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City-Wide Fairs Spotlight After-School Resources.

Cities across the nation are using a simple tool -- after-school resource fairs -- to encourage and support the development of high-quality after-school programs in their communities.

An estimated 5 million American children between the ages of 6 and 13 spend at least some of their non-school hours with no adult supervision. Numerous studies also document that peak hours for juvenile crime and victimization are between 2 p.m. and 8 p.m., and that youth who are unsupervised are more likely than their peers to use drugs and alcohol.

Federal agencies have responded to these problems by joining together to form the Federal Support to Communities Initiative. The goal of the Initiative is to support community youth development and after-school programs by making resources and funding more accessible to communities. One of its first steps has been to promote community-organized After-School Resource Fairs.

After-School Resource Fairs identify and publicize the full range of community, state, and federal resources available to support local out-of-school programs for youth 6-19. Program service providers and parents come together for a day-long event to share information, identify unmet needs and learn about the programs in their area. After-School Resource Fairs also create or strengthen existing local-state-federal-community networks.

Last year, at fairs throughout the country, parents and providers learned about local assets and a wide range of assistance (from child nutrition programs to ideas for science and technology curricula) available from federal, state and local governments, for-profit and not-for-profit providers, businesses, and philanthropic organizations.

Chattanooga, Tenn.

On October 21, 1999, Chattanooga hosted its Back to After-School Share Fair. The Share Fair was part of Chattanooga's Hassle-Free Community Program launched in collaboration with the National Partnership for Reinventing Government.

The goal of the fair was to help after-school providers learn more about the existing federal, state and local resources in the community that can enrich their programs and the lives of children and youth they serve. During the fair, more than 200 participants were able to learn how to:

* help pay for after-school and summer snacks

* find mentors and tutors from a variety of agencies

* utilize government resources to solve transportation problems

* help students gear up for college

* use buildings to expand program capacity

* provide older youth with job training and skill-building opportunities

* gain information about recreation and arts opportunities

* learn more about local law enforcement's programs for youth(*) sign students up in the Child Health Insurance Program

* learn about upcoming grant applications and deadlines from many government agencies and how to be a part of that process

* get the latest news about what your government is doing for youth

Boston, Mass.

A similar effort was mounted in Boston last November to connect after-school providers with valuable resources that support children and youth during out-of-school-hours. The After-School Resource Fair was sponsored by the Greater Boston Federal Executive Board, in collaboration with the City of Boston 2:00-6:00 Initiative, Parents United for Child Care, and City Year. More than 40 federal, state, local and non-profit agencies were featured. Beyond grant money, additional resources like educational projects, site visits, and curriculum enhancing programs were highlighted. Providers and youth workers also participated in break out sessions to share lessons learned and formulate future directions.

Other participating cities include:
Atlanta, Ga.
Baltimore, Md.
Chicago, Ill.
Contra Costa, Calif.
Corpus Christi, Tex.
Dallas, Tex.
Denton, Tex.
Denver, Colo.
Des Moines, Iowa
Fayetteville, Ark.
Fort Worth, Tex.
Kansas City, Kan.
Los Angeles, Calif.
Oakland, Calif.
Oklahoma City, Okla.
Philadelphia, Pa.
Pittsburgh, Pa.
Santa Fe, N.M.
Seattle, Wash.
Sioux City, Iowa
St. Louis, Mo.
Vermont (statewide)

Washington, D.C.

Details: For more information on how to implement an Afar-School Resource Fair in your community, please visit or contact Rafiq Abdus-Sabur at NLC's Institute for Youth, Education, and Families at (202) 626-3135. "Fair in a Box," featured on the Federal Support to Communities Initiative after-school website (above), provides information on planning, logistics, resources, lessons learned, marketing material and sample forms.

Tips on Organizing an After-School Resource Fair

1. Make the commitment to host an After-School Resource Fair.

2. Assemble a diverse, collaborative planning committee.

3. Who will your audience be--Parents? Providers? Both?

4. Decide which kind of After-School Resource Fair you are going to sponsor, either a Traditional Fair or a Mini-Conference.

5. Select a date and a location.

6. Invite speakers to share in depth information, motivational speakers or no speakers.

7. Ask community members and national organizations to display their materials.

8. Arrange for logistical support for the fair.

9. Advertise, promote and sell!! If you don't let people know about your fair, no one will come.

10. Evaluate success and prepare a lessons learned list for next year.
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Title Annotation:to facilitate development of after school programs in local communities
Author:Abdus-Sabur, Rafiq
Publication:Nation's Cities Weekly
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Aug 28, 2000
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