March 15 is TAN Hill Day for the Tennessee Afterschool Network, so we are hosting a communications contest for Out of School Time programs in Tennessee. The top five out-of-school-time programs that have their elementary school students post on social media, send cards and letters to their elected officials, send emails, post student testimonials on their website, and encourage their students to communicate with their elected officials in other ways will win $200 for a pizza party or other rewards for students – however you want to spend it!
The contest will be judged based on the different ways your program’s students communicate with their elected officials and other audiences, the number of different types of communications and volume of each, and the reach of their efforts.
That means for judging purposes, we will look at:
- Number of social media posts on both Twitter and Facebook (Instagram and other channels can be used as well), and the reach, likes, shares, and numbers of comments on the posts.
- Number of cards and letters sent to your elected officials, quality of the students’ testimonials, creativity, and uniqueness of their ideas.
- Number of emails students send to your elected officials.
- Number of other ways of your students communicate with your audiences – such as email newsletters, posting on your website, letters or emails to parents asking them to contact their elected officials, etc.
Proof for Awards
To win one of the top five awards of $200, you will need to show us copies of your social media posts complete with likes, comments, reach, and shares; copies of letters with who they were sent to and how many; a photo of your cards together before sending and how many were gathered and sent; copies of emails; dates and times of phone calls, and URLs for websites.
Look at these materials from the YMCA:
Your posts, letters, cards, and other material should all be about supporting Afterschool in Tennessee and telling the legislature why you love afterschool. We will provide you with stats to use in your posts if you want to, but we prefer it if you tell your own stories and use pictures of yourselves having fun to adorn your social media posts and other forms of communications. If your program is involved in any form of service learning, that is an even better story to tell about how your students are giving back to the community and learning at the same time. And always remember to use the hashtag #TANHillDay23
We will provide you with sample posts and information to use and to give you ideas for the contest, but we will also give you links to information to use for your project:
- Go to https://www.tn.gov/government/elected-officials.html or go to https://wapp.capitol.tn.gov/Apps/fmlv3/districts.aspx to find your TN state legislators (house and senate). This is a great opportunity to teach your students about how government works. And you can call or write to any legislator, not just your own.
- Go to http://afterschoolalliance.org/AA3PM/data/geo/Tennessee/overview for information and statistics about afterschool in TN – it’s a wealth of data.
- Go to https://afterschool.nptoolkit.org/ for lots of good sample materials from our national partner – just remember to say or reference Tennessee Afterschool Network instead of the national partner. The legislators know TAN and we have built a reputation with them.
- Go to the TAN website at http://www.tnafterschool.org/about/afterschool-serves-tn/service-learning-profiles/ to see samples of service learning profiles, stories, & photos.
- Have your students create cards out of construction paper or other materials telling their elected officials how much they like your afterschool program and why.
- Have students write emails to their elected officials about what they’ve learned in afterschool and how it’s helped them.
- Have your students create an original piece of artwork or make a poster for your elected official telling them why they care about afterschool or explaining how afterschool has gotten them involved in helping their community.
- Have your students post on their social media channels about why they love your program.
- Have your students create a one-or-two-minute presentation for their elected officials. Film it on your smart phone, since you can’t meet in person, and post it on you tube or on your social media or web site. Tag your elected officials or even email it to them.
- Have your students do a special service-learning project for another organization. Have them take pictures of their work and write a one paragraph summary about why the project was important, or fun, or even educational and how the project helped the recipient organization.
Sample Social Media Posts
- Dear (@Legislator), I love Afterschool at (@organization social media tag) because I’ve learned so much about (XYZ topic). It’s also kept me safe and helped me with my homework.
- Dear (@legislator), I sure hope you’ll support afterschool programs in Tennessee, because I would hate not going to (@afterschool program) because I would miss all the wonderful friends I’ve made.
- Dear (@Legislator), my mom works late, so (@afterschool program) keeps me safe, gives me dinner, helps me with my homework, and gives me fun things to do.
- I go to (@afterschool program) and I love it because….
- I love my afterschool program at (@afterschool program) because every Thursday they take us to (@Organization) to do XYZ activity.
- Service Learning is an important part of my afterschool program. I especially like it when we go to the nursing home to read/talk to the residents. They tell funny stories, and they really seem to like it when we visit.
Dear [legislator name here],
My name is [name here] and I’m a student at [afterschool program name here].
I hope you’ll support afterschool programs in Tennessee because I love coming here and I don’t know what I would do without it. My favorite activity is [XYZ] but everything is fun. On Mondays we help at a local animal shelter, on Tuesdays we check out books at the public library, and on Wednesdays we go to a museum. Thursdays are when we can get help with our homework.
Please don’t stop funding afterschool because it makes a big difference in my life and my friends’ lives too.
Thank you for listening to me.
Yours Truly, [name here]