The South Dakota Afterschool Network works to better our state and its communities by connecting providers, parents and policymakers with proven tools and resources to increase the quality of and access to out-of-school time programming for K-12 children and youth.

Afterschool is a lifeline that keeps youth safe, helps kids learn and grow, and provides parents the ability to work without worry. While South Dakota is home to more than 300 afterschool programs, the demand for programs exceeds available spaces. In fact, 1 in 3 South Dakota children (34 percent) who are not in an afterschool program would be enrolled if it were available. That’s more than 42,000 children who are missing out on opportunities to participate in programming that supports their development academically, socially and economically.

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Afterschool can provide valuable opportunities for students to explore STEM, and we are here to help your program succeed in STEM Learning! From webinars and trainings to our signature TMC Trailers that bring turnkey STEM activities to your doorstep, our diverse collection of resources meets you and your students where you are and provides the support you need to deliver quality programming to your students at any age. 

The South Dakota Afterschool Network wanted to create a mapping tool to better understand the landscape of afterschool and summer programs available for children and families. From the initial launch of the new mapping tool, we have identified some startling findings.

STEM AMBASSADOR PROGRAM

STEM Ambassador Program

 Help Change the Landscape of STEM in South Dakota

The South Dakota Afterschool Network STEM Ambassador program is a statewide effort to engage individuals working in out-of-school time programs (OST) to become proponents of STEM opportunities for their students and those in neighboring communities.  This collaborative effort focuses on quality programming within OST programs themselves, connections to industry partners in your region, and providing a continuity of positive experiences in STEM throughout a student’s academic life through near peer mentorship.  Eligible participants must work in an OST program and be willing to commit to a year-long effort to create a vibrant STEM ecosystem in their region of the state.  Participants receive training in a variety of quality STEM programming (from NASA, Technovation, Click 2 Science and many others), access to industry partners in STEM fields in their region, and near peer mentorship opportunities.  We believe this endeavor to be a win-win proposition for our participants and their programs as these STEM ecosystems created through the ambassadorship will ensure STEM opportunities for students in your communities well into the future.

THE DETAILS

What?

The SDAN STEM Ambassador program creates regional STEM ecosystems in the state of South Dakota by connecting OST programs, industry partners, and students of all ages in their communities. 

Who?

Any employee working in an OST program in the state of South Dakota.

When?

This program runs for one calendar year starting in Fall 2024

Where?

A convening will take place in the fall during which the goals and objectives for the SDAN STEM Ambassador program will be discussed and implemented.  Participants will work with SDAN to deliver on the goals for their program and the region they represent throughout the next year through in-person and virtual meetings with SDAN staff and their partners.

Why? 

STEM careers are growing and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.  It is crucial that students are prepared for the fields in which career opportunities exist, and this program is one way to do so.  Currently, elementary students receive very little formal STEM education during the school day.  OST programs are uniquely positioned to fill this gap and do so in a setting that gets kids excited about STEM and builds confidence for the future.

Application Opening August 2024