As the number of   obese children in the U.S. increases, a new study finds guidelines aimed to prevent childhood obesity are not being followed,  according to researchers from the Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center.

The 5-2-1-0 guidelines recommend that kids eat at least five servings of fruits and vegetables a day, spend less that two hours in front of a screen (including TV, computers, video games and mobile devices), fit one hour of physical participation into their day and that they consume zero sugar-sweetened drinks. The guidelines, which have been promoted nationally,  suggest that children trade soda, fruit juice and sports drinks with water or low-fat milk.

For the study, researchers observed children's diet and physical activity for 24 hours. Researchers looked into dietary intake, screen time, body mass index at child care and at home, and used accelerometers to measure physical activity.

Among 400 preschool children only one child followed the prevention guidelines over the the course of a single day at daycare and at home, researchers found. The study found one in four children had a body mass index that labeled them as overweight. Researchers found only 17 percent of children followed the five servings of fruit and vegetables rule.

"The recommendation that we believe is the hardest for families to attain, based on our study and other similar studies, is fruit and vegetable intake," lead author of the study, Dr. Amrik Singh Khalsa, told International Business Times. "Several studies including evaluations of national datasets have showed that children and adults do not meet fruit and vegetable recommendations and it is due to diet quality."

Meanwhile, half of the children failed to keep away from sugar-sweetened beverages. The study also found 81 percent of children had less than two hours of screen time, but less than one percent met the one-hour physical activity rule. [...]

The number of U.S. children with obesity has more than tripled since the 1970s, the  Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said this year. Approximately one in five minors ages 6-19 in the United States are currently obese.

Childhood obesity can lead to immediate and long-term impacts on physical, social, and emotional health, experts  say. Kids with obesity are at higher risk for having diseases and chronic health issues, like asthma, sleep apnea, bone and joint problems, type 2 diabetes, and risk factors for heart disease. Children that are overweight can also lead to an adulthood with obesity, which is linked to serious conditions and diseases, like heart disease, type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and several types of cancer.

" [...] Obesity in childhood significantly increases the risk of obesity as an adult and is harder and more expensive to treat obesity than prevent it," said Khalsa.

Childhood obesity can also take an emotional toll on minors, as obese children tend to be bullied and teased more than those with normal weight. They are also more likely to suffer from social isolation, depression, and lower self-esteem, experts say.

 You can read the full article 
here .


For the 2017-18 school year, the General Assembly of North Carolina appropriated six million dollars ($6,000,000) from the At-Risk Student Services Alternative School Allotment for the Extended Learning and Integrated Student Supports (ELISS) Competitive Grant Program [ Session Law 2017-57]. The purpose of the Program is to fund high-quality, independently validated extended learning and integrated student support service programs for at-risk students that raise standards for student academic outcomes.
Nonprofits and nonprofits working in collaboration with local school administrative units may participate in the ELISS program.  Programs must serve one or more of the following student groups:

1. At-risk students not performing at grade level as demonstrated by statewide assessments
2. Students at-risk of dropout
3. Students at-risk of school displacement due to suspension or expulsion as a result of anti-social behaviors.

Grant participants are eligible to receive grants for up to two years in an amount of up to five hundred thousand dollars ($500,000) each year. Grants must be matched on the basis of three dollars ($3.00) in grant funds for every one dollar ($1.00) in non-grant funds. Matching funds shall not include other State funds. Matching funds may include in-kind contributions. Matching funds may include in-kind contributions for up to fifty percent (50%) of the required match.

Notice of Intent to Apply
An organization that intends to apply for the ELISS grant is encouraged to notify the Department of its intent no later than September 30, 2017. Information collected will be used to determine the number of reviewers needed for the application review process. Please note that the submission of this notice is not a prerequisite for application of grant funds, nor does it obligate the organization to submit an application. 

Extended Learning and Integrated Student Support Grant Program Technical Assistance Webinar 
The following webinars will provide applicants with a description of the purpose of the Extended Learning and Integrated Student Support Grant Program and the required components of the funding application. The same information will be provided in each webinar. Applicants are encouraged to register for one of the two webinars on  Wednesday, September 13, 2017.

Webinar 1: 10:00AM - 11:30AM 
To register, click here

Webinar 2: 2:00PM - 3:30PM 
To register, click here

 Please visit this website for additional information.


