Subject: VPOST Entrepreneurship Program Highlights and More in Your July 2022 News!

VPOST Debuts the YES (Youth Entrepreneurship Strategies) Program!

Last month, VPOST wrapped up our pilot program of YES (Youth Entrepreneurship Strategies) with a week-long culminating event. The opportunity was made possible by support from the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation and was offered in partnership with the Virginia Department of Education, JMU X-Labs, and On the Road Collaborative, a Harrisonburg non-profit dedicated to providing equal access to educational opportunities. YES Participants met at JMU X-Labs to bring their business ideas to life, spending the week developing a unique business idea, creating a business model and brand, and presenting it through a Pitch Challenge. From youth e-sports to a culturally focused beauty line, participants explored ways to connect their own passions and hobbies to future entrepreneurial opportunities. With the help of X-Labs, those business brands were turned into vinyl-cut t-shirts, laser-engraved keychains and notebooks, and customized magnets. The week ended with a Pitch Challenge, in which the participants wrote short scripts with all the necessary elements to sell their ideas and then recorded them around the campus of JMU. Congrats to these young entrepreneurs!

Fostering an Engineering Mindset Webinar, August 3rd at 2:00

Are you an afterschool or summer learning professional interested in STEM? Do you want to create a generation of innovative problem solvers? Come join us on August 3rd at 2:00 PM to gain an introduction to engaging youth in engineering mindsets. 

Engineering education promotes the development of an engineering mindset—the values, attitudes, and thinking skills associated with engineering. This interactive session introduces engineering and engineering mindset, focusing on why they are important. Ten engineering practices that help youth develop and strengthen an engineering mindset will be highlighted. Participants will reflect on examples and short video clips from educational settings that illustrate the practices and what they look like when youth engineer. Participants will also leave with strategies for creating engineering environments that are inclusive and invite all learners to participate and develop an engineering mindset. 

Join U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona and the Afterschool Alliance, AASA, The School Superintendents Association, National League of Cities, National Summer Learning Association, and the National Comprehensive Center at Westat on Thursday, July 14th, at 2:00pm for a special event that will celebrate National Summer Learning Week and feature students, leaders and exemplary programs from school districts, cites, and afterschool and summer learning programs. Register here.

The Afterschool Alliance is seeking applications for the 2022-2023 Class of Youth Ambassadors! Youth Ambassadors receive support and training to speak out about the value of afterschool programs, as well as a stipend of $1000 and an expenses-paid trip to Washington DC in Spring 2023. To apply, youth age 13 and up are encouraged to submit a video, artwork, or essay that shows what they feel or appreciate about their afterschool program.

Check out the below video to hear from one of this's year's Youth Ambassadors, Belen, who comes from Alexandria, Virginia!

Applications can be submitted here.

National Summer Learning Week is a celebration dedicated to elevating the importance of keeping kids learning, safe, and healthy every summer, ensuring they return to school ready to succeed in the year. This year the festivities will take place July 11-15. Get started with resources including different themes you can use to highlight activities during the celebration.

Power of Us Workforce Survey: Calling All Youth-Serving Professionals and Volunteers

Every person who works with young people is committed to helping them thrive. On athletic fields, in afterschool programs, in libraries, and in faith-based institutions, youth-serving professionals and volunteers are making a difference every day. Through the Power of Us Workforce Survey, youth-serving professionals and volunteers can contribute to a national effort to explore, define, and elevate their profession. Take the survey today! 

Applications Now Open for the Summer Food Service Program

The Summer Food Service Program operates at sites such as schools, public housing centers, community centers, playgrounds, camps, parks, and churches. Organizations that may qualify to participate in the program include public and private schools, local governments, public, and nonprofit private residential summer camps, and faith-based and community-based non-profit organizations.

The program — which is funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture — allows organizations to combine a feeding program with another activity in communities where at least 50 percent of the children are eligible for free and reduced-price meals.

Full details here.

Keep Kids Fed Act

On June 24, 2022, Congress passed the Keep Kids Fed Act, a bipartisan bill introduced by Virginia's own House Education and Labor Committee Chairman Bobby Scott (D-VA). This act helps mitigate the loss of the pandemic enacted child nutrition waivers, which expired June 30, 2022. This bill is an important first step that would increase reimbursements to schools and child care centers, support access to summer meals, and streamline access to healthy meals for children in family child care. Provisions of the Keep Kids Fed Act include extending the USDA’s authority to issue summer nutrition waivers through September 30, 2022. Read more here.

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