The Riley Institute at Furman University has selected Jonathan Helms, Grant Development Director at the Boys & Girls Club of Cabarrus County, and Sheneika Simmons, Program Manager at the Public School Forum of North Carolina, to participate in the White-Riley-Peterson (WRP) Policy Fellowship. A partnership with the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, the WRP Fellowship is a 10-month national program designed to equip participants with a real-world understanding of policymaking for afterschool and expanded learning.

"What an immense opportunity to continue serving my community and state in the field of youth development! As a WRP Fellow, I hope to gain more insight on best practices and approaches for engaging in policy work, especially on behalf of youth in Cabarrus County and across the Carolinas." - Jonathan Helms

"This is an incredible opportunity and learning experience! As a WRP Fellow, I am eager to broaden my knowledge, establish strategic partnerships with professionals nationwide, and continue to advance the policy efforts of the North Carolina network centered on high-quality out-of-school time learning and engagement." - Sheneika SImmons

The newest class of WRP Fellows will participate in a hybrid program combining virtual and in-person classes. As part of the fellowship, Helms and Simmons will develop and implement a state-level policy project in cooperation with NC CAP and the Afterschool Alliance. As significant monies become available through the American Rescue Plan to support academic recovery as a result of the pandemic, much of the Fellows' focus will revolve around leveraging funding to grow and strengthen evidence-based afterschool and expanded learning programs.

Including Helms and Simmons, 19 individuals have been selected to become WRP Fellows this year. The number of WRP Fellows has grown to 156 in 50 states since the initiative launched in 2012. Projects completed by WRP Fellows have calculated the return on investment of afterschool funding, mapped afterschool programs across states, improved afterschool quality standards, and forged partnerships with state departments of education working to address learning loss related to COVID-19.

"While afterschool is a time-tested approach proven to promote the social, emotional, and academic development of children, ensuring that out-of-school time programs are accessible and well-equipped takes on a new urgency during the pandemic," said former, U.S. Secretary of Education, Richard W. Riley.

"As we work to address learning loss as a result of COVID-19, afterschool and summer learning programs are critical partners toward gaining equity in education for all students. I am so proud to welcome 19 more policy leaders to this outstanding program, " Riley said.

The White-Riley-Peterson Policy Fellowship is named for Secretary Riley, William S. White, the late chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Charles S. Mott Foundation; and Terry Peterson, national Board Chair of the Afterschool Alliance and Senior Fellow at the Riley Institute and the College of Charleston.

To learn more about the White-Riley-Peterson Policy Fellowship, click here.
Jonathan Helms
Grant Development Director
Boys & Girls Club of Cabarrus County
Sheneika Simmons
Program Manager
Public School Forum of North Carolina
In the Fall 2021 issue of AfterSchool Today magazine, you’ll find various thought-provoking articles demonstrating stories and strategies, with common themes of advocacy, workforce development, amplifying voices, collaboration, and unique career paths. Use these insights to help propel you toward upholding the field’s commitment to equity, access, and quality. The Fall Issue can be accessed here.
Also included in the Fall Issue is a 'True Story' article that was written by NC CAP's Director,
Dr. Sheronda Fleming.
Join NC CAP and thousands of communities in celebrating and rallying for out-of-school time programs as the Afterschool Alliance organizes the 22nd annual Lights On Afterschool!

This nationwide event calls attention to the importance of out-of-school time programs and the resources required to keep the lights on and the doors open, especially as programs step up to help youth, families, schools, and communities throughout the ongoing pandemic. NC CAP is proud to be a Lights On Afterschool partner!

NC CAP is encouraging programs across the state to host a Lights On Afterschool celebration to showcase the great things happening and help call attention to this important issue. Everything you need to plan a successful event, from case studies to sample materials, is available in the Lights On Afterschool Planning Kit.

