APRIL 2022
The Synergy Conference 2022 is scheduled to convene utilizing a hybrid model with in-person and virtual attendance options from April 20-22, 2022. The in-person conference will be hosted at the Koury Convention Center in Greensboro, NC.
Please note that the Wednesday portion of the conference will consist of the 21st Century Community Learning Center Statewide Meeting only. For those registered attendees that are not a current 21st CCLC program, check-in for the Synergy Conference will begin at 8:00 am on Thursday, April 21, 2022. The virtual portion of the conference will go live on Wednesday, April 20, 2022.

Registration for the Synergy Conference 2022 is open. Registration for in-person attendance is $250. Registration for virtual attendance is $75.

All in-person attendees will have access to the virtual aspects of the conference. All live in-person plenaries will be recorded and available for virtual conference attendees.

Please note that ALL in-person conference attendees must attest to being fully vaccinated or to have received a negative Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test result for COVID-19 within 72 hours of conference attendance. Additionally, ALL in-person conference attendees will be required to wear a mask throughout the duration of the conference with the exception of live plenaries where a meal is served.

We hope to see you in Greensboro!
We will continue the conference trend of engaging keynotes, a plethora of workshops, and networking with providers from across the state. View a message from this year's keynote speaker, Captain Barrington Irving!
This year's conference will feature amazing seven vendors!
On February 3, 2022, the NC State Board of Education approved the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction (NC DPI) to launch the Nita M. Lowey 21st Century Community Learning Centers (CCLC) Cohort 16 Competition for the 2022-2023 school year for any Public School Unit (PSU) or Non-PSU organizations [NPO (Non-Profit Organization), CBO (Community Based Organization), FBO (Faith-Based Organization), For-Profit, IHE (Institutions of Higher Education, City/Local Gov].

Authorized under Title IV, Part B, of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), as amended by the Every Student Succeeds Act of 2015, the purpose of Nita M. Lowey 21st CCLC Programs is to provide federal funds to establish or expand community learning centers that operate during out-of-school hours providing three specific services: intentional academic support, quality enrichment experiences, and family engagement opportunities.

The competitive grant opportunity will be processed through the CCIP system. Grant amounts will range from $50,000 to $400,000 depending on (1) needs identified in the community and schools; (2) scope of the program; (3) proposed number of students served; and (4) program design. Depending on funding availability, grant awards may continue for up to three years (through Summer 2025).

The Cohort 16 Request for Proposals (RFP) document is posted on the NCDPI website: NCDPI 21st CCLC webpage.
Applications are due May 4, 2022.
To learn more, click here.

For questions regarding the 21st CCLC FY22 Competitive Summer Mini-Grant Program, please contact Susan Brigman at
The NC Center for Afterschool Programs is seeking a full-time STEM Coordinator to support the programmatic and policy efforts of the organization, specifically within the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) landscape. The STEM Coordinator will work with the NC CAP Director, Program Manager, and key partners to develop, lead, coordinate and drive the NC Network's STEM initiatives. This person will support the design and delivery of professional development opportunities, advocacy, and shaping of policy that advances out-of-school time learning and brings together state and national afterschool stakeholders.

Primary Job Responsibilities: 

  • Design and implement high-quality STEM lessons aligned with the NC Standard Study Course.
  • Support coordination of NC CAP programs and events, including the annual Synergy. Conference, STEM Coalition Convenings, STEMinar Series, STEM Lessons, STEM PD, STEM Opportunity Spotlight, STEM Intensives, and Advisory Board Meetings.
  • Research and compile information related to STEM education in NC and nationally.
  • Collaborate with and increase the engagement of STEM partners across NC.
  • Film and produce high-quality STEM-based webinars.
  • Coordinate STEM-based professional development workshops with NC CAP partners and stakeholders.
  • Identify and map statewide STEM assets.
  • Disseminate and market NC CAP's STEM content via the website, social media, and e-newsletter.
  • Identify resources, strategies, and content aligned to STEM education in NC.
  • Support the overall coordination of the STEM Hub and its initiatives.
  • Attend state and national convenings.
  • Increase NC CAP's visibility, and represent NC CAP as needed.
  • Other duties as assigned by the NC CAP Director.

