WASHINGTON, Oct. 17, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Every afternoon, afterschool programs show students how to support their communities, promoting civic engagement and providing opportunities to collect food and clothing for those in need, clean up parks and playgrounds, read to seniors and more. This week, many of the 8,000 Lights On Afterschool events will engage students and families in community service. A million people are expected to participate in the 17th annual rally for afterschool, sponsored by the Afterschool Alliance. The New York skyline will shine for afterschool on Thursday when, for the tenth consecutive year, the iconic Empire State Building is lit up in yellow for afterschool.
Among the community service events being planned for this year's Lights On Afterschool:
Alabama, Gadsden: The Donahue Elementary Edge afterschool program will hold a coat drive. Students, families, local stores and businesses have been bringing used coats to the school. Each student who brings in a jacket gets a free homework pass, and the classroom that collects the most coats will win a prize. Volunteers are sorting the coats by size and, on October 20th, community members will pick up the coats they need. Leftover clothing will be donated to a homeless shelter.
Illinois, Marion: The HUB Recreation Center will hold a Halloween Trunk 'N Treat and carnival on October 20th. There will be games for students, lightbulb coloring and decorated car trunks filled with treats. Parents and community members will sign a petition in support of afterschool funding. The event will also serve as a food drive for the local Ministerial Alliance food pantry.
Massachusetts, Malden: On October 21st, Kids' Place will finish its Child Safety Week with a Lights On Afterschool celebration. Police officers will fingerprint students and talk to them about safety. Throughout the week beforehand, students will discuss cyber safety, stranger safety and home-alone safety. In addition, students will role play difficult situations, make cards for police officers and take safety quizzes.
Michigan, White Cloud: For Lights On Afterschool, the TrueNorth Project FOCUS afterschool program at White Cloud Public Schools will hold a community service event at which teams of students compete to see who can clean up the most trash from around Mill Pond Park.
Minnesota, Eden Valley: The Eden Valley-Watkins L.E.A.D. afterschool program are holding an anti-bullying carnival today as part of Lights On Afterschool. Parents and supporters are signing a petition that urges lawmakers not to deny or divert funding for afterschool programs.
Nevada, Yerington: The Boys & Girls Clubs of Mason Valley will celebrate Lights On Afterschool with a family night on October 20th, leading into a week-long food drive. The evening will kick off the Club's Season of Giving. A representative from Catholic Charities will discuss the importance of giving back to the community. Families will decorate large paper bags to be filled with donated food. Volunteers will collect the filled bags and donate them to the Food Bank of Northern Nevada.
New York, Queens: As part of its seventh annual Lights On Afterschool celebration, the Child Center of NY's Basie Beacon afterschool program at IS 72 will hold "Improvement Starts with I," designed to improve police-community relations. Police officers from the 113th precinct and community representatives will speak at a community forum, followed by a basketball game between officers and afterschool students. The event will be on October 20.
Oregon, Newport: For Lights On Afterschool, the Youth Development Coalition of Lincoln County will hold a youth resource fair at Yaquina View Elementary School on October 27th. The Oregon Museum of Science and Industry will give STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) presentations to students. There will be dental screenings, nutrition education programs, Oregon Health Plan registration and more.
Vermont, Milton: Milton After School Kids will hold an open house on October 20th for Lights On Afterschool. Students and guests will create a mural and adults will have the chance to view student artwork and films made at the program's summer video camp. There will be a bean bag toss challenge and a rims-and-pins tournament. The program will collect canned goods for a local food pantry.
Virginia, Hampton: Alternatives Inc. will hold an "Afterschool is Cool!" reception on October 20th for Lights On Afterschool. The reception will offer: a place to write letters to the next president; "Readers Theater;" a spot for science experiments; "24" Math Mania; and a facilitated discussion on what a great afterschool program looks like.
West Virginia, Mt. Zion: For Lights on Afterschool, Calhoun County Middle and High School will host an Evening with the Candidates on October 20th. The school has invited all major candidates for office in Calhoun County to set up booths at the school and talk about their priorities and positions. Afterschool students are writing letters to the West Virginia gubernatorial candidates.
"Every day, quality afterschool programs keep our kids safe, inspire them to learn and help working families," said Afterschool Alliance Executive Director Jodi Grant. "These programs also engage students with their communities, providing opportunities for service, teaching them about our democracy, and in other ways helping them become engaged, responsible citizens. Afterschool programs show children and youth how they can help others, while working in teams to strengthen and support their neighborhoods, cities and towns. This kind of engagement pays dividends for years to come by strengthening citizenship among the next generation."
In a unanimous vote, the United States Senate passed a resolution recognizing October 20 as a day to celebrate Lights On Afterschool.
Among the more than 100 Lights On Afterschool partners this year are United Way of America, Camp Fire, MENTOR and National League of Cities. For a complete list of national Lights On Afterschool partners, visit http://www.afterschoolalliance.org/loaNatPartners.cfm.
To find an event in your area, visit http://www.afterschoolalliance.org/loaFindEvent.cfm.
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SOURCE Afterschool Alliance