July 7, 2023

2023 Lights On Afterschool Poster Contest Deadline Approaching

The 2023 Lights On Afterschool poster contest will close on Monday, July 10 and interested individuals must enter their submissions before the midnight deadline.

About the Lights On Afterschool Poster Contest

Sponsored by the Afterschool Alliance, the 2023 Lights On Afterschool poster contest is a great opportunity for an afterschool program to gain national recognition for the opportunities it offers.

With the winning submission printed on more than 50,000 posters, it will be seen at more than 8,000 Lights On Afterschool events around the world. Additionally, the winning artist will be featured on the Afterschool Alliance website and blog, as well as in a national press release, and their afterschool program receive a grand prize of $500.

Closing on July 10, voting will take place July 11-13 on the Afterschool Alliance Facebook and Instagram pages, where followers can vote on the top five submissions.

Rules and Guidelines

  • Submit any artwork that represents the spirit of afterschool programs.
  • Submit either new or existing artwork.
    • If your program has pre-made artwork celebrating afterschool, you can submit it.
    • The artwork does not have to be created specifically for the Lights On Afterschool Poster Contest, but it must represent afterschool.
  • Submit any of many kids of art (e.g. murals, paintings, graphics, etc.)
  • Be creative!
    • Think of the many ways your program has opened the doors to new opportunities for children.
    • Also, look for artwork that can represent how afterschool staff has been an inspiration to children.
  • Portray ideas in abstract or realistic renderings.
    • Additionally, encourage students to use bright, bold markers, or paint to bring life to their images.
  • Submit all physical artwork on 11 x 14 size paper.
  • For digital submissions, make sure the artwork is in PDF format and is no larger than a 2 MB file with a DPI of 350. For higher resolution photos, email and request a link to our file transfer account.


  • Use a specific program name within the submission.
  • If your artists do include the phrase Lights On Afterschool in their designs, make sure “afterschool” is written as one word, consistent with the national branding of the celebration.

Submit a Poster

To submit a poster, simply:

  1. Review the rules and guidelines to verify that you’re submission is eligible for contest entry.
  2. Complete the entry form.
  3. Either:

Mail your completed entry form and physical poster submission to:

Afterschool Alliance, Lights On Afterschool Poster Contest
1101 14th Street NW, Suite 700
Washington, D.C. 20005


Email your completed entry form and digital poster submission to:

Please note: Mailed submissions must be postmarked no later than Monday, July 10. Additionally, artwork sent via email must be in PDF format and no larger than 2 MB with a DPI of 350. For higher resolution photos, email and request a link to our file transfer account. 

Learn More

To learn more, visit the Afterschool Alliance website.


Information for this post was taken directly from the Afterschool Alliance website. Some text may have been added, paraphrased, or adapted for readability and comprehension.

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June 19, 2023

PSAYDN Accepting Applications for Afterschool Ambassadors Program

The Pennsylvania Statewide Afterschool Youth Development Network (PSAYDN) is now accepting applications for its 2023-24 Pennsylvania Afterschool Ambassadors Program.

The Pennsylvania Afterschool Ambassadors Program establishes a coalition of leaders who possess the necessary knowledge and experience to champion and advocate for high-quality, out-of-school time (OST) programs.

Applications are due by Friday, July 14.

About Afterschool Ambassadors

Afterschool Ambassadors are part of a larger cohort who will engage with policymakers regarding support for the OST field in Pennsylvania. As ambassadors, participants will establish relationships with policymakers and OST providers statewide, and increase access to regional, state, and national OST experts. Additionally, they will actively contribute to the advancement of the OST field across Pennsylvania, and support and promote OST initiatives.

Afterschool Ambassador Commitments

  • participate in a 10-month training opportunity
  • also participate in an in-person orientation in Harrisburg, PA on August 14-15, 2023
  • participate in the monthly trainings from September 2023 to May 2024
  • correspondingly share experience and knowledge with other Afterschool Ambassadors through presentations, discussions, and a capstone project
  • conduct independent study and research to expand on the issues and pain points revealed in the program
  • eventually participate in the 2023 Empower Conference and 2024 Afterschool Advocacy Day

Afterschool Ambassador Incentives

  • $250 participant stipend
  • $250 travel and lodging stipend (available for participants more than 50 miles from Harrisburg, PA)
  • parking reimbursement for August orientation
  • Act 48 credit for trainings
  • free registration to the 2023 Empower Conference


Interested individuals should apply using the online 2023-24 Pennsylvania Afterschool Ambassadors Program Application.

