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JUL
31
2017

LIGHTS ON
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The Empire State Building will shine for Lights On Afterschool!

By Charlotte Steinecke

Lights On Afterschool wouldn't be such a powerful rally for afterschool if we didn't have amazing partners to help us celebrate! From the programs that host events and the individuals that attend them and to the organizations that participate by elevating the message on social media, bringing everyone together and sharing our support of afterschool is the key to a brilliant celebration.

This year, one of our brightest partners is back: for the 11th year in a row, the iconic Empire State Building will be lighting up the New York City skyline in support of Lights On Afterschool!

On October 26, the lights on 5th Avenue will stay on, making a shining representation of both the students who are benefiting from afterschool enrichment every day and the students who are waiting to get into quality programs. With the sky lit up in blue and yellow, it will be an eye-catching reminder of how much we need our afterschool programs!

As we move into August, it’s the perfect time to register your Lights On Afterschool event. Once registered, you’ll receive an event starter kit with everything you need to get your event going, including 10 free copies of this year’s poster. (Plus, you’ll be eligible for prizes and giveaways each week leading up to October 26!)

We are honored to have a national landmark like the Empire State Building celebrating afterschool with us, and we’re excited to celebrate the afterschool partners, programs, families, and students across the country during the Lights On Afterschool season. Join us, the Empire State Building, and thousands of out-of-school time programs in keeping the Lights On Afterschool. Register your program so you don’t miss a single update!

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learn more about: Light Up a Landmark
DEC
26
2016

IN THE FIELD
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Looking back at 2016 in the afterschool field

By Rachel Clark

2016 was an eventful year for the United States and the world, and the changes that were set into motion this year are impacting the afterschool field just as they’ve affected communities across the country.

As we look ahead to the year to come, take a moment to bid farewell to 2016 and look back at some of the biggest moments of the year.

  1. Donald Trump was elected President of the United States. Election Day was easily the most consequential moment of 2016 for our country. Take a look at our early analysis of what the Trump Administration could mean for the afterschool field.
  2. A new Congress was elected. Though Donald Trump’s victory was the biggest story on Election Day, the afterschool field should pay close attention to the 115th Congress, which is set to make big moves in the next several months. Learn what afterschool advocates should look for in the first few months of 2017.
  3. New research highlighted the wide-ranging impact of America’s afterschool programs. This year, we finished up the 2014 America After 3PM series with our first-ever special reports on afterschool in rural America and afterschool in communities of concentrated poverty. New reports also highlighted the impacts of afterschool STEM and the state of computer science education in afterschool.
  4. Lights On Afterschool partnered with two NBA teams to kick off the 2016 celebration. In one of our most exciting Lights On kickoffs to date, we joined NBA Math Hoops to celebrate afterschool with a Math Hoops tournament before the Golden State Warriors faced off against the Sacramento Kings in San Jose, Calif. The tournament winners—and the beginning of the national rally for afterschool programs—were even recognized at halftime!
  5. Notable shifts occurred in state legislatures. With party control switching in seven chambers and voters in two states passing three ballot initiatives that could impact afterschool funding, November 8 was an important day at the ballot box for many states.
  6. President-elect Trump announced his nominee for education secretary. Betsy DeVos, a philanthropist and former chairwoman of the Republican Party of Michigan, is a longtime school choice advocate whose family foundation has supported local afterschool providers in the past.
  7. Diverse partnerships brightened Lights On Afterschool 2016. From the tenth annual lighting of the Empire State Building in honor of afterschool to a Senate resolution recognizing the celebration, partnerships at the local, state and national levels made this year’s rally shine.

What was the biggest moment of 2016 for you and your afterschool program? We want to hear from you! Share a photo of your favorite or most important memory on Instagram and tag @afterschool4all for a chance to be featured. 

AUG
26
2015

LIGHTS ON
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On October 22, the Empire State Building will keep the Lights On Afterschool!

By Rachel Clark

We’re excited and honored to announce that for the ninth year in a row, the iconic Empire State Building will light up the New York City skyline in support of Lights On Afterschool! On October 22, the skyline will glow yellow to illuminate the important work afterschool programs are doing to keep kids safe, inspire learning and help working families.

