By Jodi Grant,
Executive Director, Afterschool Alliance
Most of us don’t stop to celebrate our work often enough. I think it is especially true for those in afterschool, where new and seemingly intractable challenges crop up daily, and certainly in advocacy, when success can be hard to measure and troubling policy proposals threaten the progress we’ve made to date.
Thanks to PASE and its awards, we have a moment to stop and reflect on the amazing work that makes our field so special. These awards shine a light on individuals who are literally transforming lives.
PASEsetters Deena Hellman, Mi Jung You, Faybiene Miranda, Patrick Pinchinat and Sadie Mahoney don’t let any challenge thwart their efforts to support youth. From starting new projects like a Guys and Girls discussion group, to engaging external resources to help a struggling student succeed, to securing a mental health counseling license, they are constantly finding ways to better serve their communities. They are resourceful, dogged, inspired.
Thanks to the efforts of Afterschool Champions like John Shutkin, our PASEsetters are able to keep doing their amazing work serving youth. As we know well here at the Afterschool Alliance, working to ensure access to quality afterschool programming is no small endeavor.
That’s why we also need to use the PASE Awards as an excellent opportunity to educate our leaders on the difference afterschool makes. If you find inspiration in the PASEsetters, or in the daily work of your afterschool program, share it with your leaders. Call, write or invite them to visit.
Or, join us in calling on Congress for more afterschool resources at the Afterschool for All Challenge this May 8-9 in Washington, D.C. (Registration is on me for any PASEsetter Awardees!)
We’ve got a long way to go to get afterschool the resources and respect it deserves, but thanks to PASE and its awardees I’ve got an extra spring in my step as I head out to advocate today on behalf of quality afterschool and summer programs, and the youth who rely on them.