Congratulations to our 2016 Afterschool Champions!

Paul and Carolyn Brooks

Afterschool Advocates

Paul and Carolyn Brooks, Muscatine, Iowa

Paul and Carolyn have dedicated a number of years to a program at the Flickinger Learning Center. The growth in the Flickinger Learning Center network, which has expanded to multiple programs around the Muscatine community, would not have been so successful without the Brooks' leadership and dedication. With Paul and Carolyn’s assistance, the Flickinger Center's measurable outcomes of improved reading have been verified with outstanding results. Simply put, Paul and Carolyn Brooks' dedication has had a huge impact on the students in need of reading support in the Muscatine community.

Collaboration Award

The Chrysalis Foundation

The Chrysalis Foundation has been a huge supporter of the Whyld Girls for many years. Chrysalis provides funding that allows the Whyld Girls to participate in engaging learning activities, art projects, and service learning projects. Chrysalis also has been a huge support to help make sure that the Whyld Girls attend college. Chrysalis has provided scholarship opportunities for members and they never fail to show the girls how amazing it is to be young women. Chrysalis's support has allowed the Whyld Girls program to succeed and has helped send many first generation students to college.

Terry Hernandez and Brooke Findley of the Chrysalis Foundation

Principal Steve Mielenhausen

 Principal of the Year

Steve Mielenhausen, Davenport Community Schools

Principal Mielenhausen of Madison Elementary in Davenport, Iowa, has always supported afterschool and summer programming at Madison Elementary. When he became principal at Madison it became his goal to make sure any student that wanted to be in the afterschool or summer program could participate without barriers. With the introduction of the 21st Century grant, the program at Madison went from serving 15 students a day to over 65 students each day. He not only helped bring the grant to the school, he has truly integrated the programming into the school by helping the staff and teachers recognize how important the program is to the students and families. The program has full access to all areas of the school and over 40 percent of the teachers in the building work in some capacity within the program, offering academic enrichment, intervention or homework help. This would not have happened without his leadership and support.

  Friend of Afterschool

Congressman Dave Loebsack

 A long-time member of the Afterschool Caucus, Congressman Dave Loebsack of Iowa's Second Congressional District has been an advocate for afterschool programming since his first term. Last year, Congressman Loebsack introduced the Rural Education Bill in which a rural afterschool grant program was created. The Congressman is also a long-time supporter of 21st Century Community Learning Centers and afterschool STEM.


Congressman Dave Loebsack (sitting, middle) with students at Madison Elementary School in Davenport, Iowa.

Crosby Chanthavisouk (third from left) and family

 Outstanding Afterschool Student

Crosby Chanthavisouk

Crosby Chanthavisouk of Storm Lake Middle School has been a true leader in the Tornado Learning Club program back home in Storm Lake this year. He has approached the director with new ideas for programming and can be called upon to jump in as a mentor/leader when needed. His nominator considers him one of the most dependable and calm students she works with.

Outstanding Afterschool Student

Mercedes Castillo

Mercedes Castillo of Des Moines’ North High School has shown exemplary leadership through family hardship. Despite, or perhaps encouraged by, her grief at the loss of her father, Ms. Castillo went on to perform in Peter Pan, serve as a teaching artist, start an Aztec dance group, receive high honors at the Iowa Speech Contest, and much more.

Mercedes Castillo (right)

Carrie McGean (second from left)

Outstanding Afterschool Student

Carrie McGean

Carrie McGean of Southeast Polk High School in Altoona is an Outstanding Afterschool Student for her work as a GirlPower Peer Mentor. In this role, Ms. McGean has led over 25 groups and trained a dozen new mentors in high-quality, professional leadership.

 Lifetime Achievement Award

Dave Welter, Principal, Holmes Jr. High School, Cedar Falls, Iowa

The Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes Dave’s strong commitment to afterschool not only in his own school building, but also statewide and nationally. As a long-time board member of the Iowa Afterschool Alliance, Dave has been a dedicated advocate for high-quality afterschool for all children, youth, and families in Iowa. He has not only advocated for afterschool as a priority within his own district, but has influenced many of his peers to do the same in communities across the state.

Dave Welter (left) with Michelle Rich of the Iowa Afterschool Alliance


Innovator Award

ArtHaus, Decorah, Iowa

ArtHaus provides robust creative art programming that greatly benefits the children of Northeast Iowa. From exploration of Japanese art, to improv theatre and early childhood art classes, children love ArtHaus. Parents are engaged with walking school buses after school that make accessing programming easy. ArtHaus provides scholarships that let any child join in the learning, as well as classes that span different disciplines and a diverse set of teachers that maximize the arts knowledge of the Northeast Iowa community. In addition to these great components, ArtHaus partners with community members to develop their offerings, including a college professor that teaches creative writing after school. Nominated by several community members, including a parent, it is clear ArtHaus is a treasure to children, youth, families, and the community.

 We have resources for Afterschool Professionals!

Check out our Afterschool Advisors, a publication for practitioners seeking resources to improve, sustain, and develop their afterschool program. If you have any newsletter content you'd like to share, including upcoming trainings, grant opportunities, and general events related to afterschool, please contact Michelle Rich at

2016 Advisors

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The Iowa Afterschool Alliance is supported in part by the C.S. Mott Foundation as part of its Learning Beyond the Classroom strategy. Learn more about the National Network of Statewide Afterschool Networks at


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