To learn more about Lights On Afterschool, register an event, access event planning tools, or find out what's going on in your area, click here.
Join NC CAP for a virtual briefing of new statewide recommendations regarding science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) pathways. The publication "Addressing the Top 5 Issues within STEM Pathways in North Carolina" provides insights into the five common issues noted across sectors and industries. Recommendations were based on the responses of over 100 STEM Coalition members from various backgrounds, sectors, and organizations. To view the webinar recording, click here.
NC CAP is hosting a FREE virtual community event for out-of-school time professionals to discover ways to leverage the James Webb Space Telescope launch and mission milestones in their programs. Participants will have the opportunity to engage with a content matter expert, access free resources and content aligned to the launch and mission, and participate in multiple raffles. To register, click here.
OCTOBER 23RD, 2021
NC CAP Join NC CAP on Saturday, October 23rd for a panel of parents with children participating in afterschool programs statewide. Parents will share their perspectives regarding the current needs of their children and their view of the role and value of afterschool programs in the midst of the learning recovery process.
On October 28th, 2021, NC CAP will celebrate Lights On Afterschool Day by engaging in statewide advocacy with program providers. In addition to advocacy, events are happening across the state to participate in! To view a list of events happening in North Carolina, click here.
Throughout October, NC CAP will be showcasing the "Journey Series" via social media. The "Journey Series" spotlights out-of-school time professionals statewide and the career pathways that led them to serve youth in out-of-school time. Every professional has a unique story!

Did you miss the first two spotlights in "The Journey Series"? Check out the videos from Pam [The Dream Center] and Amy [Book Harvest] below. Don't miss upcoming video spotlights daily on social media at 10am.
Be sure to follow us on Twitter (@ncafterschool), Facebook (@ncafterschool), and Instagram (@nc_afterschool) to check out all of the unique stories and journeys that have led professionals to serve youth in out-of-school time programs across North Carolina. Be sure to use #LightsOnAfterschool to engage in the Lightbulb Challenge or see what is happening across the nation
Every Hour Counts is pleased to announce the release of their Return to School Guide, a collection of resources that emerged from the field's collective pivot to ensure that the transition back to school this fall met the needs of young people, their families, and their communities.

These resources reflect the responsiveness of their network and other national organizations and demonstrate how afterschool systems are primed to support young people and their persistence amidst missed learning and enrichment opportunities.

The guide showcases 45 resources and will continue to grow as they surface the artifacts that the Every Hour Counts network and national organizations created to help afterschool intermediaries, providers, educators, families, and community leaders ensure that young people are set up to thrive this school year and beyond - in spite of the shared trauma experienced in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and escalated racial violence and reckoning.

Afterschool champions have long invested in youth agency, social-emotional learning, partnering with families, and other evidence-based strategies shown to support young people to thrive in college, career, and life. And in this moment of tremendous crisis, it is clear that afterschool systems and programs, and especially the practitioners who create and run them, are integral to maintaining caring and supportive communities.

To view the Return to School Guide, click here.
The North Carolina Center for Afterschool Programs (NC CAP) and the STEM Coalition are proud to debut the NEW publication, "Addressing the Top 5 Issues within STEM Pathways in North Carolina". The publication identifies the top issues in STEM across sectors and within pathways in North Carolina. The top issues were identified as: (1) access; (2) awareness; (3) collaboration; (4) equity; and (5) funding.

Through the use of small focus groups, the STEM Coalition developed a common definition for each issue, identified barriers, created short-and-long-term strategies for each barrier, and shared potential resources to address the barriers.

To learn more about the STEM Coalition and its efforts, click here.

To access the publication, click here.
The North Carolina Center for Afterschool Programs is a part of the Million Girls Moonshot, a collective impact initiative designed to increase diversity and equity in STEM. Million Girls Moonshot is working to close the persistent gender gap in STEM fields by engaging one million girls across the United States in STEM pursuits through high-quality, innovative afterschool learning opportunities over the next five years. The Million Girls Moonshot is committed to sharing high-quality STEM resources and content to assist providers across the nation in investing and engaging girls and minorities in STEM.

To learn more about the Million Girls Moonshot, click here.


