The Synergy Conference 2021 will convene virtually April 27th, 2021 to April 30th, 2021.
This year's conference is themed: 
The conference timeline can be viewed here. Please note that the Tuesday, April 27th and Wednesday, April 28th portion of the conference will consist of the 21st Century Community Learning Center Statewide Meetings only. For those registered attendees that are not 21st CCLC programs, the first live plenary of the Synergy Conference will begin at 10:00 am on Thursday, April 29th. It is our hope that you will join us virtually utilizing the platform, iCohere. 
Black History Month, or National African American History Month, is an annual celebration of achievements by African-Americans, and a time to recognize the central role of African Americans in American History. As afterschool providers continue to rise to the moment to provide a more equitable and inclusive space for youth, it is vital to take time to celebrate and recognize February as Black History Month. In honor of Black History Month, the NC CAP team has compiled a list of resources for incorporating Black History into your programming.

From supporting social, emotional, and academic development to providing a safe and supportive environment, Afterschool Programs have been a vital resource for students and their parents, especially during COVID-19. North Carolina is ranked among the top 10 states in afterschool programs and number 1 for parent satisfaction. To discuss the North Carolina After 3 PM report and the work that still needs to be done, the show invites national and statewide leaders, a parent, and a director from a local program to join the conversation.

Jen Rinehart, Senior Vice President of Research and Policy, Afterschool Alliance
Sheronda Fleming, Ph.D., Director, NC Center for Afterschool Programs
Carolyn Ross-Holmes, Program Director, J316 Camp Connect Program
Tracy Thorpe, Parent, J316 Camp Connect Program
To learn more about the America After 3 PM Report, click here.
To learn more about North Carolina After 3 PM, click here.
As NC CAP continues to develop high-quality STEM content, it is vital to discover and map STEM assets throughout the state that youth, families, programs, schools, and communities can leverage. The STEM Asset Mapping Database will serve as a connector for individuals and entities engaged in STEM statewide. Specifically, this project will identify and map both county and statewide resources that can be leveraged to engage youth in STEM. In order to achieve this, NC CAP is collecting information on local STEM assets across North Carolina. If you would like to showcase a STEM asset in your community, please complete this form.

For questions about the STEM Asset Mapping Database, please contact Diana Paredes at
The North Carolina Center for Afterschool Programs is launching a Service-Learning Community of Practice in partnership with the National Youth Leadership Council. The objectives of the Service-Learning Community of Practice include: 

  • Participants will learn from CoP facilitators and each other through shared resources, best practices, successes and challenges, with a focus on service-learning in a virtual and in-person context.
  • Participants will conduct a needs assessment that assists in the design and implementation of a service-learning project that addresses an identified need within their community. 

This specialized CoP is open to afterschool and summer programs statewide that are currently engaging or want to learn how to engage youth in Service-Learning efforts. Programs that apply and are accepted into the Service-Learning Community of Practice will engage in bi-weekly virtual sessions focused on a range of Service-Learning topics. Examples of session topics include: 

  • What is Service-Learning?
  • Community Service versus Service-Learning: Similarities and Differences
  • Service-Learning in a Virtual Context
  • Using the ENGAGE Handbooks to Implement a Service-Learning Effort in your Afterschool or Summer Program
  • What Needs exist in my Community?
  • The Power of Youth Voice and Choice in Service-Learning 

Additionally, CoP participants will design a Service-Learning Project based on a needs assessment of their community. After participants have successfully implemented their Service-Learning Project, they will receive a $100 stipend. All service-learning projects must be implemented by August 2020. 

Applications for the Service-Learning Community of Practice can be submitted here. The deadline for applications is March 1st. Space is limited. Accepted programs will be notified by March 15. The introductory CoP meeting will be scheduled for the week of March 29. Recurring bi-weekly meetings will be scheduled for dates between May and August of 2020.
NC CAP has two opportunities for youth to serve on panels.
To learn more about each opportunity, please read the information below.

