In a historic move for Afterschool and Summer Learning programs in Ohio, the Ohio Afterschool Association (OAA) finalized the agreement yesterday to became part of the Ohio Afterschool Network (OAN). This merger will align the two prominent Afterschool and Summer Learning membership organizations and enable OAN to continue to advocate for increased funding and policy changes as well as provide high-quality resources to Afterschool professionals in Ohio.
“Aligning the two organizations is a huge win for Ohio’s Afterschool Professionals,” says OAN Director Nichelle Harris. “OAN and OAA working together has been a goal here in Ohio for many years. To see this finally realized is amazing!”
The Ohio Afterschool Association is a primarily volunteer organization that is supported by the National Afterschool Association. NAA has a commitment to fostering development, providing education, and encouraging advocacy for the out-of-school-time community. NAA supports it’s membership in a variety of ways, including technical assistance calls, online resources and an annual convention.
The Ohio Afterschool Network is funded in part through the Charles Mott Foundation. Support from Mott allows OAN to have one paid staff person who coordinates a system of volunteers, including a volunteer Leadership Team and a network of members. OAN has historically been committed to increasing access to Afterschool and Summer Learning programs through advocacy and legislative and policy changes.
“Now OAN has a two handed approach,” says Harris. “OAN can now continue the advocacy and policy work and, with the support of NAA, offer members an opportunity for increased access to high quality professional development. It’s a real win-win!”
Heidi Ham, the Vice President of the National Afterschool Association, says, “We are excited about the merger of the Ohio Afterschool Association and the Ohio Afterschool Network. Bringing the best professional development, quality, advocacy, and policy work together will benefit children, families, communities and the Afterschool profession. We look forward to a bright future and on-going affiliate partnership with the new combined organization!”
Harris says there will be exciting updates coming soon and encourages members to connect with OAN via social media or by visiting the OAN website frequently for updates.