  • Introducing Artificial Intelligence using Curiosity Machine - October 14th at 11 am EST.
  • Artificial intelligence can be fun, hands-on, and connected to real life, even for kids. In this training for educators of upper elementary or middle school students, Technovation will showcase their Curiosity Machine artificial intelligence lessons. With these free lessons, help your students learn, plan, and create solutions to real-world problems with AI. Learn what AI is, how it works, and how your students can use it to solve a problem they care about through their 10 lesson challenges. This is a great program for educators with and without STEM backgrounds. To register, click here.
  • Going Deeper: From Curiosity Machine to Technovation Girls Challenge - November 4th at 11 am EST.
  • Calling all educators who are interested in teaching students how to solve global problems with technology! While Technovation's global program is tailored for girls, educators worldwide are using this curriculum with all of their students. Take exploration of open-ended design challenges with students to the next level by learning about this multi-week opportunity for students to dive deep into coding or AI and a passion project that could change the world and themselves. This program will prepare students to succeed as STEM learners and entrepreneurs. To register, click here.
  • The M in STEM: Making Mathematics Meaningful with the National Girls Collaborative Project - October 5th at 2 pm EST.
  • This webinar will focus on engaging and supporting girls and young women in mathematics. Participants will learn from an AAAS IF/THEN Ambassador who uses mathematics to positively impact society and share best practices and resources to help make the M in STEM meaningful and accessible after school. To register, click here.
  • Going to Camp with Camp GoldieBlox and the National Girls Collaborative Project - October 19th at 2 pm EST
  • Join the National Girls Collaborative Project and GoldieBlox as they explore the new episodes of Camp GoldieBlox designed to inspire the next generation of girls in STEM. To register, click here.
  • Exploration and Awareness of Careers that use an Engineering Mindset: The Possible Futures Curriculum Part I - October 14th at 3 pm EST
  • Part 1 of two 75-minute sessions with Jobs for the Future (JFF), where you'll learn how to use JFF's free Possible Futures (PF) Engineering and Design curriculum unit to introduce students to careers that require an engineering mindset. How? The interactive lessons for grades 6-10 have students assume the role of professionals in the engineering field as they learn to prototype, iterate, and innovate. As young professionals, students are introduced to the design process, develop problem-solving and research skills, and learn to foster an engineering and growth mindset. JFF, a national nonprofit aimed at promoting economic advancement for all, designed the PF curriculum focusing on STEM to help rethink how youth start to explore college and career options and prepare them to make meaningful decisions about their future. To register, click here.
  • Exploration and Awareness of Careers that use an Engineering Mindset: The Possible Futures Curriculum Part II - November 3rd at 3 pm EST
  • Part 2 of using JFF's free Possible Futures Engineering and Design curriculum unit to introduce students to careers that require an engineering mindset. How? The interactive lessons for grades 6-10 have students assume the role of professionals in the engineering field as they learn to prototype, iterate, and innovate. As young professionals, students are introduced to the design process, develop problem-solving and research skills, and learn to foster an engineering and growth mindset. JFF, a national nonprofit aimed at promoting economic advancement for all, designed the PF curriculum focusing on STEM to help rethink how youth start to explore college and career options and prepare them to make meaningful decisions about their future. To register, click here.
NC CAP is proud to showcase a new STEM Lesson, The Breakdown.

In The Breakdown, students will observe chemical reactions and identify the effects that various conditions such as temperature and pH have on the enzyme, catalase. Catalase is an enzyme that is present in almost all living organisms.
To access the STEM lessons, click here.
NC CAP has released a new STEMinar!

In this episode of the STEMinar Series, viewers will meet Daniel Roizman from UME Academy. UME Academy is an afterschool STEM program provider in video game design and coding for students in grades 2 through 12 across North America. Students design unique projects by coupling new skills with key concepts from your classroom. Their online, expert-led classes teach the latest technology while emphasizing creativity, collaboration, and confidence to meet the demands of the 21st century.

