At the end of 2022, we thought it was important to reflect and recognize the growth that our network has experienced over the past three years and talk about the amazing future that lies ahead.
- Since 2019, the Kentucky Out-of-School Alliance has grown from a team of one to a team of three! Stephanie Barker has transitioned from our AmeriCorps VISTA to the full time Coordinator of our network and leads many of our Data & Research efforts. We’ve also welcomed Molly McGowan this year as our new AmeriCorps STEM VISTA, bringing additional capacity to our network to expand informal STEM learning across our Commonwealth.
- Our communication channels, including our monthly e-News and social media platforms, have experienced double-digit growth since 2019.
- We held our first – EVER – virtual conference in 2022 and welcomed over 500 front line staff from all corners of Kentucky for two days of learning and connection around high quality summer learning experiences. We’re excited to bring this unique experience back in spring 2023 – stay tuned for more details!
- This year, we welcomed our first – EVER – cohort of Kentucky Afterschool Ambassadors. They are ten exceptional out-of-school time professionals from all over Kentucky dedicated to advocating for additional resources for our field and showing local, state and federal policy makers why afterschool and summer learning are important for Kentucky’s kids.
Most importantly, and with your help, we charted a new path for afterschool in Kentucky moving forward. In April 2021, our network embarked on a lengthy journey to engage a diverse group of stakeholders to answer one question – what does the future of afterschool look like for Kentucky? Over the next year, over 100 individuals representing dozens of organizations across the Commonwealth leaned into the conversation with us and talked about their hopes, dreams and aspirations for building a better future for Kentucky’s kids. In March of 2022, we gathered in-person – in our state capitol – to finalize a strategic direction, not only for the Kentucky Out-of-School Alliance, but for our field. This work was so important that Lt. Governor Jacqueline Coleman – Kentucky’s Chief Educator – was on hand to welcome and inspire us. Finally, this past fall the Strategic Leadership Team of KYOSA affirmed our new strategic plan that will lead our work in 2025.
Our vision remains clear – we believe that all children and youth in Kentucky deserve access to high-quality out-of-school time programs that prepare them for success in school, work, and life. Additionally, our mission remains steadfast – we will support the continued growth, development, and accessibility of quality out-of-school programs to promote the success of children and youth.
We will achieve our mission by:
- Forging statewide, regional, and local cross-sector collaborations that ensure out-of-school time programs are high-quality and sustainable;
- Advancing statewide policy that will secure the resources needed to sustain new and existing out-of-school time programs;
- Building the capacity of the out-of-school time workforce to lead and deliver high-quality programs and services;
- Providing a centralized hub of data and resources that equip the field to influence systems change, expand partnerships, strengthen the workforce, and improve programs.
To accomplish this work, we will focus our efforts on three key services areas:
- Training & Professional Development
- Data & Research
- Policy & Advocacy
And we will remain in direct service to out-of-school time (OST) organizations and the out-of-school time workforce. We will approach our work with a commitment to: collaboration, transparency, fairness and belonging.
It’s going to take an all-hands-on-deck approach to turn this ambitious plan into reality – and that’s where YOU can help! We hope you will join us over the next three years in this effort to ensure afterschool for all of Kentucky’s kids. There are several ways you can engage in this work:
- Spread the word about our network – share our website, Facebook page, Twitter feed – or talk about us on LinkedIn. However you do it, make sure everyone in our field knows that KYOSA is here to support them!
- Advocate for change in your community! We have developed a toolkit to support all Kentucky OST providers in advocating for funded partnerships with their local school districts.
- Join the School Age Child Care Advisory Council. The purpose of the School-Age Child Care (SACC) Advisory Council is to provide guidance to the network, state regulatory agencies, and other decision-makers on matters related to the licensing, regulation, and funding of school-age child care in Kentucky.
- Apply for the 2023/24 Cohort of the Kentucky Afterschool Ambassadors program. The goal of the program is to empower up-and-coming leaders in the field of afterschool to confidently and effectively advocate for afterschool for all Kentucky youth. Applications will open in spring 2023.