Archive for August, 2007

Action Alert!

Wednesday, August 8th, 2007

August 2007
To NAA Affiliates and Afterschool Advocates:

(Please pass this Alert on to others who support afterschool!)As you know, the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives have both introduced Labor, Health and Human Services and Education appropriations bills.  There is a wide disparity in how afterschool would fare under each bill.  The House version was recently approved with a $125 million increase in funding for 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) and a $75 million increase in funding for the Child Care Development Block Grant (CCDBG).  The Senate’s version, unfortunately, includes only an $18 million increase for 21st CCLC and does not include any increase at all in funding for child care.


This fall, Members of Congress will be working to reconcile the differences between the two bills.  Obviously, it is critical that the Senate adopt the House position and appropriate a $125 million increase for 21st CCLC and $75 million increase for the CCDBG.


If your Senator or Representative is a member of the Appropriations Committee, you have a particularly key role to play. Your Members of Congress must hear from advocates in their states and communities about how important these increases in afterschool and child care funding would be to children and families.  With so many programs in this bill, and many difficult decisions to be made by Congress, we need your help to make sure that afterschool is not lost in the shuffle and that they understand the connection between CCDBG and afterschool.


[Go to or to see if your representatives are on the Appropriations Committees.]


If your Congressional representatives are not on the Appropriations Committees, you can still ask them to support increased funding for afterschool and child care and to let the members of those committees know of their support.


With kids all over the country getting ready to go back to school-and parents scrambling for afterschool arrangements-August is a particularly opportune time to get this message to policymakers.



Arrange an Appointment


To identify your representatives and/or how to contact them, use or and  Find out where state or district offices are located and get the telephone numbers.


To meet directly with the elected official, ask to speak with his or her appointment secretary, or scheduler. You may be asked to submit a written request for a meeting, giving details about who you are and the topics you wish to discuss.


If you can’t arrange a meeting with the Member, ask if there is a staff person with whom you could meet.


Prepare for Your Visit

    * Prepare your arguments for more funding for afterschool:
          o Stagnant and even declining funding over the past few years.
          o Children and families who want afterschool services, but don’t have access to them.
          o Benefits of afterschool programs for children and families.
          o Benefits of afterschool for communities.
    * Gather information about the need for more afterschool services in your community and/or state.
    * Designate a speaker and divide up roles. Consider inviting a parent to accompany you and talk about what afterschool means to kids and families.
    * Be sure to take along information about your program or afterschool in your community. Include in your packet:
          o Your business card
          o Fact sheets
          o Position papers
          o Program brochure
          o Newspaper articles
          o Program newsletters
          o Any other information that might be useful to the policymaker or aide.


At the Meeting

    * At the meeting, emphasize the importance of afterschool and the need to expand services to the Member’s constituents.  Remember that policymakers want to know how an issue affects the people in their states or districts.
    * Ask specifically that the Member support the House numbers for 21st CCLC ($125 million increase) and CCDBG ($75 million increase) when the appropriations bills get to conference.
    * After the meeting, be sure to follow up with a thank you letter that reiterates the points you made and any materials you promised to send.
    * Take advantage of this meeting to invite the Member to visit afterschool programs in your community and/or participate in Lights On!  events you may be hosting.




Plan your pitch.  Think about what you want to say ahead of time and what will best support your points.  Talk about the importance of afterschool in your state or community and the need for more funding to expand services.


Get the numbers.  Congressional Switchboard:  202-224-3121 or 202-225-3121.  Direct lines can be found at Members’ websites that can be accessed through and  If you are just registering your support for the higher numbers, you may speak with the receptionist.  You also may ask to speak with the Legislative Assistant who handles the Labor-HHS-Education bill.


Let them know you are a constituent.  Explain right away that you are from the legislator’s state or district.  Be prepared to give your name, organization, and address, because offices often keep records of constituent calls.


Advocate your issue.  Be very specific: Say you are calling about the Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations bill and the two programs that affect afterschool-21st CCLC and CCDBG.  State your support for the House numbers, summarizing the importance of afterschool in your community.


Get to the point.  Ask for the Member’s support for a $125 million increase in 21st CCLC and $75 million increase in CCDBG.


Think about whom you are calling.  With House members, you can ask them to hold onto the House numbers in conference. With Senators, you can ask that they support the increases that are in the House bill.


Always say “Thank you”!