To access the STEMinars, click here.
Please subscribe to the NC CAP Youtube Channel for more videos and resources!
Founded in 2012 to fill the gap between the STEM world and classrooms and extended day programs in need, TechTerra Education is the expert on STEM learning solutions and Makersapces. We equip educators with the hands-on tools, curriculum, and training needed for 21st-century classrooms and career-ready kids. A company comprised of educators, our mission is to make STEM education accessible and easy to use with their STEM in a Box turnkey programs. Their trademarked Stations of STEM™ allows students to explore best-in-market tools. Plus, they designed their STEM in a Box programs to be used again and again, for years to come. Take your Afterschool Programs and Summer Camps to the next level.

To give back to the community, TechTerra Education is excited to offer a 5% discount to all 21st CCLC programs on any of their STEM in a Box Programs. They are also giving away 3Doodler 3D Design pens to a handful of afterschool sites! Contact TechTerra Education today to enter the giveaway.

What is a STEM in a Box Link:
STEM in a Box Programs:
Contact TechTerra Education:
As students across the country continued to return to in-person learning, new survey data, released from AASA - The School Superintendents Association, as well as additional guidance on learning loss recovery from the U.S. Department of Education, suggests there is more work to be done to provide students with the support they need to succeed.

Citing estimates that perhaps 3 million students have either been consistently absent from or have not been actively participating in remote learning since the beginning of the pandemic. On August 31, the U.S. Department of Education released "Strategies for Using American Rescue Plan Funding to Address the Impact of Lost Instructional Time," a resource to support educators as they implement, refine, and work to continuously improve their strategies for supporting students. The new guidance seeks to lift up successful practices and evidence-based approaches to support students, all of which can be supported with American Rescue Plan (ARP) funds. The new resource on lost instructional time is part of the Department's Return to School Roadmap, a guide for states, schools, educators, and parents to prepare for the return to in-person learning this fall. The Roadmap focuses on several key priorities, including building school communities and supporting students' social, emotional, and mental health.

The new Strategies document includes a section on 'using community partnerships to support reengagement' which calls out the importance of schools partnering with community-based organizations and also highlights the value of afterschool and summer learning programs in giving extra support to students most in need:

As students return to in-person instruction following the COVID-19 pandemic, community-based partnerships can allow districts to expand learning beyond the classroom and re-engage students' learning. A study found that schools with strong ties to families and communities were four times more likely to make significant gains in reading and math. One example is the Austin, Texas Citizen Schools at Bedichek Middle School, which provides an afterschool program that seeks to inspire middle-school students by providing relevant learning experiences and supporting youth with mentors. The model includes apprenticeships with community members, academic support and instruction, and exploitation sessions, such as community field trips and service opportunities. One resource for developing partnerships with districts and schools to provide afterschool and summer programs that support student re-engagement and learning is the Afterschool Alliance's Toolkit.

The new guidance complements the Department's COVID-19 Handbook, Volume 2: Roadmap to Reopening Safely and Meeting All Students' Needs, which includes strategies for using ARP ESSER funds to address the impact of COVID-19 on students, educators, staff, and families, including meeting students' basic needs (including food security; creating safe and inclusive learning environments; accelerating students learning through instructional approaches, tutoring, and expanded learning time; increasing educational opportunity; and stabilizing and supporting the educator and staff workforce.

To continue reading, click here.

The stakes are high! As afterschool professionals and leaders, you are equipping yourself or others to prepare young people for a world we can only imagine. Come share your ideas and explore innovative and proven practices. Challenge yourself to explore new perspectives, make key connections, and build lasting relationships that will strengthen the afterschool field and profession. Are you ready to go all-in?

Save the date for:
  • Inspirational speakers & showcases
  • Dynamic Learning Expo with over 100 exhibitors
  • 10+ hours of professional learning sessions

To register, click here.

To learn more about the 2022 NAA Convention, click here.
The Girl Up Project Awards are an engaging way to demonstrate youth leadership skills, take their activism to the next level, and make a meaningful impact in their community. Girl Up Project Awards are designed to support youth gender equity advocates around the world. If you have a cool event in mind and need a little support paying for a venue or ordering food to encourage attendees, apply for a Project Award. Girl Up is committed to supporting your ideas, dreams, and goals towards gender equity. Girl Up will take into consideration Award applications relating to sports, storytelling, fundraising, organizing, STEM, education, and combatting gender-based violence activities.

