'13 TFA Miami Alum, Justin Pinn, Selected as One of Just 15 U.S ‘Afterschool Ambassadors’ This Year

Justin Pinn Will Work in Florida, Nationally to Increase Students’ Access to Afterschool Programs
Monday, October 9, 2017

The Afterschool Alliance recently announced that Justin Pinn, STEM Academy Director at Breakthrough Miami, has been selected to serve as a 2017-2018 Afterschool Ambassador. He is one of just 15 leaders from across the nation chosen for the honor this year. Each Afterschool Ambassador will continue directing or supporting a local afterschool program while also serving a one-year Afterschool Ambassador term, organizing public events, communicating with policy makers and in other ways increasing support for afterschool and summer learning programs.

“We’re delighted that Mr. Pinn will serve as an Afterschool Ambassador this year,” said Afterschool Alliance Executive Director Jodi Grant. “He is exactly the kind of powerful champion we need at this time when federal funding for quality afterschool and summer learning programs is at risk. I know he will mobilize business, community and faith leaders, parents, educators and others to convince lawmakers to secure resources for the afterschool programs that keep kids safe, inspire them to learn and help working families. These programs offer hands-on learning opportunities, homework help, mentors, science and technology, healthy snacks and meals, sports and fitness, arts programming, college and job prep, and much more. We’re facing very real challenges this year, and more than a million students across the country could lose their afterschool programs. We will work together to stave off that threat.”


Justin Pinn Alumni '13 Headshot

“I am thrilled to join in the Afterschool Alliance’s work to build support for afterschool programs,” said Pinn. “During my time working in the field, I’ve seen up close the many ways afterschool programs help students to explore their interests and discover their passions, while giving parents the peace of mind that comes with knowing their children are safe and supervised, with opportunities to learn and grow, after the school day ends. I look forward to raising awareness and support for the out-of-school-time opportunities all students need.”

Breakthrough Miami is an eight-year, tuition-free academic enrichment program that provides motivated 1200 middle and high school students from underserved communities with the tools they need to achieve their most ambitious goals in life. The students-teaching-students internship engages outstanding older students as teachers, mentors and role models, so that the scholars enter and thrive in college-prep high schools and enroll in college.

Program Components include:

  • A rigorous six-week Summer Institute and school-year program
  • A College Bound program prepares high school students for the challenges of college and beyond, with advanced academic support, guidance on college selection and experiential learning that develops life skills.
  • An intensive STEM Academy focusing on an introduction to engineering and robotics.
  • The student-to-student model engages outstanding older students in teaching, tutoring and mentoring, and encourages them to pursue careers in the field of education.

Each Ambassador will organize a major event for Lights On Afterschool, the Afterschool Alliance’s annual rally for afterschool, to be held on October 26 this year. Last year, 1 million people participated in some 7,500 Lights On Afterschool events across the United States and at U.S. military bases worldwide. The 2017-2018 Afterschool Ambassadors are:

  • Arkansas: Ben Rediske, Program Director at Camp War Eagle in Springdale;
  • Florida (2): Justin Pinn, STEM Academy Director at Breakthrough Miami and Sierra Newhouse-Ragoonanan, Project Coordinator at After-School All-Stars in Orlando;
  • Kansas: Tony Yungeberg, Director of Valley Heights Community Education in Waterville;
  • Kentucky: Tom Haggard, Program Director at Covington Independent Public Schools in Covington;
  • Louisiana: Samuel Trevathan, Education Director at Kids Orchestra in Baton Rouge;
  • Maryland: Terrell Sample, 21st Century Community Coordinator at Dorchester County Public Schools in Cambridge
  • Michigan: Rebecca Idzikowski, SPARKS Director at Clare-Gladwin RESD in Clare;
  • Montana: Veronica Willeto, Site Coordinator at Pryor Public Schools 21st CCLC in Pryor;
  • Nevada: Matt Sampson, Director of Operations at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Western Nevada in Carson City;
  • New Jersey: David Haggerty, Director at the Morristown Neighborhood House in Morristown;
  • North Dakota: Robin Nelson, Chief Executive Officer at the Boys & Girls Club of the Red River Valley in Fargo;
  • Oklahoma: Danielle Hovenga, Director of the True Blue Neighbor’s Initiative at The University of Tulsa in Tulsa;
  • Tennessee: Jennifer Pettyjohn, Chief Executive Officer at the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Clinch Valley in Knoxville; and
  • Washington: Dorinda Belcher, Project Director K-12 for the White Salmon Valley School District in White Salmon.

The America After 3PM household survey of more than 30,000 families, commissioned by the Afterschool Alliance, found that participation in afterschool programs has increased to 10.2 million students nationwide, up from 6.5 million in 2004. But the unmet demand for afterschool programs has increased as well. Today, for every child in an afterschool program, there are two more whose parents say they would participate, if a program were available. Unmet demand is especially high in rural communities and communities of concentrated poverty. One in five students in the United States today is unsupervised after the school day ends. A large and growing body of evidence demonstrates improvements in attendance, behavior, academic achievement and more among children in afterschool programs. Researchers have also found that afterschool programs encourage increased parental involvement – an important building block for student success.

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The Afterschool Alliance is a nonprofit public awareness and advocacy organization working to ensure that all children and youth have access to quality afterschool programs. More information is available at