Archives:

Select:

Webinar recap: Celebrating afterschool programs and staff

READ FULL STORY

Webinar recap: Celebrating afterschool programs and staff

Lights On Afterschool is five weeks away, and it has never been more important to celebrate the impact of afterschool programs. Nationwide, programs are gearing up for the 22nd Lights On Afterschool celebration. On September 9, the Afterschool Alliance’s Tiyana Glenn hosted “Lights On Afterschool: Celebrating Afterschool and Staff” featuring panelists Charlotte Steinecke, Afterschool Alliance; Mark Cowsert, Missouri AfterSchool Network; Johanna L. Friedel, Afterschool Center of Education at Greenville ISD; and Erin Malone, Mission: St. Louis.

Tiyana opened up the presentation by giving a brief overview of why advocating for afterschool programs is so important this year and outlining the basics of planning an effective and meaningful Lights On Afterschool event. “Lights On Afterschool is the chance to celebrate afterschool programs and make the case to their community and their policymakers that these programs are essential to the youth and families they serve.”

In a typical year, one million Americans come together at more than 8,000 events nationwide to celebrate Lights On Afterschool, with plentiful media coverage and policymaker attendance. But this year celebration’s might look a little different, and it is important that programs host events that work best for their communities and their programs, she noted.

Tiyana built on the reasons for celebrating Lights On Afterschool. Afterschool programs can call attention to their  work and staff, show community leaders students in action, highlight the need for more resources, educate elected officials, nurture new partnerships and funders, build awareness in the community, and give the community something to celebrate!

She closed with the three tips to help programs plan a successful Lights On event:

  1. Register your event and receive 10 free posters, communications tools, and expert planning tips!
  2. Plan your event with weekly themes, virtual event ideas, and toolkits to engage policymakers and help you light up a landmark in your community. Programs can also submit sample language to have their governor declare October 28 “Lights On Afterschool Day.”
  3. Celebrate! Lights On Afterschool is a time to reflect on and celebrate the impact of afterschool.

Johanna L. Friedel spoke of her experience hosting a Lights On Afterschool event in Greenville, Texas. In her community, she recounted that Lights On Afterschool is a time to showcase student progress and what her afterschool program brings to the community. As a multi-year celebrant, Johanna outlined the evolution of her program’s events. Starting from an open house for families in year one, year two expanded the open house to include a theme or contest. In year three the event involved political figures, community members, and incorporated student-led events and demonstrations; and year five expanded to include multi-day celebrations.

Before closing, Johanna declared her tips for making a Lights On event special and effective. She prompted programs to start small, present data to demonstrate the positive outcomes of programming, involve community members, and to think outside of the box!

As a former director of a 21st Century Community Learn Centers (CCLC), Mark Cowsert shared his experience celebrating Lights On Afterschool in Missouri. Mark suggested starting small and recognizing a community partner like a city manager or mayor in order to foster the connection between afterschool and local policymakers and showcasing the community members that make each program possible. Mark also advised programs to incorporate media coverage as much as possible. His program was able to livestream their event on local radio and record interviews with policymakers, families, and youth in attendance. Social media live streams are also effective in spreading the message and can provide an opportunity for organizations to let youth take charge and lead interviews of their staff, superintendents, and fellow peers.

Next, Erin Malone shared her tips on planning a fun and inclusive Lights On event, urging programs to think through barriers to participation and introduce creative ways of alleviating these barriers for families and community members. Erin’s program created a Lights On Afterschool take-home challenge for students and families to work on. Students completed a daily activity at home and submitted their work for the chance to win prizes. Family members and staff were also encouraged to submit a video showing their support for the afterschool program in order to be entered in a raffle.

Charlotte Steinecke wrapped up the webinar with all resources and messaging available for programs to leverage social media and spread the message of Lights On Afterschool. With a focus on afterschool staff appreciation, programs are encouraged to recognize all that their staff do to keep kids safe and engaged by sharing photos, stories, and videos! Social media is also a great place to spotlight current projects and activities that youth are working on. The Lightbulb Challenge is another campaign that programs can participate in to show their support for afterschool. Lastly, Charlotte shared the social media language and graphics readily available to be shared on social media, emails, and blogs.

