Rico X Will Work in Tennessee and Nationally to Increase Access to Afterschool Programs.
Contact: Magen Eissenstat, 202/371-1999
News Release: October 3, 2019
Washington, DC – The Afterschool Alliance today announced that Rico X, Vice President of School Age Services at the YMCA of Middle Tennessee, has been selected to serve as an Afterschool Ambassador for the Afterschool Alliance in 2019-2020. He is one of just 15 leaders in the United States chosen for the honor this year. Ambassadors will continue their work supporting local afterschool programs while serving the one-year Afterschool Ambassador term, organizing public events, communicating with policy makers and community leaders, and in other ways increasing awareness and support for afterschool and summer learning programs.
“We are delighted that Rico X will serve as an Afterschool Ambassador this year,” said Afterschool Alliance Executive Director Jodi Grant. “With federal funding for quality afterschool and summer learning programs at risk, we need strong advocates like Rico. His work will mobilize parents, educators and business, community and faith leaders, among others, to send the message that afterschool programs are vital to the future of our children, families, and communities. Afterschool programs keep kids safe, inspire them to learn and help give working families peace of mind. They offer hands-on learning opportunities, opportunities to think critically and collaborate, homework help, mentors, science and technology, healthy snacks and meals, sports and fitness, arts programming, college and job prep, and much more.”
“I am eager to join the Afterschool Alliance in building support for afterschool programs,” said X. “In my 20 years working in the field, I’ve seen time and again the extraordinary difference that afterschool makes in the lives of young people. These programs help students explore their interests, discover their passions, and learn to communicate with peers and adults while giving parents the security that comes from knowing their children are safe and supervised, with opportunities to learn and grow after the school day ends. I look forward to building more support for the out-of-school-time opportunities all students need.”
YMCA Fun Company is a school-based before- and afterschool program designed to provide extended learning opportunities and a safe space for children during out of school time. The program collectively serves more than 6,000 children annually at 119 school-based sites in Davidson, Rutherford, Montgomery and Sumner counties in the Middle Tennessee area. YMCA Fun Company provides homework time, STEM programming, literacy activities, and art enrichment. In addition, the program promotes healthy living choices by providing a healthy snack and/or meal option to kids as well as structured physical activities daily.
Each Ambassador will organize a major event for Lights On Afterschool, the Afterschool Alliance’s annual rally for afterschool, which will celebrate its 20th anniversary this year. Most Lights On Afterschool events will be on or around Thursday, October 24. Last year, 1 million people participated in some 8,000 events across the United States and at U.S. military bases worldwide.
The 2019-2020 Afterschool Ambassadors are:
• Alaska: Courtney Havrilek, Lead Coordinator, 21st Century Community Learning Centers, Fairbanks NSB School District, Fairbanks;
• California: Leslie Einhorn, Founder & Executive Director, CASA (Children’s After School Arts), San Francisco;
• Colorado: Sarah Johnson, Senior Vice President of Education & Arts YouthPower365, Avon;
• Florida: Suzette L. Harvey, President/CEO, Prime Time Palm Beach County, Boynton Beach;
• Iowa: Robert C. Reid, Executive Director, Camp Fire Heart of Iowa, Des Moines;
• Michigan: Willie Buford, Site Manager, Flint & Genesee Chamber of Commerce – YouthQuest, Flint;
• Michigan: Trevor Davies, Sr. Manager, Forum for Youth Investment, David P. Weikart Center for Youth Program Quality, Wyoming;
• Minnesota: Nicole Hernandez, Youth Development Director, Children’s Defense Fund Minnesota, St. Paul;
• New Mexico: Melinda Franco, Director, Lovington Youth Center, Lovington;
• North Carolina: Abigail Swanger, Family and Community Coordinator, Community Kids Afterschool Program, Boone;
• Ohio: Lori Garrison, Program Manager, 21st CCLC, Graham Local Schools, St. Paris;
• Tennessee: Rico X, Vice President of School Age Services, YMCA of Middle Tennessee, Nashville;
• Utah: Kaylee Milliner, Center Coordinator, Promise South Salt Lake, Salt Lake City;
• Virginia: Daryle Rodgers, Out-of-School Time Coordinator, Hampton City Schools, Hampton; and
• Wisconsin: Jennifer Smith, Afterschool Program Manager, Marshfield Clinic Health System, Marshfield.
The America After 3PM household survey of more than 30,000 families, commissioned by the Afterschool Alliance, found that participation in afterschool programs has increased to 10.2 million students nationwide, up from 6.5 million in 2004. But the unmet demand for afterschool programs has increased as well. Today, for every child in an afterschool program, there are two more whose parents say they would participate, if a program were available. Unmet demand is especially high in rural communities and communities of concentrated poverty. One in five students in the United States today is unsupervised after the school day ends.
A large and growing body of evidence demonstrates improvements in attendance, behavior, academic achievement and more among children in afterschool programs. Researchers have also found that afterschool programs encourage increased parental involvement – an important building block for student success.
The Afterschool Alliance is a nonprofit public awareness and advocacy organization working to ensure that all children and youth have access to quality afterschool programs. More information is available at www.afterschoolalliance.org.
The YMCA of Middle Tennessee is a worldwide charitable fellowship united by a common loyalty to Jesus Christ for the purpose of helping people grow in spirit, mind and body. For more information go to www.ymcamidtn.org.
Rico X has established a 23 year career dedicated to serving children and young adults. He has worked with various youth development initiatives in Nashville, Detroit and Philadelphia. Rico is currently the Vice President of School Age Services with the YMCA of Middle TN, administrating a $14 million department that has 119 school based sites in four counties across Middle Tennessee. Rico also plays an active role in the YMCA’s Employee Resource Groups, previously serving as the Chair of the African American Leadership Network and currently serving as the Executive Sponsor for the Women’s Leadership Resource Network. A native of Louisville, KY, Mr. X is a proud graduate of Tennessee State University, with a B.S. in Africana Studies. He also earned a Master in Public Policy from the University of Michigan. Rico’s brand of leadership and work ethic can be summed up by the following quote: “Don’t work for recognition, but do work worthy of recognition.”