Underserved Middle School Student Afterschool and OST Program Grants

OUR GRANT OPPORTUNITIES: Youth Today’s grant listings are carefully curated for our subscribers working in youth-related industries. Subscribers will find local, state, regional and national grant opportunities.

THIS GRANT’S FOCUS: Education, Afterschool, OST, Youth Development, Middle School, Underserved Youth
Deadline:
Jan. 24, 2020

“The New York Life Foundation will award 26 grants to out-of-school time programs serving disadvantaged middle school youth through their Aim High grant program. The Aim High program is part of the New York Life Foundation’s ongoing investment in middle school OST programs to help economically disadvantaged eighth-graders reach ninth grade on time and prepared to succeed in high school. The grant program will fund afterschool, summer, and expanded learning programs in the 50 states and the District of Columbia, based on a competitive application process.

This year, the Aim High grant program will provide $1,350,000 to support 26 awards nationwide in three categories as follows:

  • $100,000 – 8 grants of $50,000 per year over the span of two years will go to OST programs with annual program budgets of $250,000 or more and annual organizational budgets of $500,000 or more.
  • $50,000 – 8 grants of $25,000 per year over the span of two years will go to OST programs with annual organizational budgets of $250,000 or more.
  • $15,000 –  10 grants over one year will go to OST programs with annual organizational budgets of $150,000 or more with a focus on addressing opioid and other substance misuse in their community by helping youth develop protective factors and employing approaches that support youth affected by trauma and adverse childhood experiences.”

Funder: The New York Life Foundation and Afterschool Alliance
Eligibility:
“This competitive grant program is open to all nonprofit afterschool and summer learning programs that serve middle school students and meet the requirements… Organizations applying for these competitive grants must be 501(c)(3) organizations and will be required to submit their Employer Identification Number (EIN) to verify their status.”
Amount:
$15,000 – $100,000
Contact:
Link.


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Reduced soil tilling helps both soils and yields

Agriculture degrades over 24 million acres of fertile soil every year, raising concerns about meeting the rising global demand for food. But a simple farming practice born from the 1930’s Dust Bowl could provide a solution, according to new Stanford research. The study, published Dec. 6 in Environmental Research Letters, shows that Midwest farmers who reduced how much they overturned the soil—known as tilling—increased corn and soybean yields while also nurturing healthier soils and lowering production costs.

Power of Youth Challenge Fuels Solutions Like College Prep, Blue Lollipops

Power of Youth: High school students in 2 lines in classroom

DFW Youth Success

Students in Fort Worth, Texas, gather at the summer college prep workshop created by students Isaac Espinal and Hannah Sturgill to broaden access to college counseling. They were among young people who identified problems and developed solutions as part of the Power of Youth Challenge.

When Isaac Espinal was in the eighth grade in Fort Worth, Texas, he compared his local public school with a nearby private school. Paschal High School had classes of 25 or more students, compared with 15 to 18 students in the private Trinity Valley School. Instead of a graduating class of perhaps 400, the private school had fewer than 100. 

He saw the personal attention available at the private school and how students were groomed for college.

“I applied to Trinity Valley and I got a full scholarship,” he said.

Last year, as a senior there, he decided to address the inequalities he saw in educational opportunity. He and fellow student Hannah Sturgill created a youth-led nonprofit to coach and support students toward college or other higher education. Forty students from three public high schools met every Saturday in July and August for college counseling, test prep assistance and hearing from current college students how they made it.

Called DFW Youth Success, the project was one of 10 winners in the 2019 America’s Promise Alliance Power of Youth Challenge, which challenges youth to identify an injustice in their community and develop a solution. America’s Promise Alliance is a nonprofit organization that brings together a network of other organizations and people to improve opportunity for youth.

Power of Youth Challenge winners have shown “exceptional passion, creativity, empathy and determination to make their communities a better place,” said John Gomperts, president and CEO of America’s Promise, in a statement. “What’s more … they’re empowering other young people to go out there and do the same.”

Espinal spent several months researching what students needed in order to make access to higher education more equitable.

