JULY 2020
Registration is now open for the virtual Synergy Conference 2020! We hope you will join us July 28-31, 2020 as we convene virtually utilizing the iCohere Platform.   Please note that the Tuesday 
(July 28th) and Wednesday (July 29th) portion of the conference will consist of the 21st Century Community Learning Center Statewide TA Meetings only.  For those registered attendees that are not a part of a 21st CCLC program, the first live plenary of the Synergy Conference will begin at 
10:00 am on Thursday, July 30th. 

Synergy Conference 2020 Promo Video

The registration fee for the virtual Synergy Conference 2020 is $50 per person. You can register for the virtual conference  here. The deadline to register is July 24th, 2020.

July 28th & July 29th, 2020

*Note: All of the aforementioned individuals, with the exception of Dr. B. Hutchins and K. Mooney, are a part of the NC Department of Public Instruction Federal Program Monitoring and Support Division. 

Thursday, July 30th, 2020 at 10:00 am

July 30th, 2020 at 12:00 pm

July 30th, 2020 at 2:00 pm

July 31st, 2020 at 12:00 pm
July 30th, 2020 at 2:00 pm

In addition to our live plenaries, this year's conference includes over 50 workshops with a range of topics in each of our workshop strands. To see a list of some of the workshop sessions, please click here

Workshops on creating opportunities for self-expression through the arts in a creative and constructive manner, leveraging the creative, academic and developmental benefits of arts education; supporting grade-level reading in expanded learning programs, infusing literacy into all areas of programs; and literacy-specific activities to support English-language learners. 
Workshops on effective practices associated with improving academic performance, school attendance, and decreasing misconduct and limiting behaviors among minority youth and students with a low-socioeconomic status in afterschool and extended learning programs. 
Workshops on affording youth with early exposure to college standards and employable skills; identifying connections between current interests and future aspirations for youth; leveraging partnerships with local colleges, universities, businesses and military branches for college and career exposure; and involving families in post-secondary planning. 
Workshops on research-informed and practitioner-approved best practices for creating and sustaining impactful mentoring relationships, strong program services, and responsiveness to the racial and cultural dynamics of its clients, stakeholders, and the community at large. 
Workshops on fundraising, grant writing and stewardship of donors and funds; social media outreach; recruitment, retention, supervision, evaluation, development and coaching of staff and volunteers; afterschool advocacy through engagement of elected officials and policymakers; and leveraging parent and family engagement. 
Workshops on developing and sustaining school-community partnerships; cultivating cross-sector collaboration with the health, education, and juvenile justice sectors; recruiting local businesses and corporate partners; rural and urban program models; engaging the faith-based community; higher education organizations or clubs; and working with local foundations and organizations. 
Workshops on aligning with the school day and incorporating standards into program activities; engaging youth in real world application of STEM concepts and processes; successful local, state, and national models; strategies for implementing inquiry-based learning and project-based learning; and leveraging partnerships to expand content. 
Workshops on healthy out-of-school time programming; nurturing youth social emotional and cognitive development; implementing inclusive programs that welcome all youth; civic engagement, trauma-informed practices for working with youth and adults; and equipping youth with tools for advocacy and social change.

During the Synergy Conference, attendees will be able to engage in networking opportunities with other attendees, workshop presenters, and vendors. There will also be opportunities to participate in contests for door prizes on the NC CAP Twitter (@ncafterschool) using the #Synergy2020, within the Networking Lounge, and the Live Plenaries.  If you register by July 15th, 2020, you will be entered into a drawing to win a FREE registration for next year's conference and a Synergy Conference 2020 T-Shirt. 

We look forward to seeing you in July online at the Virtual Synergy Conference 2020! 
As providers in North Carolina and across the nation have responded to the COVID-19 pandemic, the NC CAP team has observed program providers step up and find innovative ways to support youth, families, and communities. As time progresses, there have been ongoing concerns about engaging youth during an atypical summer and NC CAP is here to assist in navigating these uncharted territories. 