Opportunity One:
For this year's Synergy Conference, NC CAP endeavors to amplify the voices of youth to discuss the value of out-of-school time programs in North Carolina, especially during a global pandemic. Youth panelists will discuss their experiences in afterschool, before school, and summer programs amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Panelists should be active or recently graduated participants of out-of-school time programs from across the state. Selected youth will be awarded a gift card for their contribution to the Synergy Conference 2021. For questions, please contact Sheneika Simmons at

Opportunity Two:
The Dudley Flood Center for Educational Equity and Opportunity is seeking youth to participate in the upcoming Diversity in STEM webinar. In this session, students will engage in a critical conversation on the importance of STEM engagement with an equity lens and discussing ways to breach the critical barriers that exist in K-12 STEM education. Youth panelists should be enrolled or recently enrolled in STEM courses in school. For questions, please contact Ashley Kazouh at

Ideal panelists for both of these opportunities are between the ages of five and twenty years old.
NC CAP is proud to showcase the STEM Lesson: Milk Makes Me Sick. This lesson is designed for grades 6 through 12 but can be utilized with younger children with additional scaffolding and adult assistance.

The Milk Makes Me Sick lesson examines the chemical reaction the body has when someone is lactose intolerant. Students will review core knowledge about chemical reactions, specifically the enzyme of lactase. Then, students will engage in a hands-on lab to view the impact of the chemical reaction and explain why some people are lactose intolerant. 

Each lesson contains video guidance to assist program providers and educators. Each video will encompass an overview of the lesson and address potential misunderstandings with the lesson for adults and students. NC CAP STEM lessons can be completed at home with adult assistance. All materials for the lessons are budget-friendly and can be purchased online or at local grocery stores. Lesson components are available in English and Spanish.

To access the STEM lessons, click here. To view the Milk Makes Me Sick lesson, click here.   

Please subscribe to the NC CAP Youtube Channel for more videos and resources!
The NC Center for Afterschool Programs is accepting nominations for the 2021 Afterschool Champions. Nominees should demonstrate outstanding work in developing, supporting, and promoting high-quality afterschool and out-of-school time programs to benefit youth and families statewide.

Afterschool Champion Award categories are below, followed by the nomination form. The deadline to submit nominations is March 21st. Selected award recipients will be recognized during the virtual award ceremony at the Synergy Conference 2021 on April 29th.

This award spotlights an individual, program, or organization whose life or mission has demonstrated outstanding work in developing, supporting, and promoting high-quality afterschool and out-of-school time programs to benefit youth and families. Nominees should have more than ten (10) years of experience.

This award spotlights an individual, program, or organization whose life or mission has demonstrated considerable work in developing, supporting, and promoting high-quality afterschool and out-of-school time programs to benefit youth and families. Nominees should have between three (3) and ten (10) years of experience.

A letter of recommendation or support should accompany every nomination.
**Note: For a program nomination, a letter of support must be from a youth program participant or parent.
In the past, it wasn't uncommon for those who couldn't attend a meeting in-person to be given quick notes or a verbal overview after the fact. In retrospect after having adapted to hold meetings virtually over a long period of time during the pandemic, it's clear there haven't been consistent ways to fully support those unable to attend meetings in-person. A recent informal Science article, authored by Perrin Chick, Sue Allen, Ph.D., and Kate Cook, Ed.D. of the Main Mathematics and Science Alliance, addresses strategies to hold meetings that include both face to face and virtual participants -- minimizing anyone feeling left behind and supporting a more equitable workplace. The authors shared three types of situations that call for a blended model of engagement and examples of each situation, offering several simple strategies to keep the meeting or workshop engaging, inclusive, and accessible to all participants.

An in-person event with one or few remote participants
The article cites the example of the months of planning that went into the National Science Foundation Advisory meeting for the ACRES project. "Hotel rooms were booked, meals ordered, and a full and varied agenda was crafted. A few days before the meeting, one advisor broke her ankle and announced that she could not attend. The team pivoted immediately and revised our meeting to become a blended experience, with the advisor able to meaningfully engage in all of the large and small group aspects of the meeting." the authors wrote. Six strategies were offered for this point, including carrying a dedicated laptop or tablet to different locations during breakout groups, allowing the remote person to take part in all discussions, particularly if the device can be placed at eye level with in-person participants.

Meetings where many or most people are offsite
"Whether there are two or twenty-five people working offsite, our MMSA staff meetings look and feel basically the same. Remote colleagues are engaged in the agenda because they are collaborating and sharing resources and feedback, having side conversations via chat, and making eye contact with the people speaking. This happens because as soon as one person is remote, all of the staff will join a Zoom meeting and continue along as if everyone is remote," the authors wrote. The article shared seven helpful strategies for accomplishing this type of meeting successfully, including encouraging participants to rename themselves with their first names and gender identities (i.e. Perrin, she/her) to allow others to easily and respectfully refer to them and their comments during the conversation.

