By Kelly D. Drummond, Tennessee’s Afterschool Ambassador
Afterschool programs serve as hubs for our community. Our youth and their families rely on our services and need our support. As such, we are uniquely positioned to be an advocate for the youth we serve and their families. We are also well positioned to advocate for our program’s needs. Through the Afterschool Alliance, I recently attended the Afterschool for All Challenge in Washington, D.C. More than 150 afterschool providers from 36 states visited with their congressional representatives. During my visit with Senator Alexander, Senator, Corker, Congressman Duncan, and their staff representatives, I expressed my sincere appreciation for their support of afterschool programs, reiterated the importance of the 21 st CCLC funding, invited them to see our programs in action during the summer, and told them bout the Lights on Afterschool on October 20. Each of my visits were well received and each representative planned to visit our programs this summer.
As afterschool providers, I encourage each of you to reach out to your local and state elected officials and invite them to visit your programs this summer. Think of their visit as an opportunity for you to highlight the benefits and positive outcomes of your program. During their visits to your programs, encourage the elected officials to get to know your young people and their families. After their visit, remember to send a personal note of thanks for their time. This summer is the perfect opportunity to advocate for your programs and highlight the importance of afterschool in your community. We are our own best advocates. We must ensure that our elected officials understand our programs and services. I encourage you to advocate and educate this summer.
Kelly Drummond, with Boys & Girls Clubs of the Tennessee Valley, is a TN Afterschool Network Steering Committee member and was selected earlier this school year by the Afterschool Alliance to serve as an Afterschool Ambassador for Tennessee.