The Tennessee Afterschool Network, formed in 2014 to bring together a diverse group of stakeholders to advocate for and support afterschool programs, gathers today for its Day on the Hill. The Day is held in partnership with United Ways of Tennessee and the League of Women Voters.

“Our members are educating the legislature about the Tennessee Afterschool Network, which supports children, youth, families and communities by advocating and building capacity for safe, healthy and nurturing afterschool experiences,” said Mary Graham, President of United Ways of Tennessee, which serves as the fiscal agent for the network. “Afterschool programs are essential to keep kids safe, engage them in enriching activities, and give peace of mind to working moms and dads.”

“We will also be sharing our support of the new TNReady Testing. We know the data will give teachers, afterschool providers, and parents important information about where students are succeeding and where they need support. One of the current goals of the afterschool network is to provide professional development and tools to afterschool programs to help them support students as they prepare for TNReady testing.”

a5656f4a73a71de8499fe3f3c1677402Last year, the Tennessee Afterschool Network educated and advocated about the importance of 21st Century Community Learning Centers during the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. “Without a dedicated funding stream for afterschool and summer learning, children and youth would have been unsupervised, missing valuable learning opportunities that could help them succeed in school and in life,” said Debby Gould with the League of Women Voters of Tennessee, one of the network’s Steering Committee members and a partner for Day on the Hill. “They would also miss out on a host of other supports, including nutritious meals and opportunities for physical activity, STEM learning and access to mentors.”

The Tennessee Afterschool Network is awarding three Afterschool Champion Awards to legislators today. “We are pleased to be honoring Senator Jim Tracy and Representatives Brenda Gilmore and Dan Howell. These legislators advocated to Senator Alexander and Senator Corker in Washington D.C. about the importance of the 21st Century Community Learning Centers program to Tennessee. They are true champions for afterschool who recognize the value of high quality afterschool programming to our state,” said Matt Ryerson, Board Chairman of United Ways of Tennessee and President of United Way of Bradley County, which leads one of the eight regional hubs for the Tennessee Afterschool Network.

“This program provides funding to local school-community partnerships in order to provide quality afterschool and summer learning programs. Cuts would have been devastating to our state, so we are grateful that these legislators added their powerful influence to our advocacy efforts,” said Ryerson.

Other honored guests who will be speaking at the event are Representative Joe Pitts and David Mansouri, President of Tennessee SCORE.

The Tennessee Afterschool Network is made possible through funding by the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, United Ways of Tennessee, United Way of Bradley County, United Way of Greater Chattanooga, United Way of Greater Kingsport, United Way of Greater Knoxville, United Way of the Mid-South, United Way of Rutherford and Cannon Counties, United Way of West Tennessee, and United Way of Williamson County.

For more information on the Tennessee Afterschool Network, please link to

(This story provided by Tennessee Afterschool Network)