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  • Writer's pictureNoah Lattanzi

Sunrise Site Director Named 2021 Afterschool Champion

Please join us in extending congratulations to Brianna Morales (Site Director, South Philadelphia High School) on her official recognition as a 2021 PA Afterschool Champion!

Each year The Pennsylvania Statewide Afterschool and Youth Development Network honors select individuals and organizations as Afterschool Champions for their outstanding work in developing, supporting and promoting meaningful high-quality afterschool or out-of-school time programs to benefit children, youth and families across Pennsylvania.

These annual awards emphasize the importance of afterschool and summer learning programs in the state and aligns with PSAYDN’s mission to promote sustainable, high quality out-of-school time youth development programs through advocacy and capacity building to enhance the welfare of Pennsylvania’s children, youth and families.

Read more about the award and this year's recipients at -

Brianna Morales, South Philadelphia High School, Philadelphia

Brianna Morales is an outstanding youth advocate, who is at the heart of Sunrise’s Youth development program at South Philadelphia High School. Brianna started as a high school group leader working directly with students before being promoted to the site director position in 2020. While working full time with Sunrise, Brianna finished her bachelor’s degree in human development and community engagement from Temple University’s College of Education and has since been accepted to a master’s program at Drexel University.

From group leader to site director, Brianna evolved from a hands-on high school mentor, leading youth development activities, to coordinating and planning the entire high school afterschool program where she is responsible for designing curriculum and leading a team of youth mentors.

Brianna is passionate about the work she does. She is committed to addressing the disparity between special admission schools vs. public schools and has dedicated her time to closing that gap through out-of-school-time (OST) programs and partnerships that focus on developing post-secondary plans and building career development skills.

Since her promotion in 2020, Brianna has gone above and beyond in her role, raising the profile of our agency through her collaboration with our school district funders and numerous community partners. In October of the 2021 school year, Brianna was responsible for recruiting dozens of students into Sunrise’s youth development program, more than doubling the total participation in our high school program.

One project Brianna spearheaded this year is the Sunrise Youth Advisory Council, a group designed in partnership with local government agencies to uplift youth voices and to bring young people to the table in discussions around local policy and lawmaking. Brianna worked with our administrative staff to generate partnerships with the offices of State Representative Elizabeth Fielder and State Senator Nikil Saval. Brianna has been an integral part of the team, leading the meetings between our high school youth and the state representative and senator. Throughout the initiative, Brianna has been a champion for youth issues leading conversations around educational inequality, gun violence, and especially the search for the new Philadelphia superintendent of schools.

Last month, Brianna and one of our South Philadelphia students, Sirron Gorden, were invited to join the current Philadelphia superintendent, Dr. Hite, to discuss the role of afterschool in student life and the ways OST can be a lifesaving resource for young members of the community.

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