High fives all around for After School Activities Partnerships
On our best days we do a lot of high fiving at ASAP. A feature on after school chess in the paper? High five. A great testimonial from a drama club leader? High five. Extra bagels and coffee left-over from the morning board meeting? High five.
Suffice to say, being selected as one of nine Philadelphia area recipients of the 2014 GSK Impact Awards involved a good deal of high fiving. The GSK Impact Awards provided the perfect platform for us to tell our story at a moment when there was a more handwringing than high fiving.
In March 2013, 24 schools were closed – a decision that would result in the relocation of 9,000 students in fall 2013. Parents were outraged, school teachers and administrators were distraught, and students were confused and upset. The School District had seen its share of setbacks, but this was trauma on a grand scale.
We knew we had to act quickly. So less than two weeks after the School Reform Commission’s decision, we were joined by Philadelphia’s Mayor Nutter, and School Superintendent Hite to announce our commitment to support students affected by the closings. Our goal was to convene relocated students and their new classmates in skill-building after school activities that promote achievement and camaraderie.
Fast-forward to May 2014, ASAP had coordinated a total of 73 after school programs in 44 schools for more than 1,100 students! We wanted our effort to have resonance beyond these school closings and the GSK Impact Awards did just that. That was our “freeze-frame” high five moment. And the $40,000 award will enable us to sustain programs and provide new opportunities for youth throughout the city. The end, right? Nope.
When GSK announced the 1 day 1 idea $10,000 Challenge, we saw another opportunity to share our story – this time using social media to raise awareness for ASAP’s Directory of After School Programs. When the heartfelt and eloquent posts on Twitter started popping up left and right, we couldn’t help but be humbled by the support and encouraged by the enthusiasm for the Directory.
While wrapping up one of ASAP’s weekly high school debate matches on December 2nd, staff was checking our twitter feed to learn the results of the $10K Challenge. At 5:0O PM we began high fiving again! The $10,000 award will help ASAP connect 10,000 families in Philadelphia to information on thousands of safe and enriching activities to promote the physical, mental, and emotional health of youth throughout the city. With schools facing a scarcity of funds for after school programs, this support from GSK could not be timelier.
Justin Ennis is the Executive Director of After School Activities Partnerships (ASAP) in Philadelphia.
Bells ring for Girl Scout leadership experience on wheels
Here at Girl Scouts – North Carolina Coastal Pines, we have a shiny silver ship bell hanging on our wall that is rung for celebratory occasions.
And thanks to GSK, we’ve had the opportunity to “ring the bell” twice this year. The first was when we were named one of the 2014 GSK Impact Award recipients in the Triangle Region of North Carolina. We were so excited for this support – it will allow us to expand our Community Outreach Program and bring Girl Scouts to girls who need us the most.
And if that wasn’t amazing enough, it was one short and sweet tweet – “Beep beep! We’re talking healthy living on the road, literally. RT so our Program Bus can receive 10k in funding by @GSKUS #GSKImpact” – that lent itself to the second bell-ringing.
On #GivingTuesday, we participated in GSK’s 1 day 1 idea $10,000 Challenge on Twitter and talked about girls’ health and what it takes to build a healthy community. And come 5:00 PM that day, the bell rang loud and long once again.
This additional support will help fund our new Mobile Program Vehicle, where Girl Scouts can learn about healthy food choices, managing stress, healthy relationships, and body image through games and interactive presentations.
GSK’s IMPACT and Challenge Awards will allow us to equip our mobile unit with program materials and deliver information directly to girls who need us the most.
I believe in the power of every girl. I know that when they are given the opportunity, they can truly change the world. This investment in girls will yield a powerful return – confident girls who will become leaders in their communities and in our world.
We can’t wait to start the engine, and thanks to GSK, we’re sure to reach our final destination – healthier girls and healthier communities.
Lisa Jones is the Chief Executive Officer of Girl Scouts – North Carolina Coastal Pines in the Research Triangle Area.