s Kid Zone program in Missouri the school year following my student teaching experience at one of the elementary schools. Continue reading



Afterschool Education in STEAM

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STEAM afterschoolS&S Worldwide recently sponsored the National Afterschool Association Next Generation Award for Afterschool for 2017, and we are very proud of all of the nominees and winners! This is a great opportunity to highlight these afterschool professionals and the dedication they have to their programs. Ashley Conroy shares her experience as an afterschool leader:

As a lover of learning, I am always trying to figure out what makes a good urban teacher, especially through my interactions with students, family and community. A great lesson I learned was not from a graduate education course, but from an insightful grandmother. She explained that her grandson was now at an age where he would enter a vicious cycle and she could see him starting to make the same poor decisions she had seen so many times. “What they need,” she said, “is someone to teach them that life goes beyond the block.” I’ve thought about that for many years, about how sensitive but bold an individual must be to break those barriers and prove what can be a different future. Teachers in this system require balance; they must weigh all of the emotion that is required to work with a human medium. I truly believe in education as an opportunity to shape socially conscious individuals who are willing to help bring change to a world in need, and I want to make sure that every child in this city has that opportunity. Continue reading



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