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March 2010 Vol 1, Issue 6

Afterschool ActionNJ Afterschool Action
News, Policy and Research from NJSACC

Welcome to NJ Afterschool Action!
Photo of ED Diane Genco
The big story this month is budgets.  President Obama has proposed changes to the 21st Century Community Learning Center program, which currently provides high quality afterschool programs to more than 21,000 children in New Jersey.  You can read more about the President's proposal in this edition at NJ Afterschool Action.

On Tuesday, Governor Christie released his first proposed budget, which includes a $820,000 cut in school aid.  This is sure to adversely affect local afterschool programs around the state.  You can read more about it below, and see the size of the cuts for individual districts.

Meanwhile, NJSACC has just released Taking the Temperature of Afterschool, a statewide survey of afterschool stakeholders. Participants told us that afterschool plays a very important role in the education and development of children, and in keeping them safe in the afterschool hours.  We need to work together to help afterschool programs survive in this challenging economic climate.  They are necessary and valued.

Read. Learn. Get involved. Together we can make a difference.
Diane Genco
Results are In: "Taking the Temperature of Afterschool" Survey

Afterschool plays a key role in readying children for school and life success.  This was the resounding message delivered via NJSACC's survey, Taking the Temperature of Afterschool. Afterschool programs are appreciated because they give young people a chance to grow, mature and learn new skills.  They also provide a safe place for children to spend time when school is not in session.

We surveyed over 900 stakeholders.  They told us that quality is essential.  In fact, over 70% said that all afterschool programs should comply with state licensing criteria.  And they told us that NJSACC can play a critical role  by establishing quality standards for afterschool and by building public support.  Read the entire survey here.
Make Your Voice Heard on Proposed Budget Cuts

By now you have heard about Governor Christie's proposed budget that includes a $820 million cut in state aid to school districts and a $450 million cut to municipalities.  Afterschool programs are likely to feel these cuts as local governments and school boards make difficult choices about cutting services, programs and staff.

On Thursday, the Christie Administration released a district by district breakdown of education cuts.  Read about it here. 

The Senate and Assembly Budget Committees have scheduled hearings to discuss the budget.  The public is invited to testify.  If you want to make sure afterschool is considered, please attend the hearings and make your voice heard.
In This Issue
Results Are In: "Taking the Temperature of Afterschool" Survey
Make Your Voice Heard on Proposed Budget Cuts
Haddonfield Child Care: Offering Children Choices for 25 Years
Member of Congress Question Administration's Vision for 21st CCLC
Celebrate Afterschool Outdoors in the Garden State Coming the Week of May 10, 2010. Are you ready?
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Join NJSACC on Facebook
If you are on Facebook, please join NJSACC's our Facebook group.  We will be using Facebook to introduce our Afterschool Ambassadors, share information about trainings and events, and highlight important actions you can take to support afterschool.  Simply click the Facebook icon below to visit and join!

Haddonfield Child Care: Offering Children Choices for 25 Years
Haddonfield Child Care offers an afterschool chess club because students said they enjoy chess.  Arts and crafts activities, led by a local artist, reflect student interests.  The afterschool organization, which offers programs at three Haddonfield, gives children a chance to participate in planning activities.  "It gives them ownership of the program," explains executive director Denise Sellers.
Student participation is part of a comprehensive approach to afterschool that has made Haddonfield Child Care successful.  The programs provide a nurturing, safe and relaxed environment with opportunities for free play and structured activities that differ from those in the regular school day.  Under the direction of a caring staff, the programs aim to promote the development of social, emotional and physical skills.  Children range in age from kindergarten through eighth grade.  Former participants are encouraged to return as staff.
Daily activities include:
  • free play: games, indoor and outdoor recreation
  • structured group activities: including arts and crafts, community service projects
  • homework time and reading
  • opportunities to participate in on site school activities: e.g., scouting, foreign language programs
  • light snacks daily
"We offer a constantly changing range of activities to keep students engaged and growing-from gardening to stamp collecting," explains Sellers.  We have an artist who teaches kids to develop projects from 'found art' items that you find around the home, school or neighborhood.  We do literacy activities that feel completely different from the school day."
Haddonfield Child Care is an independent nonprofit organization. Parents pay a monthly fee to send children.  Over its 25 year history, the organization has developed a tuition assistance program for families that need financial support.  Haddonfield Child Care holds fundraising events to support the tuition assistance program.  Money is also donated by the United Way, community groups and PTAs, and current and former parents. 
Members of Congress Question Administration's Vision For 21st CCLC
For the second time in a month, U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan testified before a House of Representatives Committee on March 3 - and once again he faced congressional concern over the Administration's proposal for the 21st Century Community Learning Center (21st CCLC) afterschool initiative.
Celebrate Afterschool Outdoors in the Garden State Coming the Week of May 10, 2010.  Are you ready?
Join the Statewide Celebration of Afterschool and Nature! 
Celebrate Afterschool! Outdoors in the Garden State is a high-visibility, fun and educational event that uses nature as a teaching tool to build support for afterschool. Afterschool programs across the state will participate by hosting special programs during the week of May 10, 2010.
Click here to check out the event planning toolkit and activity resources.  It is never too soon to start planning, and we are here to help.  Contact NJSACC by emailing for more information.
Additionally, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) can also help you plan for Celebrate Afterschool Outdoors week.  DEP can connect you with environmental programs that can hold events at your site, offer field trips, bring experts and provide training.  Contact Tanya Oznowich, Environmental Education Supervisor in the Office of Constituent Services, via phone at (609) 984-9802 or email her at
Thank you so much for reading this edition of NJ Afterschool Action.  We want to hear from you, so please send your questions, comments, and ideas to 
Diane Genco
New Jersey School Age Care Coalition
This newsletter is a part of the New Jersey Afterschool Network, the policy arm of NJSACC. The Network builds lasting public support for quality afterschool programs across New Jersey. Led by a public-private partnership, the network enhances public awareness and support; offers guidance for parents, providers, and advocates; strengthens relationships with policymakers, funders, practitioners, and parents, and shares best practices in the field.