Message from AzCASE Executive Director and Year End Giving Campaign
As another decade draws to a close, I am struck by the work and progress that has happened in the field of out-of-school time. A growing body of research confirms what we already knew—that afterschool and summer programming are a vital part of youth success, social-emotional learning, 21st century skill building and resilience. Here at the Arizona Center for Afterschool Excellence (AzCASE) we like to think we have played a part in improving quality and access to out-of-school time programming in our state.
This 2019, our commitment to quality programming continued as we took our state standards and quality assessment tool and added a path to accreditation. Now, Arizona programs serving school age children can work towards and showcase their quality programming.
We also continued to support quality staff through our professional development options—including a two-day, 1,200 registrant conference in the fall.
This October we held an amazing three-city Lights On After School Event in partnership with Arizona Town Hall. These Future Leader Town Halls in Casa Grande, Surprise and Flagstaff, allowed us to talk to youth about the impact of afterschool on their lives and how it can help strengthen families, children and the community.
While we certainly want to celebrate the successes of 2019, we are excited to look forward to our initiatives for 2020.
This year we will be expanding our work around Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and addiction prevention through out-of-school time participation and trauma-informed trainings.
In an effort to meet the needs of both youth and community we are launching two new direct service programs next year. The first is designed to introduce under-served youth to entrepreneurship and community problem solving. The second is designed to engage middle school students in early career exploration. Both of these programs will be piloted in 2020 with expansion plans already developed and secured funding from our supporters the Mott Foundation and Valley of the Sun United Way respectively.
In addition, in order to engage our larger community in the work that we do, we will be launching a Youth Development Champions Program. This program will allow community leaders to help increase their knowledge of youth development and out-of-school time, while connecting them to and pushing forward the work they are already doing.
During this Year-End giving season, we are participating in a fundraising campaign to help us launch our Champions Program and raise funds to run the activities the champions will be involved in during 2020. For more information on our Champions Program and to see how your donation can make a difference please click here.
We are proud of both our 2019 accomplishments and our plans and goals for 2020. Not bad for a staff of four. We love what we do and we are dedicated to seeing Arizona youth reach their full potential.
Courtney C. Sullivan, MBA
Arizona Center for Afterschool Excellence