The webinar concluded with a Q&A with panelists fielding questions about event ideas, tips for lighting up landmarks in the community, and advice for first-time Lights On participants.

The full webinar can be viewed here. All presentation materials and Lights On resources mentioned in the webinar can be viewed here.

Inspiring celebrations of afterschool during Lights On 2022

In Alaska, students balanced spiders on webs they created with marshmallows and toothpicks, and enjoyed Polynesian dance. In California, they conducted “Will It Float?” exercises. In Florida, they created elephant toothpaste from dish soap, hydrogen peroxide and yeast; in Indiana,...

BY: Charlotte Steinecke      10/21/22

Time to celebrate! Today is Lights On Afterschool!

Today’s the 23rd annual Lights On Afterschool! Students are speaking with NASA astronauts and STEM Energy Superheroes, building wind turbines, running speak-out stations, putting on performances, and so much more at more than 5,000 events nationwide. In all, more than 1 million people will...

BY: Ursula Helminski      10/20/22

Guest blog: A fun-tastic partnership begins!

By Nora Minichino, founder and president of Farrell Public Relations. Page Turner Adventures and the Afterschool Alliance, leading champions of children’s education, have partnered together to spotlight the need for more afterschool programs for kids. Kicking off this fun-tastic...

BY: Guest Blogger      10/17/22

Easy Lights On Afterschool event ideas!

The 2022 celebration of Lights On Afterschool is next week! Registration is still open, and we’ve got a few easy ways to celebrate.   Let us know you are taking part in Lights On Afterschool by October 20 and you’ll be entered to win a free registration to the 2023 Beyond...

BY: Tierra Easter      10/14/22

Join the Lightbulb Challenge!

Lights On Afterschool is in just two weeks! If you’re looking for a fun, easy way to celebrate, take part in the Lightbulb Challenge! All you need to do is gather and take a photo. Let us know you are taking part in Lights On Afterschool by October 13 and you’ll be...

BY: Tierra Easter      10/07/22

Uplift youth voices during Lights On Afterschool!

We are just three weeks away from Lights On Afterschool! Here is your weekly to do list: Distribute a media alert telling reporters about your event. Facing uncertainty about an element of your event? Review our case studies for expert advice from afterschool...

BY: Tierra Easter      09/30/22

5 ways to share your students' entrepreneurial mindsets during Lights On

By Scott Mann, VentureLab, Jessie Jones and Kelly Biggar of Young Entrepreneur Institute (YEI), and Liz Nusken, Ohio Afterschool Network (OAN). Photo courtesy of Youth Panel on Entrepreneurship Education. Afterschool programs play a vital role in helping young people explore and develop...

BY: Guest Blogger      09/26/22

Light up your community during Lights On Afterschool!

Just four weeks until the 23rd annual Lights On Afterschool! Lights On Afterschool showcases the important role afterschool programs play in supporting students, families, and communities. Shining a light on afterschool programs helps build awareness of the critical need for more...

BY: Tierra Easter      09/23/22

Showcase your students' leadership skills!

We’re only five weeks away from Lights On Afterschool 2022! Here's this week's checklist: Call to confirm any VIP guests to make sure they're still able to attend your event. Arrange transportation and other logistics for dignitaries and guest...

BY: Tierra Easter      09/16/22

Shine a light on health and well-being during Lights On Afterschool

Lights On Afterschool is the perfect opportunity to focus on whole-child development. According to a Pew Research Center survey, 59 percent of parents are more worried about their child’s emotional well-being today than they were before the pandemic. Parents recognize that...

BY: Tierra Easter      09/09/22

Inspiring celebrations of afterschool during Lights On 2022

In Alaska, students balanced spiders on webs they created with marshmallows and toothpicks, and enjoyed Polynesian dance. In California, they conducted “Will It Float?” exercises. In Florida, they created elephant toothpaste from dish soap, hydrogen peroxide and yeast; in Indiana,...

BY: Charlotte Steinecke      10/21/22

Light up your community during Lights On Afterschool!