To learn more about this position and for details on applying, please click here
Please note that only 5 programs will be selected. Priority will be given to programs located in counties with less than five identified STEM Assets within the STEM Asset Mapping Database. To view the STEM Asset Mapping Database, click here.
The Afterschool Professionals Appreciation Week is a time to recognize, appreciate, and advocate for those who work with young people during out-of-school hours. The week is marked by celebrations and public relations efforts encouraging appreciation and support for all the afterschool professionals who make a profound difference in the lives of young people.

To find ideas and inspiration, click here.
To learn more, click here.
The Lights On Afterschool poster contest is officially open, and this year the Afterschool Alliance is changing its theme to reflect how youth see themselves and their futures because of their afterschool program! We've been through a lot over the past few years. Afterschool programs have stepped up their game to support children and families during the pandemic and they continue to provide those supports through the summer. This year, they want you to see artwork that addresses one of the following prompts:

  • What my afterschool means to me...
  • Show us how special your afterschool program is to you. Let us know what makes it stand out and what your program has done to help you succeed.
  • My afterschool program has helped prepare me for the future...
  • Did your afterschool program introduce you to a new career you didn't know existed? Maybe your program taught you a new skill that you'd like to sharpen. Show us how your program has helped you decide on how to prepare for your future.
  • My favorite thing about my afterschool program is...
  • Show us what you love while attending your program!

As always, the winning artwork will be printed on more than 50,000 posters that will be displayed at more than 8,000 Lights On Afterschool events around the world. The Lights On Afterschool poster contest is a great opportunity for an afterschool program to gain national recognition for the opportunities it offers. The winning artist will be featured on the Afterschool Alliance website, blog, and a national press release, and their afterschool program will be credited on the poster, in addition to receiving the grand prize of $500!

The Afterschool Alliance has provided an entry form to capture all the necessary information that they need, as well as a set of rules and guidelines governing this year's contest. Be sure to complete the full form and include it with your artwork submission postmarked no later than May 16. Digital submissions are accepted no later than May 16.

Be creative, and most importantly, have fun!
To learn more, click here.
The Afterschool Alliance has released two briefings. Learn more about each briefing below:

The Comprehensive Afterschool Program Fact Sheet outlines what is meant by the term "comprehensive afterschool" used in the ARP law, evidence on outcomes, and key principles for effective programs. This can be used to help educate your partners. To view the briefing, click here.

The briefing, "Where Did All the Afterschool Staff Go?", discusses staffing challenges and how staffing is impacting the ability of providers to meet the needs of the children and families they serve. To view the briefing, click here.
Almost five and a half months after the 2022 fiscal year began, Congress appears ready to pass an FY 2022 spending bill. Lengthy negotiations between the administration, both parties, and both chambers have resulted in a 2,741 page, $1.5 trillion FY 2022 omnibus bill that would fund the federal government through September 30, 2022. The omnibus spending bill appropriates a $30 million increase for the Nita M. Lowey 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) initiative, resulting in a total of $1.289 billion for local afterschool and summer learning programs - an all-time high level of funding. However, the bill appropriates less than the original House-passed bill proposed for 21st CCLC and a wide range of education programs. Further, the increase will not be sufficient to meet the increased demand for quality afterschool and summer learning programs, nor the increased costs associated with offering high-quality afterschool and summer opportunities.

The FY 2022 omnibus spending bill includes a 6.7 percent increase for non-defense discretionary programs, the largest increase in four years. It includes $1.75 billion for Title I formula funding to schools, which can also be used to support afterschool and summer learning programs. The bill supports early education and child care by including more than $6 billion for the Child Care Development Block Grant - funds that can be used to support school-age students up to age 13. The bill includes $13.6 billion in emergency assistance to Ukraine and $15.6 billion in emergency assistance to continue to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.

To continue reading, click here.

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 BWF's home state of North Carolina. These awards provide up to $60,000 per year for three years. Since the program's inception in 1996, BWF has awarded 201 grants totaling $33.7 million to 103 organizations that reach more than 43,000 North Carolina students.

SSEP awards support career-oriented and practical programs intended to provide creative science enrichment activities for students in K-12 education who have shown exceptional skills and interest in STEM, as well as those perceived to have high potential. Afterschool programs are demonstrating value in helping to close opportunity gaps for underserved and underrepresented students. These programs must enable students to participate in hands-on STEM activities and pursue inquiry-based avenues of exploration - an educational approach that BWF believes to be an effective way to increase students' understanding and appreciation of the scientific process. To increase academic achievement, programs must provide a well-defined structure that aligns with the school-day curriculum, well-trained staff, and student follow-up.

