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.

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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?
The Afterschool Alliance selects between 12 and 20 ambassadors from around the country each year, and provides training, technical support and funding for their activities throughout the school year. Those activities include: coordinating a major Lights On Afterschool community event; working with other local providers, advocates and business and community leaders to promote afterschool; reaching out to policy makers and the media on afterschool issues; and more.  My organization, After-School All-Stars, has been advocating on national afterschool issues alongside the Afterschool Alliance for quite a while, and I am happy to contribute to the partnership as the Afterschool Ambassador for DC.  Personally, I’ve already been a close partner with DCAYA and I look forward to working with its member organizations on each of these activities!

What do you hope to accomplish in your service as an Afterschool Ambassador?
In my 18 years working with young people, I’ve seen firsthand how afterschool programs give students opportunities to explore their interests, while giving parents the peace of mind that comes with knowing that their children are safe and supervised, with engaging, educational activities, after the school day ends. I want to see the value of these programs more widely understood and celebrated, and I hope to meet with community partners and providers over the coming year to discuss how we can leverage the Afterschool Alliance’s investment to work together and toward making afterschool programs available to all who need them in DC.

What do you have planned for this week’s Lights On Afterschool event?
Along with the rest of the nation, ASAS DC will celebrate Lights On Afterschool on Thursday, October 20th. The day is meant to highlight the importance of afterschool in the lives of children and their families. At Stuart-Hobson Middle School in Ward 6 (410 E Street NE) and Hart Middle School in Ward 8 (601 Mississippi Avenue SE), we will hold open houses to showcase the power of afterschool for the community from 4 to 6pm. The events will feature students’ performances and media coverage, and we have a lot of great community partners and other afterschool providers coming as well. Councilmembers have committed to attend as well.  Any community partners who would like to join us should feel free to come or reach out to me!

Daniela Grigioni is DC’s 2016-2017 Afterschool Ambassador for the Afterschool Alliance, and the Executive Director After-School All-Stars of DC. She can be reached by email at

About After-School All-Stars: During the 2016-2017 school year, ASAS DC will serve about 500 middle school students at Stuart Hobson MS, Hart MS, Leckie ES, Cesar Chavez Middle Public Charter School, and Two Rivers Public Charter School. The program offers several components including “We Are Ready,” which helps 8th graders develop skills to navigate high school and prepare them for subsequent education or job training; “Career Exploration Opportunities” (CEO), a financial literacy, career development, and entrepreneurial program; “Sports as a Hook,” a sports-based youth-development program; and “Life Service Action,” which teaches students to design and lead their own service-learning projects.

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