WASHINGTON, Oct. 26, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Students, parents, business leaders, policy makers, educators, faith leaders, community members, and others are coming together at schools, parks, college and university campuses, state capitols, science museums, shopping malls, and other venues today to show their support for afterschool programs as part of the 18th annual Lights On Afterschool. The only nationwide rally for afterschool programs, Lights On Afterschool includes more than 8,000 events around the country and at U.S. military bases worldwide.
The Afterschool Alliance organizes Lights On Afterschool to shine a spotlight on the urgent need to invest in afterschool programs, which provide homework help, mentors, sports and physical activities, robotics, computer programming, art and dance, college- and job-readiness, healthy snacks, and much more, plus opportunities for team-based, hands-on learning.
"We are thrilled that Lights On Afterschool is such a success again this year," said Afterschool Alliance Executive Director Jodi Grant. "All over the country, people are seeing firsthand the skills students hone and talents they develop at their afterschool programs, which keep kids safe and inspire them to learn through fun, educational, hands-on activities of all kinds. Unfortunately, there aren't nearly enough afterschool programs to meet the need, and one in five students in our country today is unsupervised after the school day ends. We can and must do better for our children, our families, and our communities."
The America After 3PM household survey of 30,000 families, commissioned by the Afterschool Alliance, found that for every child in an afterschool program, two more are waiting to get in. Unmet demand is especially high in rural communities and communities of concentrated poverty. One in five students in the United States is unsupervised after the school day ends.
Among the thousands of Lights On Afterschool events set for today:
Dothan, Alabama: The Boys & Girls Clubs of Hawk-Houston is hosting an open house, "Lights On Afterschool for Literacy." It will include a free book fair, opportunities to sign up for a library card and a "Family Feud for Literacy" game hosted by a local pastor.
Sacramento, California: The Martin Luther King Jr. K-8 ASES program is hosting a Lights On Afterschool block party highlighting literacy; health and wellness; and STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math). Students and their families will build catapults out of plastic straws and craft sticks, make bookmarks, participate in cooking lessons, and more.
Norwalk, Connecticut: The Norwalk Housing Authority Learning Centers is celebrating Lights On Afterschool at the Stepping Stones Museum for Children. Student artwork will be on display, the STEM club will give a presentation and the teen chef program will do a cooking demonstration.
Miami, Florida: The Miami Marlins are opening Marlins Park for the After-School All-Stars South Florida special Lights On Afterschool event, which will feature a "CEO Relay Race" at which 200 students pair up with professionals from a variety of industries to discuss career and college paths.
Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho: Afterschool students from AFB Youth Programs are sharing a day in the life of the afterschool program at an open house and carnival. The event begins with a video made by Video Club afterschool students, and youth will showcase afterschool activities like poetry, jump rope, STEM science, and LEGO.
Louisville, Kentucky: The Coleridge Taylor YMCA is holding a Rock 'n Roll Science Spooktacular for Lights On Afterschool. Parents and students are making edible pumpkin slime and competing to see who can fit the most drops of water on a penny. Youth will soak eggs in rubbing alcohol to demonstrate the effects of alcohol on the human brain, and there will be a kickball game pitting parents against students.
Jennings, Missouri: The Missouri AfterSchool Network and Jennings School District is holding a Lights On Afterschool roundtable discussion at which Jennings School Board and City Council Member Terry Wilson will discuss policies that support afterschool and summer learning programs and the need for further investment.
New York, New York: This evening, for the 11th consecutive year, the iconic Empire State Building is being lit up in yellow and blue for Lights On Afterschool.
Cleveland, Ohio: The Horizon afterschool program at Wilbur Wright School is partnering with the Red Cross for a Lights On Afterschool event focused on emergency preparedness. It is part of Red Cross's Pillowcase Project, which gives students coping skills for stressful situations and teaches them about fire and tornado safety and how to prepare for other emergencies.
Ft. Worth, Texas: Eighty Fort Worth After School program sites are celebrating Lights On Afterschool with open houses, rallies, and family fun nights. Activities include 3D drone demonstrations created by students, performing arts, chess club challenges, fine art performances, student-built soap box car challenges, one-act plays, and more.
High school senior Angela Mamun designed the 2017 Lights On Afterschool poster, taking inspiration from her Youth Policy Institute afterschool program in Los Angeles.
Governments, parents, philanthropies, businesses and others support afterschool programs, but investments are frequently under threat; this year, the President proposed eliminating federal funding for afterschool and summer learning programs serving 1.6 million children. While Congress has rejected the call to eliminate afterschool funding, there is still a threat of cuts that could affect 100,000 students.
Capital One is a sponsor of Lights On Afterschool and more than 100 partners support it, including 4-H Afterschool, After-School All-Stars, Alliance for a Healthier Generation, the Association of Science Technology Centers, Boys & Girls Clubs of America, Camp Fire, the Food Research & Action Center, the National Girls Collaborative, the National Recreation & Park Association, STAR Net, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services' Office of Child Care, Voices for Healthy Kids, and the Y. 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.
SOURCE Afterschool Alliance