05/15/2013 -

As Providence gears up for another summer of the AfterZone Summer Scholars, we here at PASA are discussing fighting summer learning loss. But what does summer learning loss really mean in the long run? How does it affect students?

Our friends over at Horizons National created this video to illustrate just how dramatically the cumulative issue of summer learning loss impacts young people.


05/13/2013 -

“What's best for youth and families?” Director of Expanded Learning Patrick Duhon asked a room full of representatives from seven different cities, all of who came to Providence last week to learn more from PASA's third annual City Symposium about how to build citywide systems of after-school and expanded learning opportunities for middle and high school youth. Attendees from Louisville, KY, Flint, MI, Cranston, RI, Jacksonville, FL, Richmond, VA, Milwaukee, MN, and Worcester, MA spent two days at the Symposium exploring how to build learning systems that work for their cities. 

Patrick suggested cities, school departments, and community-based organizations should focus on that question when thinking about how to work together. It's not about what's best for YOUR organization, or YOUR department, it's about what's best for the community; what's best for youth and their families.

City Symposium attendees benefit from PASA's hindsight. Though now it’s mostly smooth sailing, we spent years in a planning process that involved every imaginable community stakeholder; went through the process of crafting a data sharing agreement with PPSD; and, critically, listened to what youth and parents wanted. 

A highlight of Patrick's presentation was when he recalled that PASA's original mission was a dedication to arts and science. Panels of community members and experts that contributed to PASA's planning process determined that the arts and science were the areas of greatest need, but when PASA involved parents and their students in the process, they almost universally called for sports programming. 

We asked ourselves as a community, What's best for youth and their families?  This question led us to create the AfterZone, with programming divided into arts, sports, and skills (which incorporated science programs). Sports programming has consistently been popular with our youth,...

05/09/2013 -


From left to right: Collaborative for Building After School Systems (CBASS) Director Jessica Donner, PASA Executive Director Hillary Salmons, and Congressman David Cicilline on Capitol Hill.


Posted on May 6, 2013 by 


CBASS is not letting the stalled reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) keep us from pressing our policy priorities in DC. Two weeks ago, we met with local delegates and staff from the Senate and House education authorization and appropriations committees to discuss our policy recommendations. As much as policy change in DC may be gridlocked, we left the Hill inspired by staffers’ hunger to understand from education leaders what works and what doesn’t, and how our on-the-ground work can inform legislation.

Here’s what we discussed:

Maintain the stand-alone 21st Century Community Learning Center program.
We continue to be dismayed by House Education leaders’ partisan approach to reauthorization and insistence on block granting discretionary education funds, such as the 21st Century Community Learning Center (CCLC) program. We continue to fight for a stand-alone funding stream to ensure these critical resources are available to communities in need. President Obama’s proposed $100 million increase to the 21st CCLC is a promising step in the right direction to ensure that more kids from high-need communities have opportunities to thrive and learn beyond the traditional school day.

Ensure strong partnerships between schools and community partners are required for all 21st CCLC programs.
In a scan...

05/06/2013 -


Do you know a middle school student looking for something to do this summer? You're in luck! Check out the 2013 AfterZone Summer Scholars brochures!

In partnership with the Providence Public Schools, the AfterZone Summer Scholars gets young people off the couch and into the community, giving them the opportunity to learn how to sail, build go-carts, hang out with animals at the zoo, go kayaking, learn to cook, trek through the forests and fields of Rhode Island, and so much more. The best part? While they're enjoying a variety of free and fun summer activities, they'll also be improving their STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) skills.  

The summer program taps the expertise of formal and informal educators simultaneously, pairing teachers and community-based educators in collaborative teams. So while students are collecting plankton on Narragansett Bay, they're also learning how to analyze data with a math teacher, learning the physics behind sailing, and trying their hands at geometry as they build their solar-powered go-carts! 

See what students have to say about their experiences here!

05/02/2013 -


Hate to talk cash flow?  Most of us would rather talk program quality, but strong financial operations are essential to delivering and sustaining high quality services. Weak financial management stops too many after-school and other youth-serving nonprofits from winning grants, planning realistically, and doing all they can to fulfill their missions.

Join this webinar to learn how to build your organization’s fiscal strength and that of your provider network through a new, free suite of online resources at You’ll hear from the creators of the website how to tailor it to your needs, and you’ll also get advice from a leading expanded learning non-profit organization. was developed by The Wallace Foundation and Fiscal Management Associates (FMA) specifically for nonprofits...

05/01/2013 -


The day was finally here... and no this finally isn't one of excitement.  

We had our annual Community Debate at Brown University this past saturday. It was great truly. We had 3 rounds with CRAZY topics. The first Topic was that Providence should have 2 same sex schools, we should plug in to a machine and live in a utopia until death do us apart, and condoms should be distributed in High School. It was funny, as I had to argue the Affirmative side of distributing condoms Senator Juan Pichardo walked in. It was great to see him come and support but I don't know how I felt about him watching that specific round.

Anyway, we were sitting in the same auditorium we have been in for the past 4 years, or more. They call for drum roll as they begin to announce the two teams that will be competing in front of everyone. The names were music to my ear, as we all know I like to win, they said "Genesis and Hillary (Director of PASA and AMAZING, SMART, Creative woman) will compete in the final round Versus...(I forgot the name of the other team.. but she was great.)

We debated whether or not the U.S should pay reparations to African Americans whom can prove they had ancestors whom were slaves. I had to be on the negative side (I think it's always easier to say no than yes, some might agree.). We debated, she was amazing, our opponents were great but at the end of the day there can only be one winning team. Luckily, for Hillary and I, we were that winning team. 

Yes, getting awards and that part was great. But sometimes after the sun comes the darkness. At the reception, we all went into an auditorium in List Building at Brown University (Yes I didn't get into Brown but I will continue to try!). They started honoring debaters and coaches and all. It was great, I had a handful of awards. Although I should have been filled with Joy, the tears running down my eyes expressed otherwise. I embraced Karri (An amazing woman whom has been an exemplanary coach and role model to me for the last four years, and years to come, whom will also be graduating from Brown this...

04/30/2013 -

Video Spotlight: Rhode Island Urban Debate League!

All week, high school students around the city are showing off what they've accomplished and learned during their ten-week ELO experience. To see the kind of opportunities available to young people in Providence, check out this video of one the many fantastic program partners that make this work possible!