Through our Afterschool Ambassadors program, every year we recruit a cohort of program providers and advocates of special distinction and provide them with training, technical support, and modest funding to complete projects that raise the profile of afterschool in their communities. This year, we’re very excited to announce that we’re building on the success of that program, with our new Youth Afterschool Ambassador initiative!
Our first five Youth Ambassadors will each design and carry out a project showcasing the value of afterschool programs. In addition, they will write blog posts for Afterschool Snack about the importance of afterschool and travel to Washington, D.C., next year to participate in the annual Afterschool for All Challenge, where they will meet with members of Congress and their staff.
The five Youth Afterschool Ambassadors in this inaugural class come from four states. They are:
- Ruben Balderas from Walla Walla Washington’s WaHi FORWARD Afterschool Program
- Maya Irvine from Camdenton, Missouri’s Camdenton FIRST LASER Robotics Team
- Harli Jo McKinney from Stratford Oklahoma’s C3 Afterschool Program
- Kaleb Robertson from Green Bay, Wisconsin’s Boys & Girls Club of Greater Green Bay
- Marisol Romero from Toppenish Washington’s 21st Century Community Afterschool and Summer Program at Safe Haven Community Center
“The Youth Ambassador program is an incredible opportunity for students to share their experiences of afterschool and summer learning programs and the ways that participation in those programs have significantly impacted their lives,” says Alexis Steines, director of field outreach at the Afterschool Alliance and manager of the Youth Ambassador program. “I look forward to seeing the creative advocacy projects our inaugural class of Youth Ambassadors is developing!”