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MnSACA Afterschool Professionals Appreciation Week
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The 2018 Afterschool Professionals Appreciation Week is April 23-27!

Afterschool Professionals Appreciation Week, sponsored by the National Afterschool Association (NAA), is a time, each April, when we recognize and appreciate those who work with youth during afterschool hours. It is a joint effort including community partnerships, afterschool programs, youth and child care workers, families and individuals. The week is marked by celebrations and public relations efforts to encourage people to thank afterschool professionals who make a difference in the lives of young people in their connumities.

The 2017 Afterschool Professionals Appreciation Week was April 24–28

An Afterschool Professional is someone who works with children and youth in diverse school and community-based settings to provide a wide variety of extended learning opportunities and care during afterschool hours. An estimated 10.2 million children participate in afterschool programs each year. Today, afterschool programs are viewed as much more than just childcare. They are widely credited as the way to provide enhanced education in STEM, literacy, arts, social emotional learning, health & wellness, and more. With that demand comes increased responsibility, education/professional development requirements, and support from the community.

Thank you to all who participated in 2017! See how MnSACA celebrated on Facebook and Twitter, and check out what programs across the country did in honor of the week by searching social media for the hashtag #heartofafterschool.


You can celebrate in so many different ways, big and small. Use the following resources to get started!


How will Minnesota afterschool programs be celebrating?

Check out our program spotlights to see the great work being done for children, families and staff throughout our communities.

Keystone Community Kids

Northport Adventure Club

Woodland Kidstop


Keystone Community Kids

Keystone Community Kids has been accredited by the Minnesota Afterschool Accreditation Program (MAAP) for six years. Community Kids is a 21st Century Community Learning Center located in the West 7th Community Center in St. Paul. They serve students in grades K-10 and are open afterschool and full-time on school release days and during the summer. 90% of their students are from low-income households in St. Paul. Keystone impacts barriers of cost and transportation because their program is free during the school year, has a low-cost sliding fee scale during the summer, and they provide transportation for those who need it. Their staff partner closely with parents and school teachers to impact school success.

Students receive daily homework help, weekly reading and math instruction from licensed teachers, and frequent visits to an onsite library. Students receive weekly instruction in the Second Step violence prevention curriculum that teaches empathy, impulse control, problem-solving, and emotion management. They have a STEM Specialist that coaches their FIRST LEGO League robotics team and provides STEM instruction for all age groups.

Community Kids offers a wide variety of enrichment activities such as art, theater, dance, music, nutrition, cooking, and gardening. They offer sports such as tennis, basketball, soccer, and swimming lessons. Students participate in service learning such as decorating bags for Meals on Wheels recipients, packing food at Feed My Starving Children, and making "kindness cards" for the Jewish Community Center after they recently received a bomb threat. They conduct educational and recreational field trips to museums, zoos, sporting events, and nature centers in order to expand students' knowledge and vocabulary.

Keystone's diverse staff speaks Oromo, Somali, and Hmong. Their Americorps Promise Fellow keeps the 5th-10th grade students connected to school by checking grades, attendance, behavior, and homework assignments with students several times a week, using their school computer portal which helps them plan improvement strategies. Ratios are lowered with the assistance of 40 college, corporate, and community volunteers - including seniors, which incorporates inter-generational mentoring.

They have many opportunities for families to participate and socialize. Parent-teacher conferences are conducted three times a year. They hold parent dinners in the fall and spring, and an annual youth talent show in the summer. They have free family movie night once a month and hold free book fairs. Keystone also provides five parent education sessions throughout the year to help parents connect with schools and become an advocate for their children's education.

Keystone Community Kids will celebrate Afterschool Professionals Appreciation Week by hanging appreciation signs throughout the center, posting a "thank you" on social media, and enjoying treats at their weekly staff meeting.

Northport Adventure Club 

Northport Elementary, Grades K-5, is a public school located in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota. Adventure Club is the School-Age Care program at the school. This is the 40th year that Adventure Club has been part of the Robbinsdale district. Northport Adventure Club was accredited by the Minnesota Afterschool Accreditation Program (MAAP) for the first time in 2014. They are currently going through the reaccreditation process.

Northport Adventure Club is unique in that they currently have only 19 children enrolled and operate only in the mornings. Any children registered for the afternoon component are bused to a nearby school. They rotate and share staff from both schools, so both the children and parents have a cohesive transition. Their staff are committed to having a quality program despite having a smaller site. They offer a choice-based program, with learning centers for writing, reading, art, science, math, social studies, manipulatives, games, puzzles, sensory activities, and dramatic play. Each day they have either an adult or child-led project offered, as well as computer time, gym, or outside choices. Northport brainstorms with the children about community service projects that can be done each month. One of their favorites was making sandwiches for The Sandwich Project. Their students are aware that there are homeless people in their community and wanted to make a difference for them. They recently held a Family Game Night combined with their shared school. Families came together for dinner and to play games with one another. They also donated items to the Ronald McDonald House.

During Afterschool Professionals Appreciation Week, Northport will have a drive-thru for parents. When they come to drop off their children, they will be met at their car, signed in, and offered a light breakfast. The children will help as they arrive. On Arbor Day, April 28, they will be planting trees in pots for the children to take home and plant somewhere of their choice.

Northport Adventure Club celebrates everyone daily by greeting one another, and recognizing birthdays or other special events in people's lives. On May 5, Adventure Club will be holding their 40th Anniversary Family Night. There will be swimming, bounce houses, crazy hair, a photo booth, Bingo, and many other activities, as well as food.

Woodland Kidstop

Woodland Kidstop is a school-age care program located in Brooklyn Park. Currently, they have 171 K-5 students enrolled. Kidstop has been a part of the Osseo School District since 1983 and at Woodland Elementary since the school opened. They are currently going through the MAAP accreditation proecess.

Woodland Kidstop is a diverse community with a huge heart. Some of their most successful groups are their Kidstop in Action and their Youth Advisory Council. Kidstop in Action is a group that focuses on solving problems in the community through advocacy, as well as direct and indirect service. Their students successfully made fidget buckets for their Special Education classrooms, created baskets for students in the districts that are less fortunate, and raised money for homeless families. Their Youth Advisory Council helps to solve problems for the program, suggests new toys or field trips, and plans activities.

For Afterschool Professionals Appreciation Week, Woodland Kidstop will have special treats throughout the week. They celebrate children and families every day by handing out "Soar" tickets to their students, as well as sending good notes home for families to read.


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