To support the hard work of providers statewide, NC CAP and the 50 Statewide Afterschool Networks, under the leadership of the Georgia Statewide Afterschool Network, has developed a suite of fun and engaging activities and challenges designed for the summer amid COVID-19. Over the course of the summer, there will be units released bi-weekly. 

Within the Summer Activity Guides, providers can expect 150 activities and challenges that are: 
  • organized by age groups (5-9; 10-12; 13-15; and 16-18)
  • adaptable for in-person and virtual instruction
  • designed to build skills and social-emotional learning 
This resource also includes supplemental materials for professional development and enhancing family engagement. 

Three Units of the Summer Activity Guide have been released:
  • Unit One: Who I Am
  • Unit Two: Healthy Life
  • Unit Three: Passion & Purpose.
For more information and to access the available Summer Activity Guides and additional strategies for Summer Learning, please visit NC CAP's Summer Learning page. 
As champions for children, program providers are doing everything they can during this time to keep youth safe and continue to serve them. NC CAP wants to continue to support providers during this time. In every way, providers throughout North Carolina and the nation have risen to the challenge in every way. 

In support of your efforts, NC CAP has a new resources to share, Mizzen by Mott.  Mizzen by Mott is a new app built with and for afterschool professionals to provide high-quality, engaging learning content to the afterschool field. 

To meet the needs of this moment, the Mizzen team has added new activity playlists and multi-week modules that can be done at home or in a small-group setting. The app's content focuses on youth learning and well-being and is provided by organizations like Jazz at Lincoln Center, the California Academy of Sciences, After-School All Starts, OregonAsk, and VentureLab. Through support from the Mott Foundation, the app and all of its content is available for free to afterschool providers. 

 To learn more about the Mizzen app, click here
A new report released by Save the Children provides the first-ever ranking of counties in the United States where children are most and least prioritized. The report, aptly entitled, " The Land of Inopportunity: Closing the Childhood Equity Gap for America's Kids " shows that where a child grows up can have a profound impact on their long-term health and success; especially clear are the racial, geographical, and economic divides that define these disparities . Of the bottom ranking counties, more than 90 percent are rural communities and three-quarters contain non-white majority populations. Based on data surrounding the availability of afterschool in different areas of the country, it can be corroborated that the need for programs is high in areas of concentrated poverty and even greater in rural-areas for every child in an afterschool program in a rural area, three are waiting to get in, compared with the national average of two that are waiting to get in for every one child enrolled. 

The rankings in "The Land of Inopportunity" are based on four factors that cut childhood short: 
(1) hunger; (2) dropping out of school; (3) teenage pregnancy; and (4) early death due to poor health, accident, murder, or suicide. 

The report points out the importance of looking at data from multiple levels. By breaking out each of these factors using specific indicators and analyzing the data at both a state and local level, Save the Children illustrates the ways that looking only at state-level data, for example, may hide disparities and leave areas of concentrated need undetected. To support further analysis, they have created an interactive map that ranks each state and each county, based on their performance in each of the four factors cited above, and allows for a deeper look into the specific breakdown of the measures in each county. 

 To learn more about the The Land of Inopportunity: Closing the Childhood Equity Gap for America's Kids, visit  here

The North Carolina Science Fair Foundation, a proud sponsor of the NC Science and Engineering Fair, is excited to announce that they are taking their summer teacher workshops online!

If you are interested in scientific inquiry, the engineer design process, or the Science and Engineering Fair, the virtual teacher workshops are perfect for you! The workshops are designed to support teachers that are interested in supporting students in exploring their interest in scientific research and engineering design process. 

All workshops are free and hosted via the Zoom platform. Attendees will be able to access the workshops from anywhere in North Carolina! Participants that attend all six of the workshops and submit the corresponding work will be awarded a certificate for 1 CEU credit. 