Applications for Girl Up Awards are open to youth between the ages of 13 to 24 around the world. To qualify for a Girl Up Award, applicants must: (1) submit a full application, including a budget, and (2) submit a Girl Up Awards Project Report via Kaleidoscope.

Project Awards can be requested in any amount to not exceed $500. Girl Up Project Awards are separate from Girl Up Leadership Summit Financial Assistance and Girl Up Scholarships.

Applications close on December 1st, 2021 at 12:00 pm.

To learn more about Girl Up Project Awards, click here.
The Afterschool Alliance has developed the 2021 Afterschool Staff Recruitment Toolkit to help program providers recruit staff for their programs. The toolkit contains tips to recruit staff, key messaging, sample templates, flyers, and graphics for social media.

To access the toolkit, click here.
The Youth Awards was founded in 1998 by the Hispanic Heritage Foundation (HHF). Now entering its 23rd year, the Youth Awards honors Latino high school seniors who excel in the classroom and community and for their excellence in various categories, including Business & Entrepreneurship, Community Service, Education, Engineering, Healthcare & Science, Media & Entertainment, Public Service & Social Justice, Sports & Fitness, Sustainability, and Technology.

Gold, Silver, and Bronze recipients are selected in each category and receive a one-time grant to fund their college education or to fund a community service effort that tackles a social issue.

Once selected, recipients will be celebrated in 10 virtual ceremonies. They will become part of our broader HHF network of 200,000 professionals and fulfill the unique cycle of leadership where we meet America's priorities in the classroom and workforce.

The Youth Awards program is the main pipeline to HHF's system of talent that prepares and positions Latinos youth through the award-winning Latinos On Fast Track (LOFT) program as they transition from high school to college, to graduate school, and into their careers.

The deadline is November 14th, 2021, to submit the Youth Awards application.

To learn more about the Youth Awards, click here.
We will gather together in person for the first time in two years as a conference community. We stand together to address the pandemic, natural disasters, and other crises that challenge our communities. And it is with youth and adults working together that we will change the world through service-learning.

Whether you are a teacher, administrator, afterschool program coordinator, university faculty member, foundation program officer, or a youth leader, the National Service-Learning Conference is designed for you. With four days of inspiration, learning, connection, and action, youth and adults can create an individualized agenda for an incredible professional development experience.

Established in 1987, the National Service-Learning Conference has brought together more than 30,000 youth and adults from across the United States and beyond. The conference connects participants with educational leaders through three days of engaged learning sessions and hands-on projects. 2020 and 2021 Conferences were held virtually. In 2022, NYLC will combine the 3-day in-person format with a virtual day.

To learn more about the 33rd National Service-Learning Conference NAA, click here.
Join the unCommission in co-creating the future of STEM!
The unCommission is a massive, diverse, and participatory experience that will determine the next set of transformative goals for PreK-12 STEM education. The unCommission is bringing together hundreds of young people across the country, with a focus on those most excluded from STEM opportunities, to share their personal experiences and stories about science, engineering, technology, and math. From these stories, the Uncommission will distill insights and develop a constellation of goals for the future of STEM education. They hope to hear from as many young people as possible by October 15th, 2021. To show their gratitude, they will send all storytellers a link to select any of these gifts after they submit a story.

Stories are due on October 15th, 2021

To learn more about the unCommission, click here.
Join Our Children's Place of Coastal Horizons (OCP) this month as they participate in See Us, Support Us (SUSU) to raise awareness about and increase support for children of incarcerated parents. SUSU is a year-round effort with national partners, culminating in a month of action in October. This year, the campaign focuses on supporting children's educational success and well-being from early childhood through college. SUSU aims to decrease stigma, build community, share supportive resources, and celebrate children who thrive and succeed when we SEE and SUPPORT them. Our Children's Place invites out-of-school time professionals (and others who work with children and families) to explore the SUSU website, share the site link with educators, invite OCP to present a workshop, and join the program in late October to hear from a panel of youth who have experienced parental incarceration. To learn more, email Melissa Radcliff.