The clear message coming out of a  recent national poll on attitudes toward federal education spending is that voters are overwhelmingly opposed to the federal government cutting funds for public education.

In the poll, conducted by  Hart Research Associates for the  American Federation of Teachers, close to 3 in 4 voters say that they are opposed to the Trump administration's proposal to cut federal spending on education by 13.5 percent while "cutting taxes for large corporations and wealthy individuals" and 73 percent say that they find this to be an unacceptable way to reduce spending by the federal government. When asked about the proposed elimination of funding for afterschool and summer learning programs, more than 7 in 10 voters responded that it was an unacceptable cut.
In addition to more than 3 in 5 voters reporting that the federal government spends too little on public education, a strong majority of voters voiced their opposition to a number of the administration's proposed cuts to the education budget, including the following:
  • 80 percent of voters say that it is unacceptable to cut programs and services for students with disabilities
  • 73 percent of voters say that it is unacceptable to eliminate funding for afterschool and summer learning programs
  • 72 percent of voters say that it is unacceptable to eliminate funding for community schools
  • 71 percent of voters say that it is unacceptable to eliminate funding that public schools use for teacher training and professional development
  • Almost 7 in 10 of voters say that it is unacceptable to reduce spending on vocational and job-training programs by cutting $168 million from career and technical education
  • 68 percent of voters say that it is unacceptable to reduce spending on Medicaid by 25 percent, which pays for school-based health services such as physical therapists and health screenings
  • 74 percent of voters overall oppose the administration's proposed cuts to education while reducing taxes on large corporations and wealthy individuals, including 98 percent of Democrats, 75 percent of Independents, and 55 percent of Republican women
Similar to a March 2017 national poll by Quinnipiac University that found that  83 percent of voters agreed that cutting funding for afterschool and summer learning programs is a bad idea, this poll illustrates the strong public support behind federal funding for afterschool.
If you're interested in learning how you can get involved to show your support for afterschool and summer learning programs, visit our  Take Action page.  

To continue reading the article, click here

HEAL Charlotte is a new initiative that provides affordable after school care in challenged neighborhoods. By locating after school care in the recreation or common areas of apartment complexes, HEAL Charlotte provides positive, constructive environments during critical after school hours for children that lack the funds and transportation options needed to attend conventional programs.
Transportation to and from after school programs is one of the biggest obstacles for working parents in addition to program cost. HEAL Charlotte is currently running a successful pilot project to prove its concept. Starting with a dozen kids in February 2016, the program has quickly grown to serving 45 students, and continues to expand. 
For every dollar invested in after school programs, five dollars of benefit are realized for the community in reduced crime, workforce readiness, and higher graduation rates. After school programs can also help reduce the learning gap faced by many students from low income neighborhoods. High income 6th graders experience an additional 6,000 hours of learning opportunity than those from low-income neighborhoods.
HEAL Charlotte is exactly the type of community program needed in Charlotte to help spread opportunity to every corner of our city.  
It is an organization here to serve the community, to build trust and a legitimate bond between the community, its laborers, and officials. They are here to serve and create an open dialogue between the citizens, police and elected officials of the Charlotte community. 

SchermCo, in partnership with MeckEd and the Charlotte Mayor's Office, successfully secured a $1M investment from the Gambrell Family Foundation to support afterschool programs in Title I middle schools across Charlotte. The investment will be leveraged to fuel the growing work of Charlotte Next, a program of MeckEd.

"Greg and his team at SchermCo have helped MeckEd launch an interactive program locator, created a professional development series and most recently, assisted in securing this $1M investment in less than eight months. SchermCo has been a valuable asset as we work to ensure Title I middle school students have access to quality out-of-school time (OST) programs," said Ross Danis, President of MeckEd.

The $1M investment will create the opportunity for 600+ middle school students to have access to quality OST programs. Charlotte Next will serve as an intermediary organization to help support the growth and quality of these programs across Charlotte by providing quality training, funding, and key data to the Charlotte community.

"I've worked with SchermCo for the past two years and they continue to be a key partner in helping me accomplish my goal of improving afterschool programs for Charlotte youth," said Mayor Jennifer Roberts. "Their ability to engage with our many partners in the community to support the successful growth of this new initiative is remarkable. I couldn't do this work without them." 

While Charlotte Next will not directly run afterschool programs, they will work with school principals to identify needs in their schools. Once identified, they will work to connect them with afterschool program providers that are the best fit alongside providing funding and other key resources. 