Workshop Dates
July 7th, 2020
July 14th, 2020
July 21st, 2020

For more information about the summer teacher workshops, please click here
With the increasing toll that the COVID-19 pandemic is taking on communities and families across the country, attention has turned to the impact the crisis has been having on the mental health of youth. Primary concerns among school health professionals, mental health practitioners, and public health experts is the current impact and potential for significant future impact, resulting from children and youth experiencing prolonged stress. 

What is toxic stress?

Stress, in itself, is not entirely negative. In tolerable amounts, it can actually be growth-promoting. Stress becomes harmful when the dosage is more intense or is prolonged to the extent that it overwhelms the body's stress response system. This type of stress is called toxic stress, because it can impair the brain's growth and development, and can weaken other critical systems in the body, leading to problems within learning, behavior, and health in both the short term and throughout one's lifespan. While toxic stress may not always be avoidable, such as in cases of natural disasters or long-term public health crises, there are ways that stress can be buffered and the harmful and long-term effects can be mitigated. Research has shown that positive relationships with peers and stable, caring adults; predictable routines that emphasize healthy behaviors; and, social and emotional skill development can not only buffer and mitigate the impacts of toxic stress, they can increase the natural resilience of children and youth , leading to positive growth following traumatic experiences, as well as increased capacity to withstand future adversity. 

Afterschool Promotes Mental Wellness

Afterschool, rooted in a tradition of positive youth development, has evolved in ways that support social-emotional learning and whole-child development. And, as such programs in and of themselves are buffers for toxic stress. For example, in addition to providing nutritious snacks and meals, and opportunities for physical activity, programs are now incorporating health education that supports the development of a wide range of healthy behaviors and routines, including avoiding drug and alcohol use, getting adequate sleep, and staying safe on the internet.

Increasingly, programs are implementing evidence-based models that promote the development of social-emotional skills, as well as incorporating concepts of trauma-informed care, and whole-child development. And the most core component of any afterschool program is, and has always been, an explicit focus on creating a safe environment by fostering the development of positive peer relationships and providing the support of stable, caring adult program staff and activity leaders. 

The Five Ways Afterschool Buffers Toxic Stress
  1. Supportive adult and peer relationships;
  2. Social-emotional learning;
  3. Safety and belonging;
  4. Youth voice and choice; and
  5. Promoting physical health. 
To learn more about the how afterschool to buffers toxic stress, please click here
Excerpt from: 
For 35 years, the National Youth Leadership Council has transformed classrooms, empowered educators, and captivated students by leading the way in providing high-quality, dynamic service learning content to school districts, classrooms, afterschool programs, and everything in-between. Their programs and services develop young leaders, support educators and advance the field of service learning. 

NYLC, with support from the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, developed a series of Engage handbooks designed for youth in elementary, middle, and high school. The handbooks assist providers in bringing service learning to afterschool programs in 15 one-hour sessions. The books begin with an overview of the practice, then engage youth in experiential sessions that highlight youth voice and leadership. Each session begins with an energizer activity tied to the content of the session, and ends with a reflection, that is often in the form of an "exit ticket". By the end of the experience, young people will have acted on issues of importance to them through a deliberative inquiry-based process. 

Learn more about the NYLC En gage Service Learning Curriculum, click here

Check out NC CAP's Service Learning page for more service learning strategies and opportunities!
Since the COVID-19 pandemic, summer learning has been changed forever. However, the need to support parents in maintaining their children's learning throughout the summer is not changing. 

Over the summer, students can lose academic gains made during the school year and research shows that summer learning losses can accumulate each year, influencing proficiency in subjects such as reading and math and graduation rates. More than 80 percent of children from economically disadvantaged families lose reading skills over the summer. As a result of COVID-19, this loss may be exacerbated for children with fewer resources such as those without access to computers or the internet. 