Large events involving groups of people at remote satellite sites
This scenario uses an example from when the Maine Curriculum Leaders Association approached MMSA in the fall of 2018 with a conundrum. "A large event was scheduled to occur in Portland, Maine, and there were educators in other parts of the state who wanted to attend but distance prevented this from being economical and practical. The in-person event was reimagined to include two remote sites. Over the course of the six-hour professional development session, there were presentations on content, opportunities to do small group work, and networking over lunch and hands-on activities," the authors wrote. Sending materials well ahead of time, planning breaks and meals to occur at similar times, and changing your video background to something with your company's logo to help participants identify you at a glance were among the seven strategies shared for this type of meeting.

To read the article, click here.
When the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations (CRRSA) Act passed Congress and was signed into law in late December, the clock started ticking on a number of potential funding opportunities that can be used at the state and local level to support afterschool and summer learning opportunities for students. The education sections of the CRRSA, in particular, are forced on supporting students: since afterschool and summer programs are key to students' recovery this spring, summer, and fall, there are multiple points of entry into the funding opportunities in the law. Specifically, afterschool programs are well-positioned to make the case that they provide the following types of supports that are called out in the law:

  • Learning Loss and Recovery - Academic support, as well as whole-child and overall well-being supports that supplement in-classroom or virtual learning can be provided through afterschool and summer learning programs.
  • Social and Emotional Support - Afterschool and summer learning programs, as well as community learning hubs operating during virtual school days, can provide social and emotional learning and support to students
  • Addressing Inequity - Providing additional enrichment, engagement, and support through out-of-school time programs can help address disparities

To learn more about CRRSA Funding, click here.

Excerpt from:
The STEM Academy of North Carolina is a fast-growing organization that works to pair volunteer mentors of high school, college, and post-graduate age with mentees of elementary, middle, and high school in a virtual mentorship regarding anything STEM-related. Founded in 2020, STEM Academy of North Carolina has over 215 mentors, over 400 mentees, and virtual mentorship efforts in 15+ schools and programs around the state of North Carolina. They are actively seeking organizations to partner and mentors and mentees interested in providing or receiving mentorship. STEM Academy of NC is continually working to develop a safe and innovative virtual environment in which mentors and mentees not only engage in mentorship (Science Olympiad, Science Fair, STEM coursework, PBL projects, and much more), but also receive extensive programming, enrichment, and networking opportunities.

To learn more about the STEM Academy of North Carolina, discuss a potential partnership, or to enroll your students as mentors or mentees, please send an email to, or

To learn more about this opportunity, click here.
The North Carolina Center for Afterschool Programs (NC CAP) is excited to announce a partnership with Afterschool Coaching for Reflective Educators in STEM (ACRES). Over 400 educators from across the country have participated in their workshops. The ACRES Project brings together educators in live and interactive virtual workshops. They create small communities of reflection, so participants have a safe and brave space to learn new skills. ACRES offers participants contact hours, certificates of attendance, and many ready-to-use resources. North Carolina out-of-school time educators that participate can earn a $100 stipend!

Ready, Set, STEM & Asking Purposeful Questions
Are you ready to bring meaningful STEM learning into your program? This module offers educators who are NEW to facilitating STEM, the opportunity to build supportive relationships with other educators while exploring the principles of STEM learning. This module combines an introduction to STEM facilitation with the skill of Asking Purposeful Questions. Please note that the expectation is that attendees will be present at all three sessions and an active member of this coaching cohort.
$100 stipends are available upon the completion of the professional development.

The upcoming sessions for the Ready, Set, STEM & Asking Purposeful Questions are
March 2nd, 16th, and 30th, 2021 from 12 pm to 2 pm.
When registering use the code: NC03PQ to join the North Carolina cohort.
National Youth Leadership Council is offering a professional development opportunity, "Teaching for Action: Human Rights and Civic Engagement in our Global Community," on February 10th, 2021, at 5 pm CST. This opportunity is a part of a professional development series that will occur from February 10th, 2021, to March 17th, 2021. This series costs $50 to attend all six of the workshops. If you are ready to do a deep dive into current human rights issues in the world, discovering tools to analyze human rights issues in your community, and engaging your students to address them, this opportunity is for you. From an introduction to human rights and children's rights to specific human rights challenges such as racial discrimination, this virtual series will offer educators a foundation in human rights education and youth civic action.