"Our team is ecstatic that our strategy and support services have helped MeckEd secure these critical funds," said Greg Schermbeck, Founder & Principal of SchermCo. "There's strong research to suggest that afterschool programs have the ability to expose students to critical experiences, increase grades during the school day, and have a number of other positive effects for both students and families. We look forward to the continued growth of this initiative." 

You can learn more at
Are you concerned for children in your community who are missing out on free, nutritious summer meals? 

If so, take the first step to a solution and register now for the fourth annual NC SummerPalooza! Summit, hosted by the NC Department of Public Instruction. Registration is free and lunch will be provided. 

SummerPalooza! Summits provide an opportunity to learn more about the summer nutrition programs in North Carolina, identify ways to reduce barriers, and pinpoint areas where summer meals are needed to reduce food security. They celebrate the successes of summer nutrition for our children in 2017, celebrate summer meals champions, and provide a jumpstart for 2018. 

Some dates for the 2017 SummerPalooza! Summits have changed. The tickets you've signed up for are still good, but the Greensboro Summer Palooza! date has changed from Wednesday, November 8th, 2017 to Monday, November 6th, 2017. This year's series of planning meetings on summer meals will be held from 9:30AM to 4:00PM in four cities across the state in November: 

  • GREENSBORO [November 6 at the Deep River Event Center]
  • ASHEVILLE [November 7 at Four Points Sheraton]
  • WILLIAMSTON [November 14 at the Bob Martin Eastern Agricultural Center]
  • NEW BERN [November 16 at the New Bern Convention Center]
If you need to make a change to which summit you plan to attend, tickets are still free and spots are still available for each event.  To learn more about SummerPalooza! Summits or to register, click here

Mark your calendar for the 18th annual Lights On Afterschool.  On October 26, 2017, America will light up for the nation's biggest event celebrating afterschool programs and their important role in the lives of children, families and communities. Led by the National Afterschool Alliance, this annual effort has become a hallmark of the afterschool movement and generates media coverage across the country each year.  The Afterschool Alliance organizes Lights On Afterschool to draw attention to the many ways afterschool programs support students by offering them opportunities to learn new things - such as science, community service, robotics, Tae Kwon Do and poetry - and discover new skills. This event sends a powerful message nationwide that millions more kids need quality afterschool programs. 

Last year, 8,200 events were held nationwide for Lights on Afterschool, making 2016 the brightest year ever. Over one million people joined together to shine a light on the amazing work that afterschool programs are doing to improve the lives of children and families in local communities. It is more important than ever to share those stories across the country. 

Lights On Afterschool affords program providers nationwide with an opportunity to shine a spotlight on their afterschool program's role in in keeping kids active & healthy, inspiring STEM learning, or raising up the voices of young people and parents in their local community. Your program can celebrate Lights On Afterschool by hosting an event. View the Afterschool Alliance's interactive planning timeline to review all of the steps involved in planning a Lights on Afterschool event.  This year's event themes celebrate Youth Voices, Health & Wellness and Afterschool STEM.   It is not too late to register your event and sign up for Lights On Afterschool updates.  Events that are registered through the Afterschool Alliance as an official Lights On Afterschool celebration will receive an event starter kit, which includes 10 free posters to help promote the event.  Let's make the 2017 Lights On Afterschool the best! 

On August 1, updated juvenile justice bill ( S. 860) passed the full Senate by voice vote, representing a large step forward in the long overdue reauthorization of the legislation. Last year in the 114th Congress,  bills to reauthorize the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act (JJDPA) passed through the House and the Senate Judiciary Committee before getting stalled on the Senate floor.

The updates in the Senate juvenile justice bill would match current knowledge on evidence-based best practices in the field, including using adolescent development-, mental health-, and trauma-informed practice and encouraging alternatives to incarceration. The bill also seeks to reduce or eliminate dangerous practices, including-when possible-keeping youth out of contact (both sight and sound) with adult offenders. The bill would establish changes to enhance reporting and accountability measures. The full list of goals for updated legislation from the National Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Coalition can be seen  here.

In a  press release  from Fight Crime, Invest in Kids, the group of sheriffs, police chiefs, and prosecutors congratulated the Senate on S. 860. "For 91 percent of juveniles facing custody, diversion to local, effective youth programs reduced the rate of re-offending more than placement in juvenile facilities." The release continued, "Because they cut recidivism, the interventions can also save the public between $6,000 and $26,000 per youth served, a stark contrast to the $88,000 average cost of one year for one youth in juvenile custody."

