Today is Lights on Afterschool, a nationwide celebration of after-school programs and the critical role they play in the lives of children, families, and communities. After-school programs and communities around the country will be holding carnivals, talent shows, STEM demonstrations, sports tournaments, and arts showcases. Here’s how our partners are celebrating:
•The Providence After School Alliance is hosting a free community forum featuring the noted and highly entertaining neurobiologist Dr. Abigail Baird in a panel discussion with some of PASA’s youth alumni on how adolescent brain development impacts educational success. Tonight, PASA will host a birthday bash commemorating their 10 years of serving the Providence community.
•The Partnership for Children & Youth is bringing Lights On Afterschool to children in affordable housing communities. Children who live in affordable housing communities often face unique challenges to participation in traditional school or community-based after-school and summer programs. PCY’s Housing Cohort members will be holding their own Lights On Afterschool events, featuring students explaining through art (poems, songs, videos, visual art, and essays) why their community is their home.
• After School Matters will be participating in a panel discussion with lawmakers, nonprofit representatives, and participating youth on how after-school can promote graduation and protect youth from violence. Following the panel, youth will showcase the skills they learned in their after-school programs– everything from chorus to dance to marching band – in a pep rally.
• The Nashville After Zone Alliance hosted their 5th Annual Youth Leadership Retreat this month to celebrate after-school in Nashville. Students from across the city participated in STEM workshops, created original screen prints, and rode zip lines. Today, cohorts will be celebrating Lights on Afterschool at their sites with dance, art, step dance, and poetry.
• And here in New York City, in addition to events around the city, the Empire State Building will be lit up in yellow to celebrate Lights on Afterschool.
Another goal of Lights on Afterschool is to highlight the huge need for more high-quality programs for underserved students around the country. The recently released America After 3PM report found that for every child in an after-school program, two more are waiting to get in. Our partners and hundreds of groups around the country have much to celebrate today. But we all have more to do so that every child has high-quality and engaging learning opportunities.