WASHINGTON, Oct. 20, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Community and business leaders, policy makers, students, parents, educators and others are coming together at schools, carnivals, state capitals, science museums, parks and other venues today to show their support for afterschool programs as part of the 17th annual Lights On Afterschool. The nationwide rally for afterschool programs includes more than 8,000 events in every corner of the country and at U.S. military bases worldwide.
Lights On Afterschool is organized by the Afterschool Alliance to underscore the need to invest in afterschool programs, which provide homework help, healthy snacks, mentoring, physical activities, robotics, computer programming, art and music, job- and college-readiness, and opportunities for hands-on learning. One in five students in the United States is unsupervised after the school day ends.
This year, Lights On Afterschool kicked off in San Jose on October 6 when Learn Fresh, the Golden State Warriors and the Sacramento Kings held an NBA Math Hoops tournament at a pre-season game. Events today and throughout October are sending the message that millions more children and youth need quality afterschool programs. This evening, for the tenth consecutive year, the iconic Empire State Building will be lit up in yellow for afterschool.
"We are thrilled that so many people are raising their voices for afterschool programs all across the country," said Afterschool Alliance Executive Director Jodi Grant. "They will get to see firsthand the many ways afterschool programs help students succeed in school and in life. Afterschool programs keep kids safe and healthy and inspire them to learn by helping them discover their passions through fun, educational, hands-on activities. Unfortunately, there aren't nearly enough afterschool programs to meet the need. Our goal is to give every student a safe, enriching place to go after the school day ends."
The thousands of Lights On Afterschool events set for today will feature coat drives, science experiments, literacy games, healthy cooking demonstrations, math jeopardy, Maker Carnivals, stair-climbing challenges, fun runs, rallies at state capitols, and more.
The United States Senate passed a resolution recognizing October 20 as a day to celebrate Lights On Afterschool. Forty-eight states and the District of Columbia have issued proclamations or letters of support for Lights On Afterschool.
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.
There are more than 100 Lights On Afterschool supporters and partners, including: YMCA of the USA, Boys & Girls Clubs of America, 4-H, After-School All-Stars and Camp Fire. A complete list of national Lights On Afterschool partners is here.
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.
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SOURCE Afterschool Alliance