“The research phase was the biggest and hardest thing to do,” he said. He visited some of the strongest and weakest schools in his district and interviewed students and high school counselors. They requested help in having a consistent college focus, he said.

The Saturday workshops, which will resume in January, help students clarify their goals and interests, as well as stay on track in the college testing and application process, Espinal said. Students can get connected to internships and opportunities they otherwise might not learn about.

Another winner in the Power of Youth Challenge, Patterson, N.Y., student Riley Damiano, started the Blue Lollipop Project, which raised $20,000 for child cancer research. Prompted by a child with cancer who loved blue lollipops, it has sent 20,000 “blue smiles” to children with cancer.

In Washington, D.C., the Pathways 2 Power Focus Group co-founded by student Lauryn Renford leads discussions on violence and how to change the mindset that sees violence as natural.

In Honolulu, Hawaii, Dyson Chee has made presentations to more than 2,000 people about how plastics are polluting the ocean. Chee led a campaign to replace single-use plastic straws with stainless steel ones.

A total of 86 projects were submitted in the Power of Youth Challenge, which was announced in December 2018. The entrants received $250 each to implement their projects over six months. The top 10 projects, chosen by youth leaders at Peace First, received grants of $1,000 each. Funds were provided by the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation.

The goal of the Power of Youth Challenge is to encourage youth leadership and to connect young people with ways to meet the needs of their communities, according to America’s Promise. It’s also part of the organization’s goal to promote youth voice locally and nationally.

The post Power of Youth Challenge Fuels Solutions Like College Prep, Blue Lollipops appeared first on Youth Today.


Where Are LGBTQ Youth in Gun Violence Conversation?

LGBTQ: Young woman with gay power sign at gun violence protest.

CREATISTA/Shutterstock

.

“He lifted up his shirt, and he pulled out the pistol. He laid it on my forehead, and was like, ‘Don’t you know I will kill you?’” 

These are the words of Jerel Maddox, a former member of the Alabama-based dance team the Prancing Elites, featured on a TV show of the same name on the Oxygen network. In this episode, he struggles to describe what he calls, “the worst experience of his life,” the day his father pulled out a gun and ended up firing off several rounds inside of the house. Jerel recalls his father saying, “I wish you were the son I flushed down the toilet instead of getting your mom pregnant,” or saying Jerel is “less of a human” for being gay. 

LGBTQ: Jabari Lyles (headshot), LGBTQ affairs coordinator for Baltimore, smiling young man with very short hair, blue shirt.

Jabari Lyles

Jerel’s story is one of many tales of hate, anger, pain and violence that lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer youth face daily. The same way this hate erupted into violence involving a gun for Jerel illustrates how easily this could happen for other LGBTQ youth. LGBTQ youth are targets for gun violence, but why have gun violence advocates left them out?

According to a recent study on gun violence against LGBT people, nearly one-fifth of hate crimes are based on sexual orientation or gender identity bias, and sexual and gender minority students are more likely to be threatened with a weapon at school than heterosexual students. The same study found that 10% to 20% of LGB people report having attempted suicide at least once in their lifetime, and that more than half (51%) of all suicides in the U.S. are by firearm.

Many LGBTQ youth assuredly find themselves at the intersection of hate and bullying, family rejection and suicidal ideation. According to the Centers for Disease Control, LGB youth seriously contemplate suicide at almost three times the rate of heterosexual youth, and are almost five times as likely to have attempted suicide compared to heterosexual youth. Findings from the Family Acceptance Project show that LGB young adults who reported higher levels of family rejection during adolescence were 8.4 times more likely to report having attempted suicide. 

According to the 2017 GLSEN National School Climate Survey, more than half of LGBTQ students (59.5%) reported feeling unsafe at school because of their sexual orientation and 4 in 10 students (44.6%) felt unsafe because of how they expressed their gender. LGBTQ youth have to contend with hate and hostility at home and in school. 

Few questions were asked when Jordan Cofer, a 22-year-old trans man, was shot and killed by his brother during the mass shooting that occurred in Dayton, Ohio, earlier this year. Jordan was the very first person shot. And although those who were close to Jordan report he was not out to many as transgender, including his family, who knows to what extent his gender expression or nonconformity played a role in being a target of his brother’s violence.

