Afterschool Champions 2021

On Jan. 18, 2022, PSAYDN honored nine individuals and two organizations as Afterschool Champions for outstanding work in developing, supporting and promoting meaningful high-quality afterschool or out-of-school time programs to benefit children, youth and families across Pennsylvania. The annual champion recognitions emphasize the importance of afterschool and summer learning programs in the state. The awards align with PSAYDN’s mission to promote sustainable, high quality out-of-school time youth development programs through advocacy and capacity building to enhance the welfare of Pennsylvania’s children, youth and families.

 

Outstanding Policy and Advocacy Award

 

Rosemary Anderson, Propel Charter Schools, Pittsburgh

Dr. Rosemary Anderson, director of afterschool programs for Propel Charter Schools, has 47 years in education with 16 years working with the establishment and funding of afterschool programs. Currently, she serves as the PSAYDN Steering Committee co-chair; is a member of PSAYDN’s Governance, Conference, and Policy and Communications committees; APOST’s (Allegheny Partners for Out-of-School Time) Quality Campaign Review committee; and the 21st Century Community Learning Centers-Pennsylvania Advisory Board. Most recently, she was named the 2021-22 Statewide Advisory Board Chair of the Pennsylvania Nita M. Lowey 21st CCLC Grant Program Advisory Board.

Dr. Anderson’s past credentials include grant writing, development of 21st CCLC sites in West Virginia and Pennsylvania, previous chair of the West Vir Commission for Professional Teaching Standards, WVDE Peer Observer of 21st CCLC sites, former delegate to the Third World Congress of Education International and six years on the NEA Board of Directors. Dr. Anderson is a former state finalist for West Virginia Teacher of the Year and served as chairperson of the West Virginia Commission for Professional Teaching Standards. She was a peer evaluator for the West Virginia Department of Education for three years.

Under the leadership of Dr. Anderson, Propel Afterschool was established in 2011 and operates afterschool programs in 13 Propel Charter Schools, serving over 700 K-12 scholars in high poverty communities in Allegheny County. Eleven of these sites are funded, in part, through Cohort 9 and Cohort 10 21st CCLC grants from the Pennsylvania Department of Education. At no cost to families, Propel Afterschool programs aim to improve scholars’ academic achievement, encourage healthy lifelong skills, provide resources and build an ongoing platform for scholars and families. These programs provide time dedicated to completing homework or tutoring, enrichment activities that may include cooking, science, literacy, judo, dance, service learning, youth leadership and college and career development and exploration. Propel Afterschool Scholars enjoy dinner funded through the Child and Adult Food Care Program or a healthy snack. Summer programming is also available for all Propel Scholars.

Over the years, Rosemary has developed ongoing partnerships with providers and artists in the Pittsburgh area. Some of these partnerships include, but are not limited to, Adagio Health, The Urban League of Greater Pittsburgh, YWCA Greater Pittsburgh, Community Kitchen Pittsburgh, Carnegie Museum of Natural History, Mattress Factory Museum and South Hills Judo. These partnerships continue to grow in number and contributions to provide well-rounded experiences for our scholars.

Dr. Anderson is a one-of-a-kind leader in the out-of-school time field. She is an afterschool advocate, colleague and friend. She manages over 100 out-of-school time professionals while maintaining a tight-knit family environment. To this day she still loves to visit the sites and interact with our scholars. She is a masterful partnership builder and a reliable, flexible collaborator. She challenges and encourages her staff to be creative and think beyond what’s in front of us. Dr. Anderson is dedicated to the expansion of out-of-school time at Propel and elsewhere and isn’t afraid to push the boundaries to the benefit of afterschool youth.

Nominated by Deanna Dugan, Propel Schools

 

Outstanding Quality Award

 

David-Arzberger

David Arzberger, Pocono Services for Families and Children, East Stroudsburg

David Arzberger is the lead teacher for the school-age program at Pocono Services for Families and Children (PSFC). David has provided quality education, social and emotional support, and advocacy for youth in Monroe County for over three years. Throughout David’s time at PSFC, he has shown passion and care for quality programming. Our student population has benefited immensely from David, and it is demonstrated in their outcomes. Students have grown stronger physically, socially and have increased proficiency in their studies. David provides a safe environment for youth, and they love having him as a teacher and mentor. The students love Mr. David so much that they become upset when having to go home. Parents recognize their child’s interest in our youth program and thank David daily for providing such a great, safe place to learn. David not only is a supporter of the children at PSFC, but a supporter for parents as well. Parents enjoy working with David and receiving additional support that assists their basic needs through resources that David provides. David is an afterschool champion! David will one day be responsible for introducing STEM to many of our future workers. PSFC would not have such great quality if it was not for Mr. David’s passion and energy that he brings to our program every day.