To learn more about See Us, Support Us, click here.
JFF will be awarding $50,000 grants to three organizations across the country that are working to build regional IT career pathways. is generously funding this grant program to support the development of digital jobs strategies that reflect the needs of local economies.

Workforce development boards, community colleges, and other training and education providers, industry associations, intermediaries, and community-based nonprofits are welcome to apply for these grants. Organizations across the country are encouraged to apply.

JFF is accepting applications through November 1, 2021. Awards will be released in November 2021. Recipients must complete all grant activities within six months of receiving the award.

You can find detailed information about the grant opportunity in the Request For Proposals (RFP) document. Please submit any questions regarding the RFP or the application process to Emily Pipes ( and notify her of your intent to apply by October 25, 2021.

To apply, download and complete the Proposal Form, then submit it as an attachment addressed to Emily Pipes ( with a copy to Sara Lamback ( by November 1, 2021.

To learn more about this opportunity, click here.
The North Carolina Center for Afterschool Programs (NC CAP) would like to highlight program successes statewide. Tell us about your program and you might be our Program Spotlight in the next edition of the Afterschool Observer or on Social Media. Click the Program Spotlight below to be redirected to the updated survey link to tell us about your program. 
The Afterschool Advantage Program is a signature education program and flagship community involvement initiative. The program is devoted to providing young people with access to technology in a safe, nurturing afterschool environment, while promoting opportunities in digital learning centers in varying communities. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis.

The Institute for Emerging Issues at NC State (IEI) in partnership with the NC Department of Information Technology and with principal support from the John M. Belk Endowment, is addressing the digital divide across NC through a program called "Building a New Digital Economy" (BAND NC). BAND NC will provide mini-grants of $5,000 to communities across the state who want to begin a digital inclusion planning process or implement digital inclusion plans. Applications are due November 1st, 2021.

The American Radio Relay League (ARRL) gives grants to K-12 schools to support amateur radio classroom projects. Applications are due on November 1st, 2021.

The Envision Equity Grants enable educators to test creative new ideas and innovations, demonstrating exemplary teaching and learning. They also support project-based learning and help educators to advance students' cultural understanding and appreciation, anti-racism commitments, and understanding of civic engagement and democracy. Envision Equity Grants will fund projects between $1,500 and $5,000. Applications are due on October 15th, 2021.

The D'Addario Foundation is a nonprofit grant-making organization providing monetary and product support to high-quality sustainable music instruction programs on the front line to improve access to music education. They support programs that bring music back into communities and schools. Applications are due on October 30th, 2021.

The Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation seeks to dramatically improve the lives of people and the world around us through innovative strategies, systems-changing approaches, and disrupting technologies. Their goal is to find social entrepreneurs with dynamic ideas and nurture them at the early stages with maximum leverage and total commitment. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis.

The Duke Endowment has introduced a new pre-application process for the Child and Family Wellbeing program area. This pre-application will help applicants confirm eligibility and guide the two areas of work: Prevention and Early Intervention for At-Risk Children and Out-of-Home Care. Applications are due on December 15th, 2021.

The Lawrence Foundation is a private family foundation that provides grants to support environmental, education, human services, and other causes. Grant amounts range between $5,000 and $10,000. Applications are due October 31st, 2021.

The Office of Naval Research (ONR) recognizes the need to support efforts that can jointly improve STEM student outcomes and align education and outreach efforts with Naval Science and Technology's current and future workforce needs. Projects that improve the capacity of education systems and communities to create impactful STEM educational experiences for students. Applications are due March 30th, 2022.

Through the Community Grant Program, individual Walmart stores, Sam's Clubs, and logistics facilities can support nonprofit organizations with programs that benefit communities within the service area from which they are requesting funds. The Foundation provides funding for programs within Walmart's focus areas: (1) community; (2) sustainability; and (3) career opportunity. Applications are due on December 31st, 2021.

The Westinghouse Charitable Giving Program provides financial support to communities in one or more strategic areas of giving including (1) education with a focus on STEM; (2) environment sustainability; and (3) community safety and vitality. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis.
North Carolina Center for Afterschool Programs |