Does anyone remember the killing of Letisha King? Letisha was a student at E.O. Green Junior High School in Oxnard, Calif., who was shot in the head twice by a fellow classmate, Brandon McInerney, a day after making flirtatious gestures. Many thought, including the jurors, McInerney was not guilty of a hate crime, and is furthermore possibly a victim of sexual harassment and bullying himself due to the unwanted advances from King. A mistrial was declared in the first trial. 

At the second trial, McInerney was charged with second-degree murder, voluntary manslaughter and use of a firearm, but no hate crime. King’s death is another example of the outrageousness of the gay panic or trans panic defense, which seeks to justify violence if it is based on a reaction to someone’s gender identity or sexual orientation. This legal loophole makes seeking justice for hate-related crime in some states more difficult. Currently there are only eight states in the U.S. that have passed a ban to this defense, with a handful of other states attempting to push legislation through committee. 

So far in 2019, 22 transgender people have been killed in the United States, an overwhelming majority black trans women, an overwhelming majority shot dead with a firearm. Looking upstream, due to discrimination against and dehumanization of transgender people, particularly transgender women of color, often the situations society forces trans people into make it inevitable they will have an experience with gun violence. 

Black trans women in our country and around the world have to scrape through life on survival tactics. Many of these women are forced into sex work, forced to steal, forced into homelessness, forced into seroconversion, all to have a chance at life. It isn’t difficult, then, to draw a line from the predicament of sex work, theft or living on the street to being confronted with gun violence. 

Here’s what must be done

If this type of hate and ostracization begins at a young age, why aren’t we discussing how LGBTQ youth are a particularly at-risk group to gun violence? The answer to this question might be the same answer to the many questions LGBTQ rights advocates have about this country’s legacy of inattention to the needs and experiences of LGBTQ people. Hate is still very real.

But what can be done? We must aggressively create a world where LGBTQ youth can truly believe they are safe. This goes beyond the typical safe space posters, stickers, trainings, videos and clubs. While these are all extremely important measures, measures that I work on each day, we must aim for LGBTQ youth to have lived experiences with safety. 

LGBTQ youth deserve to live in a world where they truly feel and believe they are safe, rather than having to believe in the people working to make them safe. Right now, few districts across the country mandate teacher training on LGBTQ issues; have comprehensive policies on treatment of LGBTQ youth in juvenile detention facilities or child welfare programs; mandate LGBTQ-inclusive curricula, especially medically accurate sex education; have hate crime reporting laws, or have a ban on LGBTQ panic defenses. 

These policies must be supported with plans for enforcement and testing, as well as ample opportunities for education, training and resources. Action on these items requires bold leadership. Leaders must be willing to take on the issue of LGBTQ youth head on. 

Although gun violence is the primary topic here, LGBTQ youth are being left behind in nearly every system and facet of our society. Many of us sit idly by while we allow LGBTQ youth fall behind in education, housing, foster care, law enforcement, health and employment, to name a few. LGBTQ children are children with targets on their backs. Won’t you protect them?

Jabari Lyles is the LGBTQ affairs coordinator for Baltimore in the Office of Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young. With a background in teaching, nonprofit leadership, education policy and diversity training, Jabari is one of Maryland’s leading advocates for the LGBTQ community, particularly LGBTQ youth.

The post Where Are LGBTQ Youth in Gun Violence Conversation? appeared first on Youth Today.


Where Are LGBTQ Youth in Gun Violence Conversation?

LGBTQ: Young woman with gay power sign at gun violence protest.

CREATISTA/Shutterstock

.

“He lifted up his shirt, and he pulled out the pistol. He laid it on my forehead, and was like, ‘Don’t you know I will kill you?’” 

These are the words of Jerel Maddox, a former member of the Alabama-based dance team the Prancing Elites, featured on a TV show of the same name on the Oxygen network. In this episode, he struggles to describe what he calls, “the worst experience of his life,” the day his father pulled out a gun and ended up firing off several rounds inside of the house. Jerel recalls his father saying, “I wish you were the son I flushed down the toilet instead of getting your mom pregnant,” or saying Jerel is “less of a human” for being gay. 