The North Carolina Early Childhood Foundation's 2020 Summer Learning Toolkit, while not specifically adapted for COVID-19, provides a variety of ways to engage parents and youth remotely such as through social media, texts. and newsletters. The NC Early Childhood Foundation 2020 Summer Learning Toolkit was created two years ago with input and advice from parents about information and tips to support their efforts to ensure their children keep learning throughout the summer. 

To access the Summer Learning Toolkit, click here
During this year's virtual Synergy Conference, participants will have the opportunity to engage in the Science Take-Out, "An Unhealthy Home, STEM kit. In this kit, participants will follow the case of a family that is suffering from persistent fatigue, respiratory problems, headaches, and mild nausea that began when they moved to an older home. Participants will perform and analyze simulated strep tests, blood test, lead tests, and mold tests to determine possible causes of the families symptoms. 

This session is pre-recorded. Participants will be able to watch at their own leisure. In order to receive a kit, participants will need to complete this form. Kits will be mailed out weekly until July 24th, 2020. 

The "An Unhealthy Home" STEM kit was created as a part of a grant Science Take-Out received from the National Institute of Health (NIH). Therefore, all demographic information submitted within the form will be shared with Science Take-Out and the National Institute of Health (NIH). Addresses will not be shared. If you have any questions, please reach out to Sheneika Simmons at with the subject line, " Science Take-Out Workshop". 

To learn more about "An Unhealthy Home" STEM kit, please click here 

To see more Science Take-Out and other STEM kits, visit the Science Take-Out website
National Summer Learning Week is a celebration dedicated to elevating the importance of keeping kids learning, safe, and healthy every summer, ensuring they return to school in the fall ready to succeed in the year. Led by the National Summer Learning Association (NSLA), the event has transitioned from a national advocacy day to a week-long celebration. This year, NSLA is bringing back themes that highlights activities such as Literacy, STEM, Arts, College & Career Readiness, and Nutrition & Wellness. 

Engagement resources for National Summer Learning Week are provided by NSLA for families, students, programs, communities, and elected officials can be found on their website. Your participation sends a powerful message across the nation that summer learning matters and offers an opportunity to showcase how summers can make a difference in the lives of young people throughout North Carolina. 

To learn more information about the National Summer Learning Week and to access resources, click here
The National Afterschool Association has designed a comprehensive catalog filled with special offers, discounts, and FREE resources from NAA advocate members and partners!

Inside the catalog, members can find resources organized by the following categories:
  • Active Play/Hands-On Learning
  • Social-Emotional Learning
  • Physical Activity/Nutrition
  • Literacy
  • Online Learning
  • Professional Development
  • Data Collection/Registration
  • Program Administration
  • STEM/4 C's
To learn more information about the Afterschool Products and Services Catalog, click here
The North Carolina Center for Afterschool Programs 
(NC CAP) is embarking on exciting new work to expand the amount of STEM opportunities in afterschool programs. High quality afterschool programs have shown to increase student academic performance, behavioral improvements and have been a factor in supporting regular school attendance. To increase these types of opportunities for children and youth throughout the state, it is necessary to develop partnerships and identify resource gaps. The STEM Afterschool Expansion VISTA will increase access to high-quality afterschool programs focusing on STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) fields for youth statewide, particularly those that are growing up in poverty, and establish a community support system that links established afterschool programs with potential partners and STEM resources. This position is based in Raleigh, NC.  
NC CAP wants to highlight your program!
The North Carolina Center for Afterschool Programs would like to highlight program successes statewide. Tell us about your program and you might be our Program Spotlight in the next edition of the Afterschool Observer or on Social Media. Click the Program Spotlight below to be redirected to the updated survey link to tell us about your program. 

The After School Advantage Program is a signature education program and flagship community involvement initiative. The program is devoted to providing young people with access to technology in a safe, nurturing afterschool environment, whole promoting opportunities in digital learning centers in varying communities. Applications are accepted on rolling basis.