With more than two months until this year’s national celebration, now is the perfect time to register your Lights On Afterschool event! You still have plenty of time to plan a celebration that will light up your community just like the Empire State Building will light up Manhattan. Tools from our planning kit make it simple to plan a successful celebration, big or small, that will rally all of your friends and neighbors in support of afterschool programs.

To help spread the word and get your community ready to celebrate with you, we’ll send you ten free Lights On Afterschool posters once you’ve registered. If you register by August 27, we’ll also enter you to win a Lights On Afterschool Ultimate Gift Pack to light up your event with 100 strobe buttons, 100 awareness bracelets, use of an 8-foot Lights On balloon, and 100 extra posters!

We’re honored to have a national landmark like the Empire State Building celebrating afterschool programs with us for the ninth year in a row. Will you join us, the Empire State Building, and thousands of programs around the world to keep the Lights On Afterschool this year? Register today to make this year’s Lights On Afterschool celebration the biggest and best yet!

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learn more about: Light Up a Landmark
NOV
10
2011

STEM
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Lights on Afterschool SHINEs a Light on STEM

By Ramya Sankar

 Oct. 20, 2011, marked a celebration throughout the nation of the amazing service that afterschool programs provide every day after the school bell rings.  Celebrating its 12th year, the Lights on Afterschool rally provides an opportunity for communities to highlight the importance of afterschool programs in their area.  This year several sites chose to showcase the work that they do in STEM learning. I had the privilege of getting a firsthand look at some of the amazing programming being offered in Brevard County, FL, in which students can participate in the Zoo Explorers or Space Explorers programs which cater specifically to engaging youth in science fields.  The Zoo Explorer program allows youth to learn more about wildlife as well as native species.  The Space Explorers program provided participants with an opportunity to learn more about the work being done in their own backyard at the Kennedy Space Center.  The program takes place in the Astronaut Hall of Fame where they get to go on simulated missions and learn about the fundamentals of space exploration. The celebration on Oct. 20 included the lighting up of the Rocket Garden at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor’s Complex.  Students from the program at Coquina Elementary School had the opportunity to speak with former astronaut Jon McBride.

STEM was also on the minds of several business leaders, government officials and community members in Camdenton, MO, who met for a summit on Oct. 21, 2011, as part of their Lights on Afterschool week-long celebration.  Dr. Ina Linville, University of Missouri Extension 4-H program director, noted that, “the characteristics of quality afterschool environments include having sustained relationships with caring adults, activities that expand students’ horizons and holding their interests and a positive peer group.“  The summit also gave an opportunity for afterschool program staff, participants and parents to share their experience in their programs.  The full article about this summit can be found here.

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learn more about: Celebrities Light Up a Landmark NASA
NOV
8
2011

LIGHTS ON
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Landmarks Lit Up for Afterschool

By Sarah Simpson

By Kamila Thigpen, Associate

After 12 years of “shining a light” on afterschool, many of this year’s celebrations took the meaning of Lights On Afterschool to a whole new level! In collaboration with our longtime partner jcpenney, the first annual Light Up a Landmark contest challenged people across the country to raise awareness about afterschool in their communities by lighting up a local landmark. This year also marked the launch of jcpenney’spennies from heaven campaign, which helps kids spread their wings by supporting life-enriching afterschool programs in every jcpenney community. To help jcpenney kick off this campaign, we put out the call to afterschool supporters across the country to tell us the landmarks in your community that you wanted to light up.

Well, we asked and you answered—over a hundred of you. What’s more, the diversity of the proposed landmarks was pleasantly surprising. We received applications for capitol buildings, corporate headquarters, museums, monuments, sculptures, lighthouses, parks, naval bases… the list goes on. In addition to landmarks, nominees put the spotlight on youth by using the events as an opportunity for them to show off their talents to the community. Many of the events featured multiple afterschool programs, hundreds of afterschool supporters and notable elected officials coming together to celebrate afterschool! From national landmarks like the Kennedy Space Center’s NASA Rocket Garden in Florida to the K-Town Mall in Germany, this year’s landmark celebrations definitely garnered attention.