LGBTQ: Jabari Lyles (headshot), LGBTQ affairs coordinator for Baltimore, smiling young man with very short hair, blue shirt.

Jabari Lyles

Jerel’s story is one of many tales of hate, anger, pain and violence that lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer youth face daily. The same way this hate erupted into violence involving a gun for Jerel illustrates how easily this could happen for other LGBTQ youth. LGBTQ youth are targets for gun violence, but why have gun violence advocates left them out?

According to a recent study on gun violence against LGBT people, nearly one-fifth of hate crimes are based on sexual orientation or gender identity bias, and sexual and gender minority students are more likely to be threatened with a weapon at school than heterosexual students. The same study found that 10% to 20% of LGB people report having attempted suicide at least once in their lifetime, and that more than half (51%) of all suicides in the U.S. are by firearm.

Many LGBTQ youth assuredly find themselves at the intersection of hate and bullying, family rejection and suicidal ideation. According to the Centers for Disease Control, LGB youth seriously contemplate suicide at almost three times the rate of heterosexual youth, and are almost five times as likely to have attempted suicide compared to heterosexual youth. Findings from the Family Acceptance Project show that LGB young adults who reported higher levels of family rejection during adolescence were 8.4 times more likely to report having attempted suicide. 

According to the 2017 GLSEN National School Climate Survey, more than half of LGBTQ students (59.5%) reported feeling unsafe at school because of their sexual orientation and 4 in 10 students (44.6%) felt unsafe because of how they expressed their gender. LGBTQ youth have to contend with hate and hostility at home and in school. 

Few questions were asked when Jordan Cofer, a 22-year-old trans man, was shot and killed by his brother during the mass shooting that occurred in Dayton, Ohio, earlier this year. Jordan was the very first person shot. And although those who were close to Jordan report he was not out to many as transgender, including his family, who knows to what extent his gender expression or nonconformity played a role in being a target of his brother’s violence.

Does anyone remember the killing of Letisha King? Letisha was a student at E.O. Green Junior High School in Oxnard, Calif., who was shot in the head twice by a fellow classmate, Brandon McInerney, a day after making flirtatious gestures. Many thought, including the jurors, McInerney was not guilty of a hate crime, and is furthermore possibly a victim of sexual harassment and bullying himself due to the unwanted advances from King. A mistrial was declared in the first trial. 

At the second trial, McInerney was charged with second-degree murder, voluntary manslaughter and use of a firearm, but no hate crime. King’s death is another example of the outrageousness of the gay panic or trans panic defense, which seeks to justify violence if it is based on a reaction to someone’s gender identity or sexual orientation. This legal loophole makes seeking justice for hate-related crime in some states more difficult. Currently there are only eight states in the U.S. that have passed a ban to this defense, with a handful of other states attempting to push legislation through committee. 

So far in 2019, 22 transgender people have been killed in the United States, an overwhelming majority black trans women, an overwhelming majority shot dead with a firearm. Looking upstream, due to discrimination against and dehumanization of transgender people, particularly transgender women of color, often the situations society forces trans people into make it inevitable they will have an experience with gun violence. 

Black trans women in our country and around the world have to scrape through life on survival tactics. Many of these women are forced into sex work, forced to steal, forced into homelessness, forced into seroconversion, all to have a chance at life. It isn’t difficult, then, to draw a line from the predicament of sex work, theft or living on the street to being confronted with gun violence. 

Here’s what must be done

If this type of hate and ostracization begins at a young age, why aren’t we discussing how LGBTQ youth are a particularly at-risk group to gun violence? The answer to this question might be the same answer to the many questions LGBTQ rights advocates have about this country’s legacy of inattention to the needs and experiences of LGBTQ people. Hate is still very real.

But what can be done? We must aggressively create a world where LGBTQ youth can truly believe they are safe. This goes beyond the typical safe space posters, stickers, trainings, videos and clubs. While these are all extremely important measures, measures that I work on each day, we must aim for LGBTQ youth to have lived experiences with safety. 