The American Honda Foundation engages in grant making that reflects the basic tenets, beliefs, and philosophies of Honda companies, which are characterized by the following qualities: imaginative, creative, youthful, forward-thinking, scientific, humanistic, and innovative. They support youth education with a specific focus on STEM subject areas, in addition to the environment. Funding priority is youth education, specifically in the areas of science, technology, engineering, mathematics, the environment, job training, and literacy.  Applications are accepted three times a year. New applicants should apply by August 1st, 2020.

The goals of these grants are to: empower youth by providing hands-on environmental stewardship opportunities; inspire youth and communities to become agents of change for their environment; serve as a catalyst for education that uses the environment as a context for applied and STEM learning. The application deadline is July 15th, 2020.

The Cornell Douglas Foundation offers small grants to non-profit organizations that work to advocate for environmental health and justice, promote stewardship, and encourage respect for sustainability. With grant amounts averaging $10,000, the Foundation supports programs in environmental health, sustainability, and education for elementary and high school students. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis.

The Costco Charitable Contributions Committee oversees charitable donations to nonprofit organizations focusing on supporting children, education, and health and human services. Award amounts vary, and previous grants have gone to organizations such as United Way, Children's Miracle Network Hospitals, and the Red Cross. Grant-giving focuses on communities in the markets where Costco does business. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis.

Schools, public libraries, and nonprofit organizations who help students who are below grade level or having trouble reading are eligible to apply. Grant funding is provided to assist in the following areas: (1) implementing new or expanding existing literacy programs, (2) purchasing new technology or equipment to support literacy initiatives, and (3) purchasing books, materials, or software for literacy programs.

Good Sports creates opportunities in sports and physical activity for kids through donations of brand new sports equipment, apparel, and footwear. Good Sports are looking for organizations that operates an organized sport, recreational activity, or fitness program that offers consistent and structured opportunity play for large groups of children, ages 3 to 18 years old. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis. 

The Kars4Kids Small Grant Program is dedicated to supporting educational initiatives and youth development programs in the country. Kars4Kids provides year-round educational and mentoring opportunities and support to develop youth into productive and engaged members of society.  Areas of interest include youth development, mentoring, and education. Grants range from $500 to $2000. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis.

The National Endowment For the Arts envisions a nation where every student is engaged and empowered through an excellent arts education. Projects through the Arts Education Fund are designed for Pre-K through 12th grade students via direct learning, the educators and artists via professional development, and the schools and communities that support students (collective impact). Funded projects will utilize and test innovative strategies, or scale up proven methodologies, for increasing access to arts education for students. Applications are due July 9th, 2020. 

The Public Welfare Foundation offers grants to groups that work to advance fair, effective, community-based justice for all youth across the country, particularly those geared towards fighting the criminalization and incarceration of youth of color. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis. 

The Reiman Foundation supports the dedication, imagination, and courage of many organizations, particularly those involved in education, healthcare, arts, and children's initiatives. Applications are reviewed and accepted on a rolling basis. 

Triangle Community Foundation is made up of over 800 philanthropic funds, which are used in a variety of ways to provide support for nonprofit organizations . Grants from the Foundation are made in two ways: (1) from discretionary grant programs and (2) through donor-advised grants. 

The Sparkplug Foundation funds start-up organizations and new projects of established organizations in music, education, and community organizing. Their particular focus is on "the development of democratic movements and communities, especially those that work on issues of local democracy, justice, and sustainable energy. The Sparkplug Foundation has two grant cycles per year, spring and fall. 

Waste Management, Inc. gives to organizations and programs that preserve and enhance natural resources; in particular, grants prioritize programs that emphasize environmental education, where middle and high schools can learn about the importance of environmental stewardship and responsibility. Examples include environmental and science related projects, science fairs, earth day projects, and others. Award amounts vary. 
To influence policy and serve as a catalyst, convener, and clearinghouse for afterschool programs through advocacy, professional development, and quality improvement. 

High quality afterschool programs accessible to all North Carolina children and youth helping them to succeed in and out of school. 
NC CAP | 919.781.6833 | Email | Website