Support IAN in the New Year – Friends of IAN Day

Illinois Afterschool Network develops the afterschool leaders of today through quality professional development opportunities.

By making a tax-deductible donation or signing up as a monthly contributor to IAN, you are helping support professional development programming for the afterschool community, thus creating a positive impact for students, families, and communities throughout all of Illinois.

Afterschool Educators in Illinois to Receive Free Professional Development for Next Four Years

The Illinois Afterschool Network has been chosen to participate in the National Science Foundation Scale-up Grant. IAN was one of 3 states (New York and Missouri), chosen by the ACRES (After School Coaching for Reflective Educators in STEM) Project to serve as a Hub of professional learning. During this three year, multi-million-dollar scale-up grant, the Illinois Afterschool Network will offer free coaching to afterschool educators who wish to hone their STEM facilitation skills, and will have extensive support to train afterschool leaders as coaches. 

The ACRES project has received national accolades for virtual and innovative coaching in STEM for Afterschool programs. The Illinois AfterSchool Network had several educators participate in the pilot program over the last few years. One participant had this to say about the experience;” I would say that it was a hands-on training with amazing documents that we continue to use to this day. It was great for staff to get together in this format explaining how to work with STEM projects with students”

The Illinois Afterschool Network will receive funding and support to, first train coaches and then offer free professional learning statewide with an emphasis on central and downstate Illinois. There will be increased opportunities to reflect on how programs can make STEM career connections and STEM equity will be a focus our work. There will be no fees to participate, lots of resources will be extended to all participants, and there will even be stipends available to those that participate in MMSA’s educational research as we wrap up the four year project.

Further details about the Illinois project is forthcoming.

Contact Information
To learn more about the how to take advantage of these opportunities visit
Illinois Project Leader: Curtis Peace

IAN Trainer Spotlight: Big Brothers Big Sisters Roundtable Discussion

IAN Trainer
Miesha Ransom

North Region Brand Ambassador, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metro Chicago

BBBS Roundtable Discussion
November 12, 2021
10:00 AM – 11:00 AM
Registration Link

Miesha Ransom is the North Region Brand Ambassador with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metro Chicago (BBBSChi).   Born and raised in Michigan, Miesha was a first-generation college student/graduate, and holds a master’s degree from Roosevelt University.  

Miesha has been with the BBBSChi for three years, working diligently to raise awareness about this FREE mentoring program accessible to Chicagoland youth and how it’s socio-emotional and educational impact matters.   During this time she has also helped increase youth and family engagement through development of inaugural events such as “Snack Break with BBBS” and “BBBSChi College and Career Day”. 

This session will highlight the history of BBBSChi agency, it’s purpose, the population it serves, select match stories, and other BBBS agency locations available throughout the state of Illinois. 

IAN and Safe2Help Illinois Announce Strategic Partnership

Affiliation aims to offer support to after-school providers

Many thanks to the providers who attended our Professional Development Roundtable Discussion Friday, September 24 with our newest strategic partner, Safe2Help Illinois. During the presentation, Samantha Kanish, Marketing & Outreach Coordinator, talked about their invaluable resources, tips and tools developed to share with educators, parents and the community at large. As a strategic partner, we are proud to now share the toolkit with providers here in Illinois! Going forward, there will be more shared about our strategic partnership regarding professional development opportunities.

More about Safe2 Help Illinois: In the absence of a trusted adult, Safe2Help Illinois offers students a safe, confidential way to share information that might help prevent suicides, bullying, school violence or other threats to student safety. This program is not intended to suspend, expel, or punish students. Rather, the goal is to encourage students to Seek Help Before Harm.

Safe2Help Illinois is more than a free information sharing platform. Safe2Help Illinois provides tips, tools and resources to help teachers, educators, parents and the community by providing additional educational resources for youth in Pre-K through High School.

About Safe2Help:
Safe2Help Illinois is a 24/7 program where students can use a free app, text/phone, website ( and other social media platforms to report school safety issues in a confidential environment. Once vetted, the tips will immediately be shared with local school officials, mental health professionals and/or local law enforcement, depending on the nature of the tip. The program also will help local officials by connecting them with mental health resources or other appropriate resources to intervene and help students before they harm themselves or others.