Updates to the legislation have broad, bipartisan support. To complete the reauthorization process, the House and Senate must now form a conference committee to agree upon one final version of the bill when they return to work in September. As the conference process may encounter challenges around provisions such as the  valid court order, advocates are keeping up the drum beat to move the reauthorization bills through into law.

Currently, the House version ( H.R. 1809) includes an explicit mention of afterschool programs and mentoring as an evidence-based use of prevention funding which would be nice to see in any final version of the bill.

Afterschool programs play an important role in providing youth with the safe spaces, caring adults, and social and emotional supports that can keep them focused on their long term success. For example, the city of Athens, Georgia in collaboration with the University of Georgia School of Social Work recently concluded task force survey on gang prevention wherein parents and youth placed afterschool/ youth development programs high on their list of prevention focused opportunities. You can read the full article  here.

To continue reading the complete article, click here

Excerpt from: 
Tooth decay is the #1 chronic childhood disease in the US, and  America's ToothFairy  believes afterschool providers play a major role in addressing this pressing public health issue. The America's ToothFairy  Oral Health Education Program  provides resources to incorporate oral health learning opportunities into your afterschool program, including the  ToothFairy 101 Community Education Kit  (a bi-lingual classroom oral health curriculum) and the  Resource ToolKit , which also includes printed materials and toothbrushes. For more information and eligibility, email them at  [email protected] .

Would you rather have the students in your program learn to code or be able to run a 5K?

That question focuses on one of the main issues that face afterschool programs every day: how do we give our kids more, with less? Everyone wants healthy, active kids who are also receiving important academic enrichment they may not find in the school day. With STEM and wellness both on the rise in popularity and importance while funding and resources are slashed, how are out-of-school time (OST) providers to prioritize one or the other?

The National Afterschool Association (NAA), Alliance for a Healthier Generation, Afterschool Alliance, and National Girls Collaborative Project (NCGP) have collaborated to come up with a solution. "Imagine the potential of empowering the 10.2 million children in afterschool programs with science, technology, engineering, and math skills, while providing them with opportunities to eat healthy and stay active," reads the first sentence of " STEM and Wellness: A Powerful Equation for Equity."

The issue brief demonstrates the benefits of blending STEM with healthy eating and physical activity in OST:
  • Establishing a diverse and heathy workforce
  • Fostering community responsibility and citizen science
  • Encouraging partnerships between schools and afterschool
  • Meeting the needs of families, schools, and communities
The brief explores how the blend of STEM with wellness can contribute to a more equitable socioeconomic future for all youth and discusses different collaborative opportunities for schools, community centers, and afterschool programs to combine STEM and wellness priorities. Additionally, the brief demonstrates how implementing STEM and wellness in a complementary manner counters the challenge of competing priorities and limited resources as schools and organizations are continuously challenged to do more with less.
Afterschool providers are one of the players being called to action to use the brief's sample of practical resources to overcome the challenges of adopting the blended model of STEM and wellness. You can start the process by adopting the  NAA HEPA Standards for OST and by using the information in the brief as an advocacy tool. The brief suggests accessing, investigating, and sharing at least two of the resources and program models listed on the final pages of the brief.

To continue reading the complete article, click here

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The US Department of Agriculture has updated the CACFP to ensure children and adults have access to healthy, balanced meals throughout the day. These revised meal patterns include a variety of vegetables and fruit, more whole grains and less added sugar and saturated fat. The CACFP may be able to reimburse participating organizations up to $1,400 annually per child. 

Cape Fear Tutoring, Inc. has been a statewide sponsor of the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) since 1984. CACFP is a federal program that provides reimbursement for healthy, nutritious meals and snacks served to eligible children. At Risk Afterschool Programs are eligible to participate in this program. At Risk sites can recieve monthly checks based on the number of meals and snacks served to each child per day during the school year. Minimum paperwork is required if you choose to participate in the CACFP under the sponsorship of Cape Fear Tutoring. If you are interested in the CACFP sponsorship and your program is located near the Wilmington area, contact their office for details. They will send a representative to your site to get you started and will also provide training and all necessary paperwork. In Wilmington 910.395.6132 or Toll Free 1.800.395.6761. 


