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The After-School Institute Launches New Web Site

Planit develops interface, content, and functionality to grow online environment for successful after-school programs

BALTIMORE ? October 11, 2001 ? The After-School Institute, partner of Baltimore?s After-School Strategy Network, today announced the launch of its web site, www.afterschoolinstitute.org.  Created by Planit, a Baltimore-based integrated brand communications agency, the web site provides a central location for after-school providers, partners, funders, municipalities, politicians, faith-based organizations, and others to explore vital program information. 

?Our site launch is an exciting event for all our stakeholders,? said Rebkha Atnafou, director of The Institute.  ?With this tool, we can provide fresh content regularly, spend less time on paperwork and significantly more time on after-school program issues.  While the site sets a strong foundation for phase two, we also believe it will encourage greater involvement in building quality after-school programs locally and nation-wide.? 

According to the February 2001 ?Fact Sheet on School-Age Children?s Out-of-School Time,? developed by National Institute on Out-of-School Time (NIOST), children attending high quality programs have better peer relations, emotional adjustment, conflict resolution skill, grades, and conduct in school compared to their peers who are not in after-school programs (www.niost.org/FactSht_1pg.pdf). 

In an effort to increase student attendance of such programs, Planit has been developing multiple initiatives for The Institute, including its web site.  Together, the organizations are working toward introducing new site features and functions in anticipation of a second launch by the end of 2001.

Jim Murphy, account services director for Planit explains, ?With the completion of phase one we?re looking at phase two as a means to evolve the community-based nature of AfterSchoolInstitute.org.  The re-launch will emphasize member exclusivity and it will include member-focused tools such as chat rooms, a network directory, online training, credit card processing for registration, and more features to enhance the end-user experience.  We?re making it easier for The Institute?s network to get involved, stay involved and have an enjoyable experience throughout the process.

About The After-School Institute
The After-School Institute (www.afterschoolinstitute.com) is a capacity-building organization located in Baltimore, MD.  Established in 1999 as part of Baltimore?s After-School Strategy, The Institute?s mission is to provide after-school programs with the training and support they need to offer children and youth quality after-school and out-of-school opportunities.  Funding for The Institute is provided by the Aaron and Lillie Straus Foundation, the Annie E. Casey Foundation, and the Open Society Institute. 

About Planit
Planit (www.planitagency.com) is a Baltimore-based integrated brand communications agency that provides advertising, design, direct, interactive and public relations services to clients in various industries.  The agency, established in 1994, incorporates strategies and real-world tactics to give shape to corporate brands and strengthen organizations by delivering measurable results.

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