Join the Movement! 
Celebrate the #heartofafterschool!

The Indiana Afterschool Network is joining with the National AfterSchool Association to celebrate the professionals that are at the heart of afterschool programs during the Afterschool Professionals Appreciation Week, April 22 - 26.

An estimated 10.2 million young people take part in afterschool programs each year. Today, afterschool programs are viewed as much more than just childcare. They are widely credited as the way to enhance education in STEM, literacy, the arts, social and emotional learning, health and wellness, and more. With that demand comes increased responsibility on the estimated 850,000 professionals who are making a difference in the lives of our children. 

We believe afterschool professionals make a difference in the lives of young people. 

Join us in thanking the afterschool professionals in your life.
Some ideas on how you can show your appreciation:
  • Declare on social media: "I believe Afterschool professionals make a difference in the lives of young people. #heartofafterschool"
  • Give a hand-written card from you and/or your child to the afterschool professional in your life.
  • Send an email to an afterschool professional's supervisor describing why that person is appreciated.
  • Make treats for the staff at your afterschool program.
For more resources and information check out  www.heartofafterschool.com

Celebrating Indiana Afterschool Professionals and Indiana Program Champions!

As a part of the 2019 Indiana Summit on Out-of-School Learning, three finalists were selected from afterschool programs nominated from across the state and honored for "claiming their calm." 

The first, second, and third place winners were chosen during a live vote by our 2019 Summit participants.  See below for CHAMPION stories of claiming calm, as told by our Breakfast of Champions finalists!
Concord Neighborhood Center
Winner of the 2019 Out-of-School Time Champion Award






Describe how your program is focusing time and resources on claiming your calm.
To begin a yoga initiative in its youth program, Concord secured funding through the Indiana Sports Corporation CHAMPS grant program. The grant allowed for the initial investment of mats, instruction, and resources that could sustain the program in perpetuity. Now that children and staff know yoga, they can continue exercises and programming independently as time allows. Nearly a year into the initiative, Concord's greatest investment is time. Yoga is built into the daily program as a series of simple, student-led exercises that immediately precedes the afternoon activities. It's like bell-work, but for the body and mind. It is regular and consistent and builds on the strengths and knowledge that youth learned in formal instruction during summer break.

Describe the impact that you notice since you have focused time on claiming your calm efforts in your program.  What changes have you noticed?
Since introducing a yoga curriculum during its summer day camp, Concord youth are much more thoughtful about how they experience negative stress, unwind from a busy day and just generally approach being active. Yoga is active and engages the whole body, but in a very holistic and calming way. Our children are happier and more engaged after they have completed the exercises, and staff is starting to see that the kids themselves understand and embrace yoga's benefits.

Why is claiming your calm important enough to focus time and resources?
The yoga program has helped our youth truly claim their calm by being in better control of their emotions, responses, and general range of motion. Following an initial, minimal investment of 8 hours of expert instruction, the children can do-and they do do-exercises independently! As such, these are elementary age children who have developed a set of coping and active skills that they can carry with them throughout life and in a variety of settings. Our youth program has established a foundation for healthy, deliberate well-being and this will have far-reaching, lasting and positive outcomes for our children who otherwise may lack self-regulation.
Brookside Community Play
2nd Place 2019 Out-of-School Time Champion Award

What did you or your program have to do differently in order to focus on claiming your calm?
We had to designate a spot in the classroom. This spot had to be comfortable and inviting. We also focused on teaching the students techniques to claim their calm. We train staff and volunteers to use the FLIP IT techniques. We, also, empowered the students to use this area without needing permission. This gives students ownership into claiming their calm. No matter what is going on, the student can use this area. We also have activities that focus on social emotional development. We are very intentional in every thing we do to empower the students. They love it!

What is one specific success that you have noticed since focusing on claiming your calm?
A student was upset. He walks directly to the "Chill Zone." He takes a few calming breathes while looking at the other students play. The student wraps himself in a blanket, takes more breaths. He talks to an adult about the social/emotional activity that we just did. The activity was a valentine that identifies colors as emotions that the student had in their heart. The student goes back to play with the group he previously left. He is still wrapped in the blanket. He is calm and happy.  

Why is claiming your calm important enough to focus time and resources?
It is very important for students to learn how to claim their calm because the earlier they learn how to do this, it becomes a part of their future. It creates safe environments to learn about themselves and to handle situations with confidence. By providing focus time and resources, the students are empowered. Our students are exposed to a lot of trauma in their lives, learning to claim their calm is an essential teaching for the success of their lives. 
Blue River Services, Inc.
3rd Place 2019 Out-of-School Time Champion Award

Describe how your program is focusing time and resources on claiming your calm.
During the past two years, management staff has refocused our efforts on personal development and renewal for staff. This effort has validated the idea that individuals who are healthy and well on a personal level, are significantly more successful within their personal and professional lives, striking clear balance and an internal calm. Currently we are focusing on using wellness groups and "Being Your Best You" as our focal point for 2019. 

What did you or your program have to do differently in order to focus on claiming your calm?
The most impactful change that was necessary was a remapping of traditional professional development, changing the focus from outdated practices to a new approach that relies heavily on individualized attention for each staff. Examples of new practices include personalized mentoring, individualized appreciation, wellness groups, staff retreats, and an ongoing commitment to their well-being and development. This refocus allows staff to feel valued and energized as they begin working to claim their clam and find balance within themselves. 

Describe the impact that you notice since you have focused time on claiming your calm efforts in your program.
Since beginning to focus efforts on claiming the calm for our staff, staff are more connected, more engaged and more committed to their students and their careers. Staff have begun developing relationships with other staff outside of the work environment and are striving for personal development that compliments their work life, ensuring balance and calm within themselves. 

STAY CONNECTED:
Indiana Afterschool Network   www.indianaafterschool.org 317-822-8211