Applications are due by Friday, July 14.

Learn More

Applications will be reviewed by a selection committee to ensure a diverse cohort, and prospective ambassadors will be notified on or after July 19.

Those who are selected will be asked to sign a letter of agreement committing to fulfill the duties of an ambassador.

To learn more, visit the PSAYDN website.


January 18, 2023

Promoting Kindness in Afterschool Programs

Join the Temescal Associates, How Kids Learn Foundation, and EduCare Foundation for this interactive webinar. It will focus on strategies which promote kindness in afterschool programs, and feature a presentation by Stu Semigran.

Co-Founder and President of The EduCare Foundation, Semigran recently authored a book entitled, “Heartset Education: A Way of Living and Learning.” Following his presentation, registrants will have the opportunity to share their strategies and ask questions.

Session Details

Monday, January 23, 2023 | 1 – 3 p.m.
Virtual via Zoom
Cost: $12.24


September 5, 2022

Nominate an Afterschool Champion

Pennsylvania Statewide Afterschool Youth Development Network (PSAYDN) is accepting nominations for the 2022 Afterschool Champion Awards.

Learn More

Champions should demonstrate 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 winners will be recognized during the PSAYDN EMPOWER 2022 Out-of-School Time Conference on Thursday, December 1, 2022.

Submit a Nomination

Awards and their criteria are as follows:

  • Outstanding Policy and Advocacy Award: Setting actionable advocacy goals, strong policymaker relationships, and educating families and communities about quality afterschool.

  • Outstanding Quality Award: Structure and management, positive connections, safety and health, obesity, safety, activities, life skills, core activities.

  • Outstanding Sustainability Award: Developing intentional partnerships (i.e. business, higher ed., STEM), fundraising/resource development, professional development, policy and procedures-continuity of services.

  • Youth Award: Leadership within a program, mentorship abilities, consistent participation, champion for youth (e.g., resilience, strong peer relationships).

  • Policymaker Award: Familiarity with afterschool/OST/summer learning programs, support through funding, resource help, and community connections.

  • Organization Award: Demonstrate dedication and inspiration for the out-of-school time community and help children and youth succeed. Other criteria to be considered: policy and advocacy, sustainability, quality (structure and management, positive connections, safety and health [obesity, safety], activities [life skills, core activities]) as well as PSAYDN’s Statement of Quality in Afterschool and Vision Statement’s three goals.

Submit a nomination on the PSAYDN website. Nominations are due Monday, September 26, 2022.

More Information

Contact Alison Shughart or Steven Williams with any questions regarding the nominations.


July 17, 2020

Antiracist Dialogues for Action: Antiracist Out-of-School Time Programs

Are you interested in learning, sharing knowledge, and working together with fellow changemakers to dismantle racism and injustice? Join ELIE Circle on August 12 for “Antiracist Dialogues for Action: Antiracist Out-of-School Time Programs.”


On August 12, ELIE Circle will hold the second virtual meeting of the Antiracist Dialogues for Action – convenings for out-of-school time educators (e.g., afterschool staff, librarians, teaching artists, researchers) to learn, share knowledge, and work together to dismantle racism and injustice.

The dialogues consist of the following:

    • a 30-minute presentation providing context, research, and historical perspectives on main dialogue topics;
    • a 45-minute small group dialogue on a related subtopic for participants to a) share collective knowledge and b) work with other educators to determine goals and next steps; and
    • a 15-minute closing and larger group share out.

All dialogues are designed for educators which includes those that are working directly with young people in any capacity and those at out-of-school-time organizations without direct contact. These dialogues are categorized in two categories: Educators and Youth Work.


To register and learn more, visit the event webpage.


February 20, 2020

Helping Youth Deal with Grief and Trauma

Join the Highmark Caring Place on March 13 for their workshop exploring how to help children cope with grief and trauma.


This training provided by the Highmark Caring Place, A Center for Grieving Children, Adolescents and Their Families, will explore grief and loss for children with a focus on how traumatic events may impact a child’s ability to cope. Participants will begin to learn about activities that may support children in a variety of environments to help with healing. Following the presentation, participants are invited to take a brief tour of the Caring Place to learn more about the program.


To register, visit the Eventbrite page.

Parking is available free of cost in the Stanwix Riverfront Center Garage located at 625 Stanwix Street.

More Information

For more information, contact APOST at 412.456.6876.


