Lincoln County’s Jones Selected as one of Just 15 ‘Afterschool Ambassadors’ in U.S.
Debra Jones of Newport Will Work in Oregon and Nationally to Increase Students’ Access to after school learning opportunities.
Washington, DC – The Afterschool Alliance has announced that Debra Jones, president of the Youth Development Coalition of Lincoln County, has been selected to serve as a 2016-2017 Afterschool Ambassador. She is one of just 15 leaders from across the nation chosen for the honor this year.
Each Afterschool Ambassador will continue directing or supporting a local afterschool program while also serving a one-year Afterschool Ambassador term, organizing public events, communicating with elected officials and policy makers, and in other ways growing support for afterschool programs.
A large and growing body of evidence demonstrates improvements in attendance, behavior, academic achievement and more among children in afterschool programs. Researchers have also found that afterschool programs encourage increased parental involvement – an important building block for student success.
“We are thrilled that Debra will serve as an Afterschool Ambassador this year,” said Afterschool Alliance Executive Director Jodi Grant. “She is a dedicated champion for quality afterschool and summer learning programs. I know she will mobilize business, community and faith leaders, lawmakers, educators, parents and others to increase resources for afterschool programs, which keep students safe, inspire them to learn and help working families. These programs offer hands-on learning opportunities, homework help, mentors, science and technology, access to healthy snacks and meals, sports and fitness, arts programming, civic engagement, and much more. I’m eager to work with Debra to bring us closer to the day when no children or youth are unsupervised and at risk after the school day ends.”
“I am delighted to support the Afterschool Alliance’s work to increase resources for afterschool programs, here and around the country,” said Jones. “In my 20 years of working in this field, I’ve witnessed firsthand the many ways that afterschool programs give students opportunities to explore their interests and discover their passions, while giving parents the peace of mind that comes with knowing their children are safe and supervised, with engaging, educational activities, during the afternoons. I look forward to raising awareness and support for the out-of-school-time opportunities all students need.”
The Youth Development Coalition of Lincoln County is a coalition of afterschool providers representing school-based and community-based programs. Coalition members collectively serve approximately 1,500 children at 24 countywide sites. Afterschool youth receive reading and math tutoring, homework help, community garden, recreation, science hands-on experiments, robotics activities, etc. Community partnerships play an important role in the Coalition’s programming, providing nutrition education, egg to fry science, USDA snacks and lunches. Coalition programs offer activities free or at a reduced cost.
Each Ambassador will organize a major event for Lights On Afterschool, the Afterschool Alliance’s annual rally for afterschool, to be held on October 20 this year. Last year, 1 million people participated in some 8,000 Lights On Afterschool events across the United States and at U.S. military bases worldwide.
The 2016-2017 Afterschool Ambassadors are:
Arizona: Jeremy King, Community Services Supervisor, Kid Zone Enrichment Program in Tempe;
Delaware: Beth Ohline, Senior Child Development Director, Bear-Glasgow YMCA in Newark;
District of Columbia: Daniela Grigioni, Executive Director, After-School All-Stars DC in Washington, D.C.;
Idaho: Lissa Hall, School Age Coordinator, Mountain Home Air Force Base Youth Programs in Mountain Home;
Illinois: Tammera Holmes, President & CEO, AeroStar Avion Institute in Country Club Hills;
Iowa: Nate Clark, Vice President, John Deere Foundation and Manager of Enterprise Citizenship, Deere & Company;
Maine: Amy Pichette, Director of Afterschool Programming, LearningWorks in Portland;
Michigan: Maria Mitter, Assistant Director, Eastern Michigan University Bright Futures 21st CCLC in Ypsilanti;
New Jersey: Sarah Cruz, Special Assistant, Newark Public Schools Office of Expanded Learning Time in Newark;
North Carolina: Bill McClain, Executive Director, Guiding Institute for Developmental Education (GIDE) in Winston-Salem;
North Carolina: Betsey McFarland, Executive Director, Wade Edwards Foundation in Raleigh;
Oregon: Debra Jones, Program Coordinator, Oceanspray Family Centers and Housing Authority of Lincoln County in Newport;
Rhode Island: Ayana Crichton, Expanded Learning Program Director, Cranston Public Schools in Cranston;
Wisconsin: Eric Vanden Heuvel, Chief Academic Officer, The Boys & Girls Club of Greater Green Bay in Green Bay; and
Wyoming: Tamra Petersen, Grant Coordinator, 21st CCLC Uinta B.O.C.E.S. #1 Education Center in Evanston.
The America After 3PM household survey of more than 30,000 families, commissioned by the Afterschool Alliance, found that participation in afterschool programs has increased to 10.2 million students nationwide, up from 6.5 million in 2004. But the unmet demand for afterschool programs has increased as well. Today, for every child in an afterschool program, there are two more whose parents say they would participate, if a program were available. Unmet demand is especially high in rural communities and communities of concentrated poverty. One in five students in the United States today is unsupervised after the school day ends.