LGBTQ youth deserve to live in a world where they truly feel and believe they are safe, rather than having to believe in the people working to make them safe. Right now, few districts across the country mandate teacher training on LGBTQ issues; have comprehensive policies on treatment of LGBTQ youth in juvenile detention facilities or child welfare programs; mandate LGBTQ-inclusive curricula, especially medically accurate sex education; have hate crime reporting laws, or have a ban on LGBTQ panic defenses. 

These policies must be supported with plans for enforcement and testing, as well as ample opportunities for education, training and resources. Action on these items requires bold leadership. Leaders must be willing to take on the issue of LGBTQ youth head on. 

Although gun violence is the primary topic here, LGBTQ youth are being left behind in nearly every system and facet of our society. Many of us sit idly by while we allow LGBTQ youth fall behind in education, housing, foster care, law enforcement, health and employment, to name a few. LGBTQ children are children with targets on their backs. Won’t you protect them?

Jabari Lyles is the LGBTQ affairs coordinator for Baltimore in the Office of Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young. With a background in teaching, nonprofit leadership, education policy and diversity training, Jabari is one of Maryland’s leading advocates for the LGBTQ community, particularly LGBTQ youth.

The post Where Are LGBTQ Youth in Gun Violence Conversation? appeared first on Youth Today.


Transition to renewable energy needs to consider global threat to species

A new study has shown the extent to which countries drive biodiversity loss overseas through their demand for electric power. For some countries more than half of the impact on species is overseas. While the study found that the shift towards renewable electric needed to combat climate change would likely reduce the impacts on biodiversity, the overseas impact makes it difficult to understand how “green” our electric really is.

Book Makes Strong Case For Free Play: Will After-school Field Take Note?

ost: children of color enjoying playing with toys on the floor

Rawpixel.com/Shutterstock

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Let the Children Play: How More Play Will Save Our Schools and Help Children Thrive | By Pasi Sahlberg and William Doyle | Oxford University Press | 2019 | 472 pages

Several years ago when Pasi Sahlberg was a visiting professor of practice at Harvard, he took his young son to visit a Cambridge, Mass., preschool.

The preschool director asked Sahlberg how many words his son knew.

My son is only 3, Sahlberg thought. Who cares how many words he knows?

To Sahlberg, measuring vocabulary as an assessment of “preschool readiness” was absurd.

Children that age learn largely through play, games, songs and conversation, and it’s the school’s job to meet the needs of the child, not measure the child against inappropriate standards, he believes.

Sahlberg is from Finland, where children start school at age 7, have less homework, take few if any standardized tests and, in many elementary schools, run out to play for 15 minutes after each lesson. Its 15-year-olds have performed at the top of the international test known as PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment).

[Related: After the school day in Finland, play and more play]

[Related: How Finland handles the worldwide problem of decreasing physical activity among kids]

Contrast that to the United States and other countries infected with GERM, the acronym Sahlberg and co-author William Doyle used to denote the “Global Education Reform Movement.”

The two have collaborated on the book “Let the Children Play: How More Play Will Save Our Schools and Help Children Thrive.”

They say that GERM is a mistaken effort to improve academic achievement by using standardized testing, pitting school against school, deprofessionalizing teaching and kicking art, music and play out of school. They argue that these practices have not raised academic achievement among students in the United States.

Instead it has helped create “emotionally desolate, bleak, oppressive environments for our children,” they wrote. 

The book cites, among other examples:

  • a 2018 finding by the American Academy of Pediatrics that 30% of kindergartens no longer have recess
  • a 2016 Washington Post article that only 5% of D.C. public schools give students the mandated amount of physical education
  • news articles about the seven-year lack of recess for most Chicago Public Schools students until parents insisted it be reinstated.

The loss of play is a terrible thing, Sahlberg and co-author Doyle wrote, and is contrary to the advice of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the National Academy of Sciences and to the wishes of many teachers and parents.

“A striking body of scientific evidence and breakthroughs produced in studies, experiments and classroom experiences around the world strongly suggests that children learn best over the long term in environments that are rich in play, and that play is both the engine of childhood and the basis of effective childhood education and future academic achievement,” they wrote.

