Prevention begins with connection.
In place of problems, community leaders start solving issues by stopping them.
Kids and youth need to feel connected to each other, their community, and their passions to stay out of trouble and remain motivated.
And so do we, as adults.
Afterschool hours are no different. Those are the times when unsupervised children and youth are most likely to get in trouble. In place of problems occurring, community leaders start with prevention.
The 2019 Get Connected Conference took place on October 11 with that mission in mind. This conference provided sessions for professionals who support afterschool initiatives.
Presenters, supporters, and attendees included Nebraska Extension, 21st Century Community Learning Centers, Click2Science, Nebraska Department of Education, including our very own Beyond School Bells. This middle childhood initiative seeks to provide children and youth with high-quality afterschool programs throughout Nebraska.
The former Lincoln Mayor, Chris Beutler, received the 2019 Regent Bob Whitehouse ELO Policy Champion Award. Program directors also received well-deserved longevity distinctions.
The former Lincoln Mayor said, “I wish I were young again and I’d jump in this community learning center.” The former Mayor of Lincoln posed with Regent Bob Whitehouse after receiving the award.
There were other awards granted, too. Here is Beyond School Bells’ Director of Partnerships, Senator Anna Wishart, Kim Dickey, and Tim Gay from Next Era Energy Resources after receiving the Afterschool Business Champion of the Year Award.
Jeff Cole, Beyond School Bells Network Lead at Nebraska Children and Families Foundation, said when a community has a strong afterschool program, “The hours of risk become hours of opportunity.” He then presented longevity awards. Congrats to the recipients of the longevity awards and shout-out for all you do for afterschool programs and beyond!
His words are affirmed by data from Council for a Strong America’s article, “Fight Crime: Invest in Kids.” Crime rates drop in areas with strong afterschool programs.
This data and event gave us something to smile about. Thank you to everyone who attended, presented, and supported including Beyond School Bells, Nebraska Extension, 21st Century Community Learning Centers, Click2Science, Nebraska Department of Education, and many other community leaders, administrators, and partners.