To learn more, click here.
Applications are due April 21, 2022.
Triangle Women in STEM is hosting the Girls Scouts STEM Day at Duke University on Saturday, May 14, 202 All middle and high school students are invited to attend fun-packed hours of interactive STEM activities, led by STEM professionals. All participants will be provided a STEM kit containing all required materials for a hands-on workshop!

Both Girl Scouts and Non-Girl Scout members are welcome! If registering multiple students, please register each separately. This event is free for all students.

To register youth, click here.

Triangle Women in STEM is also seeking STEM professionals to volunteer to inspire the next generation of STEM leaders. There are three opportunities for volunteers: (1) STEM Career Mentors; (2) Photographers and Videographers; and (3) Event Facilitators. Duke University requires all volunteers to take the "Working with Minors" training (approximately 15 minutes online) and have a Background Check done (Duke University will conduct and cover the costs).

To learn more about volunteer opportunities at Girl Scouts STEM Day at Duke University, click here.
In his first State of the Union presented in early March, President Biden outlined a strategy to address the national mental health crisis that has come to the forefront during the COVID-19 pandemic. Young people have been particularly impacted as losses from COVID and disruptions in routines and relationships have led to increased social isolation, anxiety, and learning loss. A study by the American Psychiatric Association (APA) found that more than half of parents express concern over their children's mental well-being. Prior to the pandemic in 2019, one in three high school students and half of the female students reported persistent feelings of sadness or hopelessness, an overall increase of 40 percent from 2009.

During his address to the nation, President Biden announced a national mental health strategy to strengthen system capacity, connect more Americans to care, and create a continuum of support - transforming our health and social services infrastructure to address mental health holistically and equitably. The president's full mental health agenda takes a comprehensive approach and specifically includes strategies that take into account the important role of community-based and youth-serving organizations in helping support young people in school and during the hours when school is out:

  • Embed and co-locate mental health and substance use providers into community-based settings. Expanding pathways to care also means creating new, low-barrier access points, in settings where Americans already live, work, and play. To that end, the president's FY23 budget will include $50 million to pilot models that embed and co-locate mental health services into non-traditional settings like libraries, community centers, schools, and homeless shelters.
  • Expand access to mental health support in schools, colleges, and universities. The Department of Education (ED) will continue to support states, school districts, colleges, and universities in using relief funds - including the more than $160 billion invested by the American Rescue Plan in the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) and Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) - to address the mental health needs of students, including by training, recruiting, and retaining more school - and college and university-based mental health professionals. With the help of ESSER funds, schools have already seen a 65 percent increase in social workers and a 17 percent increase in counselors. To help schools sustain these roles, the Department of Health and Human Services will make it easier for school-based mental health professionals to seek reimbursement from Medicaid, and the president's FY23 budget will propose $1 billion to help schools hire additional counselors and school psychologists and other health professionals.
  • Set students up for success. When students struggle in school it impacts their well-being. A comprehensive strategy to support student wellness must also include efforts to address the impact of the pandemic on student learning, particularly on students most impacted by the pandemic, and create supportive learning environments. ED will continue to help states and school districts use the $122 billion in ARP ESSER funds for this purpose. Specifically, the Department will help states and districts use the funds to provide high-quality afterschool and summer learning and enrichment programs and invest in other evidence-based strategies that will help our students recover from the pandemic. Districts nationwide are already using ARP ESSER funds to invest in these strategies. To support this work, we need more caring adults taking on roles supporting students. The president is calling on Americans nationwide to take on roles as tutors and mentors to help our students recover. The investments the president will propose in his FY23 budget will support and sustain efforts that set up students for success. This includes more than doubling funding for Title I, a ten-fold increase for the Full-Service Community Schools program, and a historic $3.3 billion increase for Individuals with Disabilities Education Act grants that support PK-12 children with disabilities and $450 million for IDEA PART C, which supports early intervention services for infants and toddlers.

To continue reading, click here.

Join NYLC at the 33rd Annual National Service-Learning Conference where youth and adults come together to have an incredible professional development experience, in person or virtually! Through April 14th, afterschool educators and students can receive 10% off using promo code 10OFF.