Sahlberg and Doyle cite the LiiNK project adopted by a group of Texas schools that focuses on the whole child and includes four 15-minute unstructured outdoor play breaks each day. On-task behaviors improved 30%, according to published studies of the project.

And when the diverse, high-poverty Lincoln Unified School District in Stockton, Calif., added an hour of open-ended free play to both ends of the kindergarten day, students improved in both academic measures and in emotional regulation, they wrote.

Education experts express grave concerns about the lack of play within school and the lessening of unstructured outdoor play at home.

What should be done after school?

“Let the Children Play” makes little mention of after-school programs.

The oft-cited strength of out-of-school time programs is that they are informal learning spaces in which adults and children can develop good relationships, kids can exercise choice and explore in ways not possible in the highly structured school day.

Well-done after-school programs based on the ideas of positive youth development can expand and enrich a child’s world and allow mastery in new areas.

In many ways, such programs are in line with the spirit of play expressed in the book.

But even within these programs, how much time is structured vs. unstructured? If the regimentation of the school day is a problem, after-school leaders should think carefully about how to offer respite.

When leaders look at some after-school programs through the lens of this book,

they may see children cooped up inside school cafeterias, restlessly doing homework and having to be urged and cajoled into being orderly. In their zeal to produce “outcomes,” how many after-school programs are overlooking simple, basic needs of children to run and play outdoors?

A counter-argument often made is that too much is at stake to let kids play. What about the academic achievement gap between kids based on race and income?

It is low-income children who experience the most regimentation in school, Sahlberg and Doyle argue. While 83% of U.S. schoolchildren above the poverty line have recess, only 56% of those below the poverty line do, the book said. The gap also exists when comparing black and white students.

The book makes a case not only for the value of free play but the necessity of it: It is where children in fact develop the social and emotional abilities that they need.

The book cites numerous education experts:

Setting up a game and negotiating the rules develops the prefrontal cortex, says one. Children learn to get along with each other and manage frustration, says a second. When they play make-believe, children try on the role of another person — their feelings, motives and action — and in doing so, move into greater understanding of others, says a third.

In its urgency to prove a point, the book suffers from an over-reliance on lists. It provides study after study, expert after expert — and even offers a 43-point school quality dashboard.

But it clearly rounds up convincing evidence, and it can be an important resource to anyone seeking to change practices both in school and after school.

It also makes the reader want to go out and play — it’s a clarion call back to the world of childhood joy and exploration.

The post Book Makes Strong Case For Free Play: Will After-school Field Take Note? appeared first on Youth Today.


Specialized Case Management for Young Adults in Extended Federal Foster Care

See Full Report

Author(s): Urban Institute

Published: Dec. 2, 2019

Report Intro/Brief:
“For many decades, child welfare agencies—with few exceptions—only served children. But in the past 10 years, many states have extended foster care eligibility to age 21, and some provide supportive services through age 23. This brief highlights the types of challenges and emerging program and policy practices child welfare agencies and other providers and stakeholders may face in meeting the needs of transition-age youth in extended foster care. The brief also poses recommendations for creating a responsive child welfare system for young adults.”


>>> CLICK HERE to see all of Youth Today’s REPORT LIBRARY

The post Specialized Case Management for Young Adults in Extended Federal Foster Care appeared first on Youth Today.


Specialized Case Management for Young Adults in Extended Federal Foster Care

See Full Report

Author(s): Urban Institute

Published: Dec. 2, 2019

Report Intro/Brief:
“For many decades, child welfare agencies—with few exceptions—only served children. But in the past 10 years, many states have extended foster care eligibility to age 21, and some provide supportive services through age 23. This brief highlights the types of challenges and emerging program and policy practices child welfare agencies and other providers and stakeholders may face in meeting the needs of transition-age youth in extended foster care. The brief also poses recommendations for creating a responsive child welfare system for young adults.”


>>> CLICK HERE to see all of Youth Today’s REPORT LIBRARY

The post Specialized Case Management for Young Adults in Extended Federal Foster Care appeared first on Youth Today.