October 23, 2019

Children’s Fund Working Group Presents Report to County Executive

In October 2019, the Allegheny County Children’s Fund Working Group formally presented County Executive Rich Fitzgerald with a report for his review and consideration. In it, the Group recommends the creation of a new county department dedicated to children, as well as an annual investment of up to $20 million to support high-quality learning and out-of-school-time programs.


Officially launched in May 2019, the Allegheny Children’s Fund initiative is a citizen-led effort that seeks to “change the way we fund the efforts that are proven to ensure the health and well-being of our kids across the county: early learning, after school programs, and good nutrition.” In November 2018, the Group successfully qualified a question for the General Election ballot, asking voters:

“Shall the Allegheny County Home Rule Charter be amended to establish the Allegheny County Children’s Fund, funded by Allegheny County levying and collecting an additional 0.25 mills, the equivalent of $25 on each $100,000 of assessed value, on all taxable real estate, beginning January 1, 2019 and thereafter, to be used to improve the well-being of children through the provision of services throughout the County including early childhood learning, after school programs, and nutritious meals?”

While the group exceeded their goal of collecting more than 40,000 petition signatures from community members and stakeholders, the effort fell short as 48.4% of voters answered “YES” on the ballot. A majority (>50%) “YES” vote was needed.

While the question did not receive a majority “YES” vote, community members and stakeholders still agreed that unmet needs remained. With this, County Executive Rich Fitzgerald announced that a 26-member working group had been convened to begin to look at the potential creation of a Children’s Fund to provide resources to early childhood learning and out-of-school-time programs across Allegheny County.

Allegheny County Children’s Fund Tasks

County Executive Fitgerald charged the working group with the following tasks:

    • review available data to assess the state of children and children’s programming in Allegheny County;
    • gather information from providers, parents, and experts across the county, especially regarding programming demand and supply gaps;
    • gather input from the larger community;
    • review state and federal policies and their impact on children’s programming in the county;
    • design the operations of a possible children’s fund;
    • provide concept budgets for operations within budgets of $5 million, $10 million, and $20 million annually;
    • provide sample allocation models and scenarios; and
    • report findings to the County Executive.

Overview of the Report

The working group found that there are significant gaps in equitable access and recommends that a focus on improving the quality of the system would provide significant benefit to the community. The report proposed a mission and vision for a Children’s Fund and identified four core principles: equity, access, quality, and accountability. With this, the group’s annual goal is to ensure that more children in Allegheny County can access high-quality programming. As a long-term goal, the group hopes for systemic improvements for children in Allegheny County.

“An investment of this level is a commitment that focuses on quality and equity for youth in our community,” said Trisha M. Gadson, Ph.D., Co-Chair of the Children’s Fund Working Group. “It can further support the economic viability of our region.”

During its six months of work, the group sought to engage as many voices as possible to receive input and feedback from the community. This process included six public meetings, two focus groups, an online survey (in English and Spanish), and a meeting-in-a-box kit to receive input from teens. In addition to its final report, the group issued a Public Engagement Summary as a companion piece, outlining input from the public on the creation of a Children’s Fund at the county level.

County Executive Fitzgerald thanked the group for their diligent attention, stating, “This issue is important to me and it is important to this community. Nothing could be more impactful to the residents of Allegheny County than investing in our children and their future. While I’ve just begun to dive into this report and its recommendations, it is clear that it calls for a systemic change to be dedicated to children’s success. I’m grateful to the leaders of our community who gave of their time and talents to provide us with a plan to consider and will be continuing this conversation with them as we consider what options make sense for our county moving forward.”

“The importance of the County Executive’s leadership is vital to the success of our children and our region,” said Michelle Figlar, Co-Chair of the Children’s Fund Working Group. “The addition of local leadership and revenue is essential to the success of early learning and out-of-school programs, and Allegheny County has the opportunity to lead in this effort.”

Read the Full Report

To read the full report, visit the Allegheny County website.

Next Steps

The work of the Allegheny County Children’s Fund Working Group is now complete. Follow what happens next with the Working Group’s recommendations at the County Executive’s website or by contacting your member of the Allegheny County Council.

More Information

For more information, visit the Children’s Fund website. Read the full release.

*Information provided by the Office of County Executive Rich Fitzgerald


June 14, 2019

Family Involvement Conference XLV

Join the Pennsylvania Coalition for Parent Involvement this October for the Family Involvement Conference.


The Family Involvement Conference is presented to you by the Pennsylvania Coalition for Parent Involvement Ltd. in collaboration with the National Association for Family, School, and Community Engagement (NAFSCE).

