Pennsylvania Statewide Afterschool/Youth Development Network (PSAYDN) recognizes eight program leaders, two organizations, two elected officials and two youth groups for innovation and excellence in afterschool programs that keep kids safe, inspire learning and help working families.
Harrisburg, Pa. – Today, Pennsylvania Statewide Afterschool/Youth Development Network (PSAYDN) honored twelve individuals and two organizations as Afterschool Champions for outstanding work in developing, supporting and promoting meaningful high-quality afterschool/out-of-school time programs to benefit children, youth and families across Pennsylvania. The annual champion recognitions emphasize the importance of afterschool and summer learning programs in the state. The awards align with PSAYDN’s mission to promote sustainable, high-quality out-of-school time youth development programs through advocacy and capacity building to enhance the welfare of Pennsylvania’s children, youth and families. In 2004, PSAYDN began as a 65-member coalition, and now has nearly 3000 members representing all regions of the commonwealth.
Afterschool programs pick up where the school day leaves off. In addition to offering kids a safe, supervised place to go before and after school, on weekends and during summers to get academic help, programs provide a variety of activities—art, music, dance, sports, science, service learning, career exploration and much more—that help kids develop new interests and skills. The Afterschool Champion Awards honor programs, elected officials, youth and program leaders for excellence in the service of children, schools and communities.
Profiles of the 2020 Afterschool Champions can be found at www.psaydn.org/2020-afterschool-champions.
The champions’ outstanding commitment and hard work have been recognized by their peers, leaders and community members. Formative, out-of-school hours can be filled with quality youth development programs that not only promote the well-being of our children and youth, but also families.
“As Afterschool Champions, these honorees lead through example and we are thrilled to shine the light on these remarkable accomplishments,” said PSAYDN Director Laura Saccente. “Research shows that increased academic achievement, reduced criminal activity, and positive social development are results of the high-quality afterschool activities students participate in.”
Recently, PSAYDN introduced the third cohort of the 10-month STEM Ambassador program. Twenty-eight individuals from across the commonwealth such as K-12 educators, higher education staff and business partners are helping to shape the future of STEM education through vital policy conversations to legislative leadership in the areas of computer science, STEM Learning ecosystems, state and federal policy for formal and informal education, and workforce needs, including the PAsmart state budget investment. This program is made possible through PSAYDN, with training support from the Education Policy and Leadership Center (EPLC) and STEM Education Coalition, and sponsorship from the Afterschool Alliance and The Overdeck Family Foundation.
According to the landmark America After 3PM study conducted for the Afterschool Alliance, more than half a million Pennsylvania children need – but do not have – afterschool programs, even as statewide demand for afterschool programs has increased.
“Data shows that too many Pennsylvania children who need afterschool programs don’t have them, as nearly 60% of Pennsylvania is a childcare desert, and families are carrying a heavier burden as a result,” Saccente said. “These are barriers we can and should overcome, and Afterschool Champions are critical for building support from all sectors – from the business and philanthropic communities, as well as from the government at all levels.”
Pennsylvania Statewide Afterschool/Youth Development Network (PSAYDN) promotes sustainable, high-quality out-of-school time youth development programs through advocacy and capacity building to enhance the welfare of Pennsylvania’s children, youth and families. PSAYDN believes all children and youth deserve access to programs that encourage positive youth development and support the successful transition to adulthood. PSAYDN is managed by the Center for Schools and Communities. More information is available at www.psaydn.org.
Aylissa Kiely, (717) 903-0219