Over the course of six weeks, the Nebraska Children blog has invited Jeff Cole, Associate Vice President of School-Community Partnerships for Beyond School Bells, to write some guest posts sharing his program’s work.
In my last post, I told you about Beyond School Bells and our mission to strengthen and empower Nebraska communities to provide more youth with opportunities to participate in high-quality afterschool and summer programs – what we call Expanded Learning Opportunities (ELOs).
One of the ways we do this is by educating policymakers about the benefits of ELO programs and the important role these frequently overlooked “hours of opportunity” can play in supporting learning and positive development.
Another way BSB supports this work is through our statewide Coalition of established community-wide ELO systems in Omaha, Fremont, Lincoln, Crete, Columbus, Kearney, Lexington, North Platte, Chadron, and Sidney. The Coalition allows us to provide direct support and technical assistance in key areas such as Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) and Arts programming; outreach and communications; and professional development of afterschool staff.
Coalition communities serve thousands of rural and urban youth across our state, but rarely do they get the attention they deserve. To help shine a light on their important work, Beyond School Bells has put together a collection of outreach materials, including a series of videos for community champions to use to educate potential partners on the impact school-based, community-powered ELOs can have on participating youth, their families, and the entire community.
I encourage you to spend a little time touring the state through these video snapshots and exploring the engaging, hands-on learning that is taking place in communities across Nebraska through Expanded Learning Opportunity programs.