Winners were selected based on the reach of their events, as well as geographic diversity, the level of community involvement and creativity.  The decision to narrow the nominees down to merely 11 winners was a tough one.  So tough, in fact, that jcpenney graciously agreed to fund seven additional cash awards.  In the end, we selected two $5,000 Megawatt winners, 15 $1,000 Spotlight winners and one $1,000 People’s Choice winner that will be decided by public voting on Facebook.  Find out more about how to vote for your favorite event here

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learn more about: Light Up a Landmark
OCT
12
2011

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup - October 12, 2011

By Luci Manning

 Colome Girl’s Idea Lights Up Ceremony (The Daily Republic, South Dakota) 
Lights On Afterschool events are kicking off across the country. Nine-year-old afterschool student Rebekah White’s drawing of cheerleaders was chosen through a statewide contest to be a mural on the outside of the Corn Palace in Mitchell, SD, because it best exemplifies how important afterschool programs are for kids. The Corn Palace was lit up in a ceremony on Oct. 8 in honor of Lights On Afterschool.

Event Highlights After-School Programs (El Paso Times, Texas)
City Representative Steve Ortega will speak at El Paso’s Lights On Afterschool event at Thomas Manor Elementary School on Oct. 20. Each year, the school district selects a school to host the district’s Lights On Afterschool event, and this year’s honored school will highlight afterschool programs in the Lower Valley and the Ysleta Independent School District. For more information about Lights On Afterschool or to register your event, click here.

Advocates Lobby for More After-School Programs (Providence Journal-Bulletin, Rhode Island)
A survey of 500 Rhode Island parents found that more than 9 in 10 (91 percent) said that the school day alone isn’t enough and that afterschool programs are critical for them as working parents. It also finds that a lack of afterschool programming affects a parent’s ability to concentrate at work when their children are home alone. One in 4 parents report “reduced productivity at work,” the Journal-Bulletin reports.

AUG
9
2011

LIGHTS ON
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Shine a Light on Afterschool - Enter the Light Up a Landmark Contest!

By Sarah Simpson

The 12th annual Lights On Afterschool is coming up fast—October 20 will be here in no time!  Programs all over the country have already registered their events and shared with us the fun and creative ways they plan to celebrate the importance of afterschool in their communities.

This year, afterschool programs have another reason to get charged up for the nation’s largest rally for afterschool.  Thanks to longtime afterschool champion jcpenney, when you tell us what landmark you plan to light up for your Lights On Afterschool celebration, you could win up to $5,000!

How are you planning to shine a spotlight on the importance of afterschool in your community?  Enter the Light Up a Landmark contest and let us know! We’ve seen the Empire State Building, Mount Rushmore and the Los Angeles Lindbergh Beacon all lit up as past Lights On Afterschool celebrations, but this year, we want to see even more landmarks across the country lit up in honor of afterschool programs that keep kids safe, inspire them to learn, and help working families.  Build excitement among program participants and create buzz in your community by incorporating a well-known landmark into your celebration – or be creative and think outside the box! 

OCT
14
2010

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly News Roundup - Oct. 14, 2010

By Luci Manning

Report Says One Third of Iowa Kids Are Unsupervised After School (Radio Iowa, Iowa)
The Afterschool Alliance on Tuesday released America After 3PM: From Big Cities to Small Towns, examining the differences in afterschool programs in rural, urban and suburban communities. It finds that only about one in ten children in rural areas attend afterschool programs, and highlights variances between the geographic communities related to afterschool participation, satisfaction and demand. Find out more here.
 
Mount Rushmore to be Lit in Observance of 'Lights on Afterschool' Program (Argus Leader, South Dakota)
Afterschool advocates, community leaders, students and parents will light up Mt. Rushmore later this week to celebrate the 11th annual Lights on AfterschoolTo learn more, or to find Lights on Afterschool events happening in your community, click here.
 
Our View: Helping Kids After School (Advocate, Louisiana)
Afterschool Ambassador Gaylynne Mack talks to the Advocate editorial board about the need for afterschool programs in Baton Rouge, and her plans for a Lights on Afterschool rally to raise awareness.
 
After-School Programs Endangered (Cincinnati Enquirer, Ohio)
Afterschool programs in Ohio worry that changes in federal afterschool funding could force them to charge fees or cut programming.