Nominated by Justin Ortiz, Pocono Services for Families and Children

 

Elias Economou, Growing Together Learning Center, Upper Darby

Elias has consistently exceeded his goals to provide underprivileged and underserved students in Western Philadelphia with a quality education. He dedicates his life to helping our teachers work with our students from some of the poorest areas of Philadelphia. We have almost 99% subsidy in our centers, and every child can benefit from any help provided. Elias has spearheaded many and various policies in our facilities since joining. He is a great operator and understands the children’s needs. He brought all three of our facilities to a STAR 2 rating within one year of starting. Additionally, over the past year we have been working on our STAR 3 rating, which he has committed himself to achieving. He has his CDA in preschool and is always finding ways to improve the center. COVID-19 forced us to find creative solutions to take on many new problems. We were no longer able to buy food in bulk at grocery stores. He found a nutritious government program that is state sponsored and brings our food costs down considerably. This allows us to charge our customers less while providing them with better food. These savings and increase in accessibility are thanks, in large part, to Elias’ efforts.

Nominated anonymously

 

Alexander Gibson, William Penn Cybercats, York

Alexander Gibson has dedicated the past several years to developing the Cybercats Esports Club, previously the “Video Game Club”. He has committed to building afterschool curriculum with the North American Scholastic Esports Federation (NASEF), as well as Video Game Clubs of America (VGC). As the club continues to grow, he has created opportunities for students to learn technology skills, soft skills and social and emotional skills, all while gaming in the classroom. Alexander’s ongoing efforts to have an esports ecosystem embedded in the Esports Club have been instrumental in supporting competitive and casual play. He has always considered giving time after school to establish a fun, safe and motivational space for the youth of York City as an engaging, educational and worthwhile pastime.

Nominated anonymously

 

 

 

Outstanding Sustainability Award

 

Jim McPartlin, Neshaminy Kids Club, Langhorne

Jim McPartlin pioneered the way for afterschool programs in a time when school-age childcare was still developing. Jim has served as a mentor, a community advocate and belonged to multiple boards dedicated to afterschool programming. His hard work and dedication not only lead the way for others, but it has truly outlined what out-of-school time should look like. Jim consistently looked for ways to improve Neshaminy Kids Club (NKC), as well as the entire field. He made sure the kids were not only safe after school but were receiving supplemental education and having a blast doing so. Although he was the executive director, Jim preferred to be the “coach” by being hands-on in the development of staff. As a mentor, he empowered his staff to take the lead. He wanted his team to teach the children about themselves and their personal hobbies and interests. His goal was to provide children with a variety of options that they might not otherwise be introduced to.

NKC became successful, in part, due to the variety of opportunities the program presented. Jim encouraged the leadership team to develop curriculum that would enhance the program, especially the physical education program. Although he was always up to play a game of kickball, Jim desired more. More creative games, more ways for the children who may not be stellar athletes to feel like superstars. Jim understood the importance of everyone feeling valued.

Jim devoted his spare time to serving the child care field and community. He was a member of the Langhorne Rotary Club. Through the club efforts, many children in the area were able to receive free books and other useful school items. He also served as a member of the PENN SACCA board for many years. He was always looking for ways to generate sponsors and line up great presenters for their annual conference. This professional development opportunity was greatly anticipated each year as it served as a resource for out-of-school time professionals for training and networking with others.

Jim was a true mentor to me, as well as countless afterschool professionals. He pioneered the way during a time when child care required growth. He empowered those around him and left a legacy that will go unmatched.

Nominated by Chuck Inverso, Neshaminy Kids Club

 

Youth Award

 

Brianna Morales, South Philadelphia High School, Philadelphia

Brianna Morales is an outstanding youth advocate, who is at the heart of Sunrise’s Youth development program at South Philadelphia High School. Brianna started as a high school group leader working directly with students before being promoted to the site director position in 2020. While working full time with Sunrise, Brianna finished her bachelor’s degree in human development and community engagement from Temple University’s College of Education and has since been accepted to a master’s program at Drexel University.

