The Tennessee Afterschool Network (TAN) is eager to announce the launch of its new initiative to tackle the opioid crisis in our state: Afterschool Heals Tennessee (AHT). This initiative leverages afterschool programs to support children, youth, families,
With generous funding from the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, AmerisourceBergen, and United Ways of Tennessee, TAN launches Afterschool Heals Tennessee as a strategic and much-needed response to the opioid crisis. Through this work, TAN can expand the depth of educational content for afterschool professionals and both the engagement of and support for our youth and families.
Afterschool Heals Tennessee will use a train-the-trainer approach that incorporates existing evidence-based content, as well as focusing on developing new content. It will include professional development for afterschool program staff; engaging, educating and supporting children, youth, parents and grandparents more extensively; and being at the center of the conversation around prevention and recovery.
Youth engagement has been built into the initiative. Youth will be recruited for a peer-to-peer anti-stigma campaign, an advisory council, and other efforts. In fact, the initiative will be connected to work TAN is doing on service learning via a grant from the National Youth Leadership Council (NYLC).
New partnerships will also be key to the initiative’s success. These partnerships will involve different parts of Tennessee’s departments of education and health, as well as new organizations, like Systems of Care Across TN (SOCAT), the mental health community, school districts implementing trauma-informed environments, juvenile justice, and the faith community.
The initiative is immediately forming a task force and has hired a field manager and a youth engagement manager who will both begin their work in February.
Afterschool Heals Tennessee will elevate TAN as an expert in afterschool and youth issues. TAN will produce a white paper on this initiative – its outcomes and the impact of afterschool programming in our state – to educate legislators, potential funders, and other audiences about the role both the network and afterschool programming can play in tackling the opioid crisis.
Follow this link to Afterschool Snack to read an interview with TAN lead Mary Graham about this new initiative.