Despite the wide range of benefits they offer children and youth, nearly 10,000 afterschool and summer programs could be closing their door within the next year. The latest budget proposal, released in April, calls for the elimination of 21st Century Community Learning Center (21st CCLC) funding, which provides $1.1B in grants awarded by states for local programs. If approved, these programs, and the 1.6 million children they serve, could be affected.

Despite the wide range of benefits they offer children and youth, nearly 10,000 afterschool and summer programs could be closing their door within the next year. The latest budget proposal, released in April, calls for the elimination of 21st Century Community Learning Center (21st CCLC) funding, which provides $1.1B in grants awarded by states for local programs. If approved, these programs, and the 1.6 million children they serve, could be affected.

Afterschool Alliance VP of Policy Erik Peterson hosted a webinar last month to discuss the impact the cuts could have on current grantees and the steps program leaders can take to help prevent cuts to afterschool in their state. During the Q & A, Peterson urged attendees to take action to save America’s afterschool programs and offered the following suggestions:

● Contact your local representatives. June 7 is National Day of Action. Take this opportunity to call or email your members of Congress to share personal success stories and to make your voice heard. Find your representative to learn more about his or her background and specific interests.

● Invite a lawmaker to tour your afterschool program. Leverage an upcoming recess to schedule a site visit. During the webinar, SHINE Afterschool Program Director Rachel Strucko shared what she’s doing to ensure her members of Congress see firsthand how afterschool is working for kids, families and the community. Check out these tips on creating innovative site visits.

● Show your program in action. Use email newsletters, social media and other digital and print channels to showcase the great things happening in your program. Alternatively, share your story with Afterschool Alliance and they may share your testimony in their print or digital publication. Telling your story helps to illustrate broad national support for afterschool programs.

Afterschool Alliance provides a ton of resources and information on taking action to save afterschool programs. We’ve also provided tips to help you advocate for afterschool here, here and here. To watch a recording of the webinar, visit http://afterschoolalliance.org/webinars.