To learn more about this opportunity, click here.
Mizzen by Mott is an app that helps afterschool programs support kids - wherever they are. Get hands-on activities that foster well-being and learning in arts, STEM, storytelling, music, yoga, and youth voice.

Afterschool programs around the country are hard at work, doing all they can to support youth and families during this difficult time. As resources to these efforts, state networks have been looking for vetted, high-quality learning content that afterschool programs can use to support young people - wherever they are.

The Mizzen by Mott app can help. Developed with and for afterschool professionals, Mizzen offers engaging content from organizations like Jazz at Lincoln Center, California Academy of Sciences, After-School All-Stars, VentureLab, and others. The app also includes Pro Tips, scheduling, and communication tools to support programs.

To make Mizzen more useful at the moment, the app team has consulted with state networks and added new sets of activity playlists and multi-week modules that can work well in small groups or home settings. The enhanced content focuses on students' well-being, SEL, and engagement in STEM arts, literacy, entrepreneurship, and youth voice. With support from the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, the app and all of its content are free to afterschool providers.

Download the app today from your preferred app store.
To view Mizzen's Greatest Hits of 2020, click here.
FEMA created the Youth Preparedness Council (YPC) in 2012 to bring together young leaders who are interested in supporting disaster preparedness and making a difference in their communities by completing disaster preparedness projects nationally and locally. The YPC supports FEMA's commitment to involve America's youth in preparedness-related activities. Additionally, it provides FEMA the opportunity to engage young people and share their perspectives, feedback, and opinions.
YPC members meet with FEMA staff throughout their term to provide input on strategies, initiatives, and projects. Meet the council and learn more about each of the members here. Applications close March 7th, 2021.

To learn more about the YPC, click here.

The 13th annual "Doodle 4 Google" contest invites youth to tell the world how they are strong. Strength is not only about how fast you can run or how many pushups you can do -- it is also about the strength inside of you. How do you rise above troubles and keep moving forward in tough times? When you make mistakes or get scared, what helps you clear the clouds above your head? When people around you are feeling down, how do you use your inner strength to lift them up? Google's theme this year invites youth to tell the world what makes them uniquely strong.

Fifty-four students will be named winners from their state/territory and will receive Google hardware, Google swag, and a celebratory message from Google. Four national finalists will receive a $5,000 college scholarship, Google hardware, and Google swag. One national winner will receive a $30,000 college scholarship, a $50,000 technology package for their school/non-profit organization, Google hardware, and Google swag. The competition closes on February 26th, 2021.

To learn more about the Doodle 4 Google contest, click here.
The Afterschool Advantage (ASA) program is IGT's flagship community initiative, devoted to providing young people with access to technology in a safe, nurturing afterschool environment while promoting opportunities in digital learning centers in communities where IGT operates. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis.

The Coca-Cola Foundation provides grants to a wide variety of 501(c)(3) organizations that focus on children, education, and/or health. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis.

Imagination Playground is an innovative design in play equipment that encourages creativity, communication, and collaboration in play. With a collection of custom-designed, oversized blue foam parts, Imagination Playground provides a changing array of elements that allow children to turn their playground into a space constantly built and re-built by their imagination. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis.

The Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation seeks to dramatically improve the lives of people and the world around us through innovative strategies, systems changing approaches, and disrupting technologies. Their goal is to find social entrepreneurs with dynamic ideas and nurture them at the early stages with maximum leverage and total commitment. Draper Richards Kaplan aims to find exceptional entrepreneurs, provide them with three years of unrestricted capital, provide rigorous
on-going support, and help build organizational capacity. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis.

As part of its education outreach mission, SPIE provides support for optics and photonics related education outreach activities. The award process is competitive; the grant maximum is $5,000 and some proposals may receive partial funding. Applicants must have a current SPIE Membership. Applications are due on February 28th, 2021.

The Student STEM Enrichment Program (SSEP) supports diverse programs with a common goal: to enable primary and secondary students to participate in creative. hands-on STEM activities for K-12 students and pursue inquiry-based exploration in Burrough's Wellcome Fund home state of North Carolina. Applications are due on April 15th, 2021.

Vernier Software and Technology is committed to helping educators, from any subject area, develop the next generation of engineers and scientists. This $5,500 award will be presented to one educator that is innovatively using Vernier products to introduce engineering concepts or practices to students. Applications are due on February 15th, 2021.
North Carolina Center for Afterschool Programs |