From group leader to site director, Brianna evolved from a hands-on high school mentor, leading youth development activities, to coordinating and planning the entire high school afterschool program where she is responsible for designing curriculum and leading a team of youth mentors.

Brianna is passionate about the work she does. She is passionate about addressing the disparity between special admission schools vs. public schools and has dedicated her time to closing that gap through out-of-school-time (OST) programs and partnerships that focus on developing post-secondary plans and building career development skills.
Since her promotion in 2020, Brianna has gone above and beyond in her role, raising the profile of our agency through her collaboration with our school district funders and numerous community partners. In October of the 2021 school year, Brianna was responsible for recruiting dozens of students into Sunrise’s youth development program, more than doubling the total participation in our high school program.

One project Brianna spearheaded this year is the Sunrise Youth Advisory Council, a group designed in partnership with local government agencies to uplift youth voices and to bring young people to the table in discussions around local policy and lawmaking. Brianna worked with our administrative staff to generate partnerships with the offices of State Representative Elizabeth Fielder and State Senator Nikil Saval. Brianna has been an integral part of the team, leading the meetings between our high school youth and the state representative and senator. Throughout the initiative, Brianna has been a champion for youth issues leading conversations around educational inequality, gun violence, and especially the search for the new Philadelphia superintendent of schools.

Just this month, Brianna and one of our South Philadelphia students, Sirron Gorden, were invited to join the current Philadelphia superintendent, Dr. Hite, to discuss the role of afterschool in student life and the ways OST can be a lifesaving resource for young members of the community.

Nominated by Vince Litrenta, Sunrise of Philadelphia

 

David Owusu, Propel Andrew Street High School, Munhall

David Owusu is a senior at Propel Andrew Street High School and has been involved in afterschool programming throughout his entire high school career. He is a member of the Afterschool Action Team, a high school-centered youth leadership group that meets regularly to address issues affecting scholars in both their school and community. David is a mentor lead for the Propel Afterschool Mentor Program. He has worked with middle school scholars throughout summer programming and during afterschool to increase their confidence and self-esteem by developing an environment of trust and respect where youth feel comfortable to discuss issues affecting them. He has been an active volunteer in his school and community, volunteering at local nonprofit organizations to provide grab-and-go meals and fresh produce boxes. In addition, David assisted at the Propel Northside Wellness Center’s free store/fresh produce distribution.

Through his work with the Pennsylvania Statewide Afterschool/Youth Development Network, David and the Action Team participated in the Pennsylvania Youth Town Hall with Lt. Gov. Fetterman. They also appeared on Saturday Light Brigade Radio to discuss the importance of afterschool and youth development programs. David and other youth across the state celebrated Lights On Afterschool, participated with PSAYDN in a meeting with the Joint State Government Commission to discuss House Resolution 180, and also sat on the steering committee for a PSAYDN statewide youth service-learning project, as well as participated in Afterschool Advocacy Day in Harrisburg. Most Recently, David participated LIVE in the NYLC, VoiceAmerica radio show on the power of young people to change the world.

David is also a member of the Student Leadership Academy, which has given him the opportunity to work with a diverse group of youth leaders across the state to expand their leadership skills through monthly modules and service-learning projects. David is a member of the first class of youth who are spearheading the Pennsylvania Youth Action Network, PAYAN, a statewide youth leadership group that encompasses youth voices of all different backgrounds to collaborate and learn from one another to discuss, strategize issues affecting youth across the state.

Nominated by Deanna Dugan, Propel Schools

 

Policymaker Award

Rep. Mike Schlossberg, Pennsylvania House of Representatives, Allentown

Representative Schlossberg is committed to a strong and vibrant Pennsylvania serving the best interests of people, not special interests. He knows what we all know: Pennsylvania works best when workers are paid a fair wage, have good health care, live in a safe and affordable home, and can save some money for education and a secure retirement. Rep. Schlossberg is a champion for world-class education, regardless of zip code, for all our children through early childhood learning, neighborhood schools and career, technical and higher education. In 2021, he was elected Democratic Caucus Administrator by his colleagues. In prior sessions, Representative Schlossberg was the chair of the Northeast Regional Delegation.

