Professor shares national award for afterschool program

October 19, 2012

A long-standing afterschool program created by Michigan State University has been honored as having one of the nation’s most innovative approaches for helping middle school students succeed.

GET City (Green Energy Technologies in the City) received a 2012 Afterschool Innovator Award presented on Oct. 18 by the Afterschool Alliance and MetLife Foundation during a special event.

Angela Calabrese Barton, MSU professor of teacher education, and Scott Calabrese Barton, associate professor in the Chemical Engineering & Materials Science department at MSU, co-direct the program in partnership with the Boys and Girls Club of Lansing. The program is one of only five nationwide to be recognized for its approach to youth development.

The 2012 Afterschool Innovator Award included $10,000 for GET City to continue its work, which Angela Calabrese Barton says will be used to purchase iPads. The award event was held in conjunction with Lights on Afterschool, the only nationwide rally for afterschool programs. GET City youth organized a community green energy education fair, which included attendees riding a bicycle to generate electricity, which was then stored in a battery.

“It’s a great honor to be recognized for our work helping youth, opening their minds at a time [middle school] when they typically lose interest in science,” said Angela Calabrese Barton. “We are enabling the kids to be bridge builders…change agents who make science accessible to the community.”

GET City, which began in 2006, provides 200 hours of programming to 30 middle school youth from low-income and under-represented backgrounds. The program uses science, technology, engineering, math and information technologies to engage youth.

Since its inception, the GET City Education Network has reached more than 3,120 youth, parents and community members.