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March 24, 2014

Now it’s easier than ever to access all the great resources featured in the Learn More Libraries. As you may remember, there is a Learn More Library near the end of each content module topic area. Each Learn More Library contains links to other great web-based resources, videos, publications, lesson plans, and activities.

Now all you have to do to access these resources is go to the Tools page and look for the new sidebar widget. Click the link to the Learn More Library, then select which topic you’d like to explore. It’s that easy!

Check out these new features today and let us know what you think in the Suggestion Box. And keep those great ideas coming, because the 21st CCLC user community’s greatest source of new and innovative ideas … is you!



January 14, 2014

You may know that Y4Y offers free, customizable training templates and PowerPoint presentations under the Teach section of the portal. But did you know that Y4Y also offers tips and guidance on how to plan and deliver effective trainings? Check out the Training Guide and Template, found in the Tools section, for ideas on how to create objectives, structure activities, engage participants and more. Or visit the Coaching My Staff section, under Learn, to find select Training Tips, such as this one on creating a training hook:

“The training opening is the hook. Think of it as a performance: What will engage participants’ hearts and minds? Ask what they already know. Draw on their knowledge, experience, and ideas throughout the training.”

Or this tip on drafting action plans at the end of a training:

“Creating an action plan or listing the next two things each participant might do are good ways to wrap up a training. Ask staff what assistance they’d like for implementation and how they can support one another’s efforts.”

Check out the rest of the tips for creating and delivering trainings for your team!



November 6, 2013

It’s impressive what can happen when great minds come together! On October 10, 2013, about two dozen afterschool practitioners and leaders collaborated during the Y4Y Coffee Break webinar to share their ideas and co-develop a template for a family guidebook. The starting point was a Y4Y resource, the Creating a Family Guidebook tool. This tool guides programs in creating a guidebook to share with their students’ families.

The group worked with the Y4Y team, right there on the webinar screen, to customize this tool and develop a more complete outline for the final document. Now, the product of their hard work is available to everyone! Download the new Family Guidebook Template today from Y4Y’s Promising Practices Gallery and customize it further to fit the exact needs of your program. You can add, delete, and change anything you want in the template , then fill it in with your program policies, program characteristics, family involvement practices, etc.

If you missed the Coffee Break webinar and want to see how this template was created, check out the recording in the Webinar Archive to see the process in action. 



November 6, 2013

At Y4Y, we consider your experience to be one of the most valuable resources for the afterschool field— as you can see from how we developed the Family Guidebook template! You are on the ground, facing the ups and the downs while honing your craft and making a real difference in children’s lives. You are doing amazing work! However, we also know that everyone — experts and beginners alike — can use a little support at times.

That’s where the Y4Y Discussion Boards come in. On the Discussion Boards, Y4Y users – like you – from all over the United States can post ideas, information, and questions for their peers in the 21st Century Community Learning Centers community and across the afterschool field.

Take a moment now to share your expertise in response to two of your peers who recently posted these questions:

1) Rita is looking for ideas for establishing a Facebook page for her program. What kinds of policies do you have? What creative ways have you used Facebook? Help Rita out by responding to her post.

2) Christina and Jenell are looking for ideas for a volunteer handbook. Share your thoughts about what to include, or you can even upload a sample for them to see.

Thanks in advance for supporting the efforts of these programs and, in reality, many more Y4Y users who will see your helpful advice on the Discussion Boards!

Do you need some help? Post your own question for others to answer.

Note: To post to the Discussion Boards, you must be registered on Y4Y. Click here to register!  



November 6, 2013

As we travel around the country at the request of States and grantees (and under the guidance of the U.S. Department of Education of course!), the Y4Y team often hears exciting recommendations from the field. Recently we were at the Fall Meeting of Delaware 21st CCLC grantees in Newark, DE, and heard a great idea from Rob.

He facilitated a project that presented small teams of students with a challenge: you are stranded on a desert island and must overcome various obstacles to survive. The goal of the project is to help students develop various skills, from problem-solving to collaboration. Rob also used this project to help students work on their writing skills. He presented the teams with challenges and asked them to create journal entries addressing how they would solve the problem. Rob then read their entries and responded each week with new hypothetical disasters for the individual teams to overcome.

Rob shared this idea with other grantees who loved the concept and added suggestions for extensions. For example, ask students to create artwork or comics narrating their survival. Or ask students to solve puzzles as part of their plan for survival (e.g., if students say they will fish for food, ask them to create a fishing pole from specific limited materials) and create written instructions.

Thank you to Rob and all the Delaware grantees for sharing your excellent ideas! We hope everyone will continue sharing their experiences and seeking advice from peers on the Y4Y Discussion Boards.