Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Expanded Learning and a Halloween Hearing

It's the season for Expanded Learning! Actually October IS Afterschool Awareness Month, so for this week's blog we thought it would be a good time to highlight some recent activities and updates, as well as an upcoming hearing.

Lights on Afterschool

Just last Thursday, was Lights on Afterschool, a day which saw a million Americans celebrate afterschool programs around the country. This nationwide event was launched in October 2000, and highlights the role of after school programs in "keeping kids safe, inspiring them to learn and helping working families."

Our own staff members, Joey Gavrilovich and JR Russ visited two participating schools last week here in the District, Hart Middle School and Stuart-Hobson Middle school, respectively.

Stuart-Hobson: A speed mentoring session
Hart: Performance by the After School All Stars' Drumline
Did you, your youth, and/or your school participate in this year's Lights On Afterschool? Do you have any favorite afterschool programs or memories you'd like to share? Please do so in a comment.

Expanded Learning Issue Brief

Joey Gavrilovich, our Senior Policy Analyst, has been particularly busy. He just recently updated our Expanded Learning Issue Brief, which you should check out and share, if you haven't yet. One particular highlight is the following chart.

It breaks down the deficit of learning hours many children enter 6th grade with:
These children are typically beginning 6th grade with only about 60% of the learning hours afforded their higher income peers, missing out on some 4,000 hours of out-of-school time learning.
If you would like to read more, please check out our latest Expanded Learning Issue Brief.

Public Hearing on the Office of Youth Outcomes and Grants Establishment Act of 2016

Coming up on Monday, October 31, the Committee on Education will have a public hearing on B21-865, “Office of Youth Outcomes and Grants Establishment Act of 2016.”

DCAYA and other advocates have been at the table over the past several months with leaders from DC government and local philanthropy to help address the path forward for supporting afterschool and summer programs for District youth. This legislation proposes a framework for greater strategic coordination and funding for out-of-school time programming.

The hearing will begin at 10:30am at the John A. Wilson Building. And if you are interested in testifying, you have until 5:00pm tomorrow, Thursday, October 27 to sign-up. Those who wish to testify may sign-up online at or call the Committee on Education at (202) 724-8061.

That's it

We hope you enjoy the rest of Afterschool Awareness Month!

- Your DCAYA Team

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Lights On Afterschool: 4 Questions with DC Afterschool Ambassador Daniela Grigioni

In September, the Afterschool Alliance announced that Daniela Grigioni had been selected as one of 15 leaders from across the nation to serve as a 2016-2017 Afterschool Ambassador. Since 2001, more than 200 individuals have served as Afterschool Ambassadors with the Afterschool Alliance, working in their communities and states to increase awareness of the need for afterschool, and acting as a voice for the movement. Since December 2015, Daniela Grigioni has served as the Executive Director at After-School All-Stars DC. Prior to that, she was the Manager of External Relations for Afterschool Programs at DC Public Schools.

*For more info on Expanded Learning, please be sure to check out DCAYA's new issue brief!*
What is the Afterschool Ambassador program, and what does your role mean for DC?
The program identifies afterschool providers and advocates of special achievement, and uses its national platform to help them raise their voices in support of afterschool. This is the first year that DC has had an ambassador! As an Afterschool Ambassador for DC, I want to work to build support for afterschool programs here in District as well as in the nation, and help advance the goal of making those programs available to all children and families who need them. I will also continue my work as the Executive Director at After-School All-Stars DC (ASAS DC).

What sort of resources will you have as an Ambassador?

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

So What is “Health Check” and What’s the Big Deal?

AmeriHealth is the largest Medicaid managed care organization (MCO) in DC with more than 100,000 members and a part of the AmeriHealth Caritas family of companies, a national leader in managed care. This month, Market President Karen Dale, shares why the "Health Check" is so important to you and your youth.

You’ve probably heard the term “Health Check” 100 times before, whether at the doctor’s office which is the most common, your insurance plan, on television, the radio, at school, or from an athletic coach.  So what is it?  Health Check is a regularly scheduled visit to a pediatrician or family doctor to ensure proper growth and good health for children and youth.  These visits start at birth and should continue until a person turns 21 years old.  The Health Check includes various screenings but the most familiar are a complete physical exam, immunizations if needed, dental screening, vision screening, hearing screening, lead screening, and even behavioral health screenings.  As the child gets older, some portions of the Health Check will change to incorporate some additional tests and screenings based on age, while other portions will no longer be needed.

But what’s the big deal?  Prevention!  Many childhood illnesses do not show up right away, and the Health Check exams can help keep children and youth healthy by spotting potential illness or challenge before it happens.  The Health Check exam including the up to date immunizations not only promotes proper growth and good health, but it is also used as the back-to-school and athletic participation requirement each school year.

Wednesday, October 05, 2016

Shared Use: Safe Places for All Kids to Play and Grow

October is Afterschool Awareness Month, and for the next four weeks, DCAYA will be featuring the work of our community-based out-of-school time (OST) partners. To kick things off, we’ve invited our friends at the Advocates for Better Children’s Diets to share about shared use of community facilities in the District – what it is, where the disparities are, and what it means for youth in OST hours. Read on for more information and steps you can take to join the DC Active Kids campaign for shared use!

Washington, DC is often thought of as one of the healthiest cities in the US. It ranks 50th out of 51 states for obesity. On paper, DC looks like a beacon of health, but that’s not the whole story.

DC has significant disparities when it comes to health. When we add overweight to obesity, we find that 56% of all adults living in DC are overweight or obese. These rates increase to more than 72% in the District’s neighborhoods east of the river (Wards 7 and 8). Racial disparities with regards to obesity in the District are extreme, for example, less than one in every 10 white District residents are obese, whereas one in every three African Americans in the District are obese.

Childhood obesity is a growing focus for many health professionals because overweight and obese children often grow up to be overweight and obese adults, therefore they will have to deal with all of the associated diseases including hypertension, diabetes, and high cholesterol. D.C. has the ninth highest childhood obesity rate in the United States, according to Child Health Data.