After-School Program Grants Can Be Critical Part of Comprehensive Support for At-Risk Students

Congratulations to our partners and friends who were awarded new or continuing 21st Century Community Learning Center grants this morning! These federal funds will support amazing opportunities for at-risk youth. Our partners won $4.25 million in new after-school program grants.

A+ Arts Academy was awarded two grants, for one elementary and one middle school program. Together with the school’s recent School Quality Improvement grant, this community school will be investing nearly $2.3 million over the next five years in developing comprehensive and sustainable support systems that ensure all youth thrive. 

Marion City Schools received an award for a new after-school program at Harding High School, and their community partner, the Marion Family YMCA, received one for a program to serve children from two Marion elementary schools. Those programs will nicely complement recent awards to fund county-wide high school career pathways (Expanding Opportunities for Each Child – $575,000) and multi-tiered systems of support (School Quality Improvement – $1.5 million), by establishing after-school opportunities for career exploration, work-based learning and intensive interventions to address nonacademic barriers to success.

The United Way of Youngstown and the Mahoning Valley received one new grant this year to expand its Success After 6 program to Struthers Elementary School. That brings to $5.95 million the total 21st CCLC funds that the United Way has brought to Mahoning and Trumbull counties. The United Way matches those with local dollars to operate more than a dozen programs, making a huge impact in the lives of more than 600 youth.

The most striking aspect about this group of awards is how each organization is thinking about how to blend various revenue streams from local, state and federal sources to create aligned initiatives that comprehensively support the unique needs of their young people. We love how well they exemplify the vision articulated in Each Child, Our Future, Ohio’s Strategic Plan for Education.

If this approach interests you and your school or nonprofit, there are opportunities to get started coming up soon. 

  1. Ohio’s newly approved biennial budget includes money for public schools to invest in “Student Wellness and Success.” Amounts per school are determined by formula and all school have to do to access these funds is grab a community partner and make a plan to submit to the Ohio Department of Education. The Ohio Afterschool Network is planning regional workshops to assist schools and their partners in creating their plans. Check out the network’s website for initial resources and check back soon for workshop dates and locations.
  2. We are anticipating new rounds of funding to be awarded in competitions this fall for Expanding Opportunities for Each Child and School Quality Improvement grants. Particularly if your school has been designated by the state as in improvement status, these large grants should be on your radar! Both grants can help your schools improve graduation rates (and align to the new graduation requirements), academic performance, and opportunities for young people prepare for their future careers. Give us a shout if you’d like to learn more!
  3. It is not too soon to start planning for next year’s 21st Century Community Learning Center competition. Successful grant proposals are based on robust community partnerships and strong visions for aligning after-school programs with the school day. These grants typically open in January and are due in April. If you want to learn more about why and how after-school programs are great for kids, check out one of these great centrally located statewide conferences:
    1. Off to a Great Start Conference, August 7-8, 2019 – This is the annual shindig put on by the Educational Service Center of Central Ohio, and is full of great professional learning opportunities for current and prospective administrators, staff and after-school partners.
    2. Best Foot Forward Conference, February 20-21 – The Ohio Afterschool Network puts together an amazing slate of conference sessions, speakers and networking opportunities. Mark your calendars for this one now.

You’ll be able to connect with us at either Off to a Great Start or Best Foot Forward. Or just give us a shout at or 614-357-4439.

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