To learn more, click here.
NC CAP has partnered with Afterschool Coaching for Reflective Educators in STEM (ACRES) to provide FREE professional development opportunities to out-of-school-time professionals statewide. The ACRES Project supports out-of-school providers in rural settings. Each participant is expected to participate in three live sessions for each cohort is an active member. Stipends are offered to participants who complete pre-and-post surveys.

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.

Session Dates
April 27, 2022 - 10 am to 12 pm EST
May 11, 2022 - 10 am to 12 pm EST
May 25, 2022 - 10 am to 12 pm EST

To register, click here.
Cohort Code: AC116SR
To learn more about this opportunity, click here.
The North Carolina Center for Afterschool Programs (NC CAP) has created an Afterschool Advocacy webpage. The webpage is a compilation of resources and opportunities related to afterschool advocacy. In addition to the webpage, NC CAP has also released the Advocacy Toolkit. This toolkit highlights a variety of ways to engage youth and adults in high-quality advocacy opportunities.

To learn more, click here.
Every person who works with young people is committed to helping them thrive. On athletic fields, in afterschool programs, in libraries, in faith-based institutions, youth-serving professionals and volunteers are making a difference every day. Through the Power of Us Workforce Survey, youth-serving professionals and volunteers can contribute to a national effort to explore, define, and elevate their profession. Take the survey today!

To take the survey, click here.
The North Carolina Center for Afterschool Programs (NC CAP) 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 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.

Centene is offering general operating grants of up to $500,000 to organizations that fall within one or more of the following areas of focus: Health, Education, Children, and the Arts. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis.

Discover is offering grants of up to $5,000 to nonprofit organizations working in the areas of education and literacy. Funding, donations, and sponsorships are intended to support programs and initiatives that meet the needs of various communities across the country, with a particular focus on communities where Discover employees live and work. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis.

Dogwood Health Trust seeks to dramatically improve the health and well-being of all people and communities of Western North Carolina. They are interested in projects that address one or more of their strategic priorities: Housing, Education, Economic Opportunity, and Health and Wellness and that align with their overarching commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. They also have interests in projects related to improving broadband access to support education and healthcare bridging rural divides, and addressing racial equity issues. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis.

Enter DAILY for your chance to win one to five, $5,000 grants to help foster STEM learning among your students! This is your chance to get the STEM technology and resources you have been dreaming of! The sweepstakes close on April 22nd, 2022.

The Duke Energy Foundation is committed to making strategic investments to build powerful communities where nature and wildlife thrive, youth can excel, and a talented workforce drives economic prosperity for all. These grants support programs that prevent summer reading loss, while also advancing energy, engineering, and environmental education. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis.

Project AWARE (Advancing Wellness and Resiliency in Education) develops sustainable infrastructure for school-based mental health programs and services. It is expected that the recipient will build a collaborative partnership that includes the State Education Agency (SEA), Local Education Agency (LEA), the State Mental Health Agency (SMHA), community-based providers of behavioral health care services, school personnel, community organizations, families, and school-aged youth. Applications are due May 2, 2022.

The Saxena Family Foundation is a privately funded, 501(c)(3) registered non-profit charitable foundation headquartered in Austin, TX. The Foundation awards grants and supports programs that have a particular focus on STEM education and around empowering women in the United States and in India. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis.

The Statewide Family Network Program provides resources to enhance the capacity of statewide mental health family-controlled organizations to engage families raising children, youth, and young adults with serious emotional disturbance (SED). Grant recipients are expected to be family-driven, trauma-informed, culturally relevant, holistic, and resilience-oriented family-controlled organizations. Applications are due on May 2, 2022.

Your Voice is Power provides students and teachers an introduction to computer science through a real-world exploration of how music, computer science, and entrepreneurship can be tools to advance racial justice. Amazon Future Engineer is providing students with a chance to create an original remix of various songs by recording artists such as Pharell Williams, Alicia Keys, and Khalid using coding. Applications for Round Two close on June 19th, 2022.

Public T Schools, public libraries, and nonprofit organizations that help students that are below grade level or having trouble reading are eligible to apply. Grant funding is provided to assist in the following areas: implementing new or expanding existing literacy programs; purchasing new technology or equipment to support literacy initiatives; and purchasing books, materials, or software for literacy programs. Applications are due on May 19th, 2022.
North Carolina Center for Afterschool Programs |