Since taking office, Rep. Schlossberg has proven to be an effective legislator, serving the needs of his district, as well as fighting for the values important to Pennsylvanians. He brought $70 million in new revenue to the financially challenged Allentown School District, a 70% increase since his first year in office. For years, the fight for a Fair Funding Formula to provide equity for Pennsylvania’s community schools remained elusive, but in 2021, Rep. Schlossberg introduced his Level Up legislation, a proposal to allocate $100 million to the 100 most financially distressed school districts in the commonwealth. The proposal was adopted as part of the budget signed into law by Governor Wolf, marking an historic commitment to Pennsylvania’s students. In prior sessions, Rep. Schlossberg’s proposals to increase mental health services for first responders and Rape Survivor Child Custody and Support legislation were also approved by the General Assembly and signed into law by Governor Wolf. He was also instrumental in the transportation funding legislation approved during the 2013-2014 session, helping to secure significant investments in the Lehigh Valley’s transportation system.

Rep. Schlossberg’s wife, Brenna Schlossberg, is a teacher in the Allentown School District. They have a son, Auron, and a daughter, Ayla. Born and raised in Livingston, New Jersey, Rep. Schlossberg moved to Allentown to attend Muhlenberg College. Prior to being elected to the House of Representatives in 2012, he worked for the Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce, aiding small businesses with technology and social media. He also served as a member of Allentown City Council.

Nominated by the Pennsylvania Statewide Afterschool/Youth Development Network

 

Organization Award

ACLAMO, Norristown

Founded in 1977, ACLAMO provides educational programs, social services, and access to health and wellness programs to Latinos and other community members to empower them to fully achieve their life potential. ACLAMO’s youth development programs serve the growing communities of at-risk, English Language Learner (ELL), Latino youth and their families in Norristown and Pottstown. We have four successful programs in our Education Department: Afterschool, ADELANTE (MS and HS), Teen Club and Summer Bridge. Our approach focuses on creating a supportive environment for individualized instruction; providing engaging STEAM career exposure; integrating “soft skills” development and connecting youth and their families to a full range of services. ACLAMO is also an endorsing organization of the PA Schools Work Campaign, a statewide coalition that advocates for fair funding in Pennsylvania public schools. ACLAMO acts in monthly meetings and participates and co-hosts rallies, panels, and discussions to help eliminate funding disparities across school districts.

In FY 2019-2020, we served 233 unduplicated children through our youth educational programs. In FY 2020-2021, we had an 85% attendance rating with our After School and Summer Program, saw 90% improvement in both math and reading comprehension for students in After School Program, had 95% of participants experience exposure to at least 10 different career paths in our ADELANTE Program, and achieved 81,041 minutes of reading by students. At the start of the pandemic, our education staff shifted all in-person afterschool program activities to virtual program activities. During this transition, we purchased a Zoom package, communicated with families via What’s App, and started using Google Classroom to provide instruction. We had to ensure all of the families and their children that we served had access to either a mobile device, laptop or desktop computer, as well as provide extra instruction on technology usage. To mitigate gaps in the transition, the executive director of ACLAMO provided live updates in Spanish on Facebook and other social media platforms. We enrolled 101 students in the After-School Program and 27 in the ADELANTE program, each having a 75% attendance rate. Our capacity to pivot learning models was successful. Our top program highlight included a virtual study abroad series for students and their families to take flights around the world to learn about different cultures and tackled STEAM projects such as recreating famous landmarks using supplies in their homes.

Nominated by Caitlyn Handlin, ACLAMO

 

YMCA Youth and Government Program, Harrisburg

The State YMCA has recently celebrated 75 years as the provider of the YMCA Youth and Government Program. Youth and Government is a highly successful teen leadership and civic engagement out-of-school time program for students in grades 6-12. Participants have the opportunity to learn the functions of state government through a hands-on, interactive approach. The program is student-led and student-run and has produced generations of leaders in professions ranging from politics and law to journalism, medicine and engineering. Additionally, the State YMCA of Pennsylvania runs Y-Corps, a week-long servant leadership program for high school students.

Students raise their own support for the trip and travel to various locations on the east coast to perform service projects at local Ys, churches, parks and other nonprofit organizations. Projects range from painting and cleanup to maintenance and organizational work. The State YMCA of Pennsylvania is a leader in the commonwealth through its youth development and afterschool/OST programs. I highly recommend its selection for this award.

Nominated by Larry Richardson, State YMCA of Pennsylvania

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