April 25, 2017 – NEO is joining with the National AfterSchool Association (NAA) to celebrate the professionals that are at the heart of afterschool programs during “Afterschool Professionals Appreciation Week” April 24-28, 2017.

NEO operates a youth center in Grass Valley for ages 11-25 years old and provides free drop-in hours after school from 3:30-6:30pm. The NEO Youth Center is filled with musical equipment, game tables, art supplies, sports equipment, and mentors who are ready to be active, help with homework, teach new skills, give a high five, provide a listening ear, and even a shoulder to cry on.

Why is it important to recognize Afterschool Professionals? 

An estimated 10.2 million children participate in afterschool programs each year. Today, afterschool programs are viewed as much more than just childcare. They are widely credited as the way to enhance education in STEM, literacy, the arts, social and emotional learning, health and wellness, and more. With that demand comes increased responsibility on the estimated 850,000 of professionals who are making a difference in the lives of children. NEO believes it’s important for the community to recognize the staff and volunteers who serve in the youth center because without them, the program wouldn’t be successful. NEO relies heavily on dedicated, trained volunteers who have a passion to work with youth. Since the beginning of the 2016-2017 school year, NEO volunteers have accumulated over 1,000 volunteer hours. With their ongoing commitment and support, youth membership has steadily increased and currently the center averages about 120 visits a week.

What is Afterschool Professionals Appreciation Week? 

Afterschool Professionals Appreciation Week is a joint effort of community partners, afterschool programs, youth and child care workers, and individuals who have committed to dedicating time to recognize and appreciate those who work with youth during out-of-school hours. The week is marked by celebrations to encourage people to thank afterschool professionals serving children in programs and organizations across the nation.

How can I thank an Afterschool Professional? 

  • Declare on social media: I appreciate the Afterschool Professionals who make a difference in the lives of youth. #heartofafterschool
  • Give a hand-written card from you and/or your youth to the afterschool professional in your life.
  • Send an email to an afterschool professional’s supervisor describing why that person is appreciated.
  • Make treats for the staff at your afterschool program.

NEO invites the community to visit the Youth Center on Friday, April 28th between 6:30-8:30pm to personally say thank you, drop off a card, or even donate to the organization in honor of the staff. Several local businesses have already shown their appreciation by donating gift cards and other items to the staff such as Caroline’s Coffee Roasters, Sierra Theaters, Culture Shock Yogurt, Subsational, and Safeway.

For more information on the NEO Youth Center or Afterschool Professionals Appreciation Week visit www.ncneo.org or call 530-470-3869.

WHO: NEO Youth Center

WHAT: NEO Celebrates the Heart of Afterschool Programs during Afterschool Professionals Appreciation Week

WHEN: April 24 – April 28

WHERE: NEO Youth Center, 139 Joerschke Drive, Grass Valley

INFO: Donations and more information can be found www.ncneo.org or call 530-470-3869