In 2016, the Council for a Strong America released  America Unprepared, showing data that more than 70 percent of young adults in the United States would not qualify for military service due to obesity and other health issues, poor academic performance, drug abuse, or involvement in crime. As a solution to this lack of "citizen-readiness," the council suggested support for voluntary home-visiting programs, high quality early education, science-based nutrition standards for school foods, and the reinstitution of physical education programs.

We have one more suggestion: quality afterschool programs. Many afterschool programs are already tackling the issues of health and wellness, academic achievement, and child safety.

60 percent of young adults are overweight or obese. For the military, this translates to 31 percent of all young adults who apply to serve being disqualified from service. Furthermore, lifetime obesity is determined during school-age years. While obesity remains a large problem in the United States, the percentage of schools that require students to take physical education has declined to only 77 percent.

Programs like  Girls on the Run are working to get their students up and running (literally). The Girls on the Run curriculum teaches girls important life skills through running to motivate and inspire girls to live healthier and more active lives. A  2014 evaluation indicated that 90 percent of participants from reporting programs were able to complete a 5K race at the end of the Girls on the Run season.

When looking at students that participate in  afterschool programs nationwide, 76 percent of parents say that their child gets at least 30 minutes of physical activity during a typical day in their afterschool program, and 27 percent report that their child gets at least an hour of physical activity. In short, afterschool is keeping kids active.

Without regard to an applicants' level of education, many military applicants fail to score high enough on the Armed Forces Qualification Test (AFQT) to enlist in the military.  A report from the Education Trust (2010) showed that almost a quarter (23 percent) of test-takers failed to achieve the qualifying score.

So, why are so many young adults failing the AFQT? According the America Unprepared, the academic preparedness necessary to graduate high school and pass the Qualification Test starts even before pre-k. Nearly two-thirds of American children are not reading proficient by the 4th grade, and nearly 20 percent do not complete high school in four years. Furthermore, nearly 70 percent of the high school achievement gap between students from low and high income families is present at kindergarten entry.

Luckily, afterschool programs have a history of supporting students academically and closing the achievement gap.  Studies have shown that close to 1 in 2 students who regularly attend a 21st Century Community Learning Center program improved their math and language arts grades, nearly 2 in 3 students improved their homework completion and class participation, and close to 3 in 5 students improved their behavior in class.

To continue reading the complete article, click  here

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ecoSolution Grants have been the defining basis of Captain Planet Foundation's work over the last 25 years. Grants range from $500 - $2,500 and are intended to support solution-oriented, youth-led projects that result in real environmental outcomes. ecoSolution Grants are available to educators working with youth in the United States. 

If your program focuses on local beautification efforts or gardening and ecology, the Wild Ones Seeds for Education Program has a creative way to fund your projects! Your program could be awarded up to $500 to start a garden or wildlife habitat for native plants and animals in your local school.   The Seeds for Education grant is designed to be used for projects that tackle three essential criteria: 
1. Youth engagement in planning and doing (age-appropriate)
2. Creation of an ecosystem community based on native plants
3. Focus on hands-on educational activities 

The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction (NCDPI) is seeking qualified individuals to serve as grant reviewers to read and score the 2017-2018 Extended Learning and Integrated Student Supports (ELISS) Competitive Grant applications. A one-day face-to-face training for the selected grant reviewers is scheduled to be held in Greensboro, North Carolina on  Monday, October 2, 2017 . The review process is being managed for the NCDPI by the SERVE Center at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG). Interested individuals should apply by  September 13, 2017 . The application process is described here. Please email Beth Thrift ( [email protected] ) at the SERVE Center if you have questions about the application process.
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. 

As part of their commitment to high-quality programs, MeckEd offers professional development opportunities to their partners. Their 2017-2018 Professional Development Series will be held from 9am - 11am at Grier Heights Community Center in Charlotte, NC on:

September 6, 2017 
25 TOOLS IN 120 MINUTES: Music, Media and Micro-Funding For Your Program 

October 11, 2017
WRANGLING CATS: Engaging & Retaining Your Volunteer Base

January 17, 2018
GOT PARENTS: Engaging CareTakers Beyond The Car Pool

March 14, 2018
EXPANDING YOUR SANDBOX: Collaboration For Organizational Success

For additional details or to register to attend their professional development series, click here.

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