This conference is based upon the premise that active family involvement in the education process is the key to effective schools and student achievement. Its goal is to bring together, in a common forum, school administrators, teachers, community members, and parents, to interact and address issues that are vital to academic success and the well being of our children. This includes afterschool and out-of-school-time programs, special needs children and early childhood education.

Join with colleagues and parents to share ideas about how to make this partnership a reality in your school.

Registration Fees

Registration fees vary depending on selected type:

    • Individual Rate with Meals: $450 per person
    • Individual Rate without Meals: $220 per person
    • Group Rate with Meals (5+): $425 per person
    • Group Rate without Meals (5+): $180 per person
    • Day Attendees (with lunch): $135 per person, per day


Participants must register for this event, and forms may be submitted via mail, email, or fax.

To learn more about how to register, visit the Family Involvement Conference website.

Learn More

For questions, call 610.250.9455 or visit the Family Involvement Conference website.

Share this flyer with your network.


November 7, 2018

Children’s Fund Organizers Not Defeated by ‘No’ Vote

The Allegheny County Children’s Fund will not be enacted after falling short of receiving the majority of votes during yesterday’s election. The Our kids. Our commitment. Allegheny County Children’s Fund Initiative is thankful for the community’s support and willingness to engage in conversation throughout the campaign.

“Over the past six months, we had the opportunity to meet with thousands of community members, have conversations about proven programs for kids, and raise awareness about the challenges our community is facing. In our eyes, because of all of this, our campaign was still a success for our kids,” said Patrick Dowd, executive director, Allies for Children and steering committee member for the Our kids. Our commitment. Initiative. “Our work will not stop here. We know these services are needed for our kids, and we’ll continue working together to find a solution for Allegheny County.”

The initiative was led by local organizations who are invested in the wellbeing of Allegheny County’s kids: Allies for Children, Allegheny Partners for Out of School Time (APOST), Higher Achievement, the Human Services Center Corporation, The Mentoring Partnership, Pressley Ridge, PUMP, Trying Together, United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania, and the YWCA of Greater Pittsburgh, along with numerous community-based partners.

“We are so appreciative of our entire community’s willingness to engage in conversations about our kids. This is the biggest effort I have seen to provide dedicated funding for these programs and that is certainly something to be proud of,” said Colleen Fedor, executive director of The Mentoring Partnership and steering committee member for the Our kids. Our commitment. Initiative.

In the summer, the Our kids. Our commitment. Initiative collected nearly 64,000 signatures. Throughout the campaign, with help from volunteers and supporters, they knocked on more than 13,000 doors, called over 64,000 voters, hosted and attended more than 100 community events, and reached nearly 900,000 people on social media in an effort to educate voters and raise awareness about the question.

“Throughout this entire process, we have stayed focused on running a positive campaign focused on our kids,” said Dave Coplan, executive director, Human Services Center Corporation and steering committee member for the Our kids. Our commitment. Initiative. “We cannot thank our community enough for being open and willing to speak with us and have discussions about what works for kids. We are ending this campaign on a high note, but we’re certainly not finished. We have to continue working together to find the best solution for Allegheny County, so we can make sure our kids gain access to these programs.”

More information about the campaign can be found at

About Our kids. Our commitment.

The Our kids. Our commitment. Allegheny County Children’s Fund Initiative is an effort to change the way Allegheny County funds programs that are proven to ensure the wellbeing of our children across the county. For more information, visit


The Paulson Recreation Center Reopens in Lincoln-Lemington

The City of Pittsburgh announced that the Paulson Recreation Center in Lincoln-Lemington is reopening today, November 7, 2018, after undergoing three months of renovations.

While the center is reopened for all residents – including popular afterschool activities for area youth – further improvements will be made to the building through the rest of the year.

Improvements completed and underway include:
  • Complete new HVAC/heating & cooling system
  • Two new roofs–flat roof portion of building and pitched roof portion of building
  • Repointing and restoring of the block side of the building: painting and waterproofing
  • Addition of new windows to main teaching room of building
  • New ventilation system added to kitchen
  • Interior repainting
  • New concrete steps and entryway
  • New doors coming in late December and new Rec Center sign coming soon
  • Gym floor stripped, scrubbed and refurbished

The budget for the work was  $432,986.90.

Interested in Visiting?

The Paulson Rec Center is located at 1201 Paulson Avenue and is open 12-8 p.m., Monday through Friday. The center can be reached by telephone at 412.665.3627.

*Information Provided by The City of Pittsburgh‘s November 7, 2018 Press Release*