Just four weeks until the 23rd annual Lights On Afterschool! Lights On Afterschool showcases the important role afterschool programs play in supporting students, families, and communities. Shining a light on afterschool programs helps build awareness of the critical need for more...

BY: Tierra Easter      09/23/22

Planning tools for your Lights On Afterschool celebration

We’re nine weeks out from the 23rd celebration of Lights On Afterschool! If you’re in search of event ideas or unsure where to begin, we’ve got you covered. Read on to discover our top planning tools to help you organize your event! Register your Lights On event by September...

BY: Tierra Easter      08/19/22

Lights On Afterschool 2021 in images

That’s a wrap! The 22nd annual Lights On Afterschool celebrated the important role afterschool programs and staff play in the lives of youth and their communities. This year, we celebrated at more than 5,000 events nationwide, proclaimed Lights On Afterschool Day thanks to 42 governors, and...

BY: Maria Rizo      11/09/21

How the lights shined for afterschool in 2021

Creative. Resilient. Dedicated. Innovative. The afterschool field showed its true colors throughout this pandemic, and those traits were celebrated and shone bright this Lights On Afterschool. Here’s a recap of just some of the ways our field, and our nation, recognized the afterschool...

BY: Charlotte Steinecke      11/01/21

Happy Lights On Afterschool 2021!

Happy Lights On Afterschool! Today is the big day, and the nation is lighting up landmarks, throwing celebrations, and coming together to shine a light on afterschool programs and staff. We want to say thank you to the afterschool field for celebrating 22 years of Lights On Afterschool and helping...

BY: Maria Rizo      10/28/21

Light up your community for Lights On Afterschool!

Lights On Afterschool is all about shining a light on afterschool programs, and the impact they have on students, parents, and communities. This year, why not shine a light—literally—on the work that your program is doing to forge bright futures and help youth recover? Lighting plans...

BY: Tierra Easter      10/04/21

It's here! Announcing the Lights On Afterschool 2021 poster

This year, the Afterschool Alliance commemorates 22 years of Lights On Afterschool with a poster that embodies the spirit of afterschool programs. The Lights On Afterschool 2021 poster focuses on all that afterschool programs do to help youth recover and forge successful futures. It was...

BY: Tierra Easter      08/20/21

What Lights On Afterschool 2020 revealed about the afterschool field

7 ways afterschool shined We’re tired. Challenged. Worried.  Our finances are strained, our staff face too many uncertainties. Yet our field continues to innovate, evolve, and serve kids, families, and communities. Why? Because people are counting on you, and you care for them...

BY: Jodi Grant      10/30/20

Planning tools for your Lights On Afterschool celebration

We’re nine weeks out from the 23rd celebration of Lights On Afterschool! If you’re in search of event ideas or unsure where to begin, we’ve got you covered. Read on to discover our top planning tools to help you organize your event! Register your Lights On event by September...

BY: Tierra Easter      08/19/22

Join us for virtual Lights On events: Celebrating youth voice

We are counting down the weeks until Lights On Afterschool, the nation’s largest rally for afterschool programs. In a typical year, 1 million people join together at more than 8,000 events nationwide to celebrate the impact and value of afterschool. This year, programs rose to the moment...

BY: Maria Rizo      10/07/21

Webinar recap: Celebrating afterschool programs and staff

Lights On Afterschool is five weeks away, and it has never been more important to celebrate the impact of afterschool programs. Nationwide, programs are gearing up for the 22nd Lights On Afterschool celebration. On September 9, the Afterschool Alliance’s Tiyana Glenn hosted “Lights On...

BY: Maria Rizo      09/20/21

What Lights On Afterschool 2020 revealed about the afterschool field

7 ways afterschool shined We’re tired. Challenged. Worried.  Our finances are strained, our staff face too many uncertainties. Yet our field continues to innovate, evolve, and serve kids, families, and communities. Why? Because people are counting on you, and you care for them...

BY: Jodi Grant      10/30/20

Announcing the winner of the 2022 Lights On Afterschool poster contest

The time has come to reveal the official Lights On Afterschool 2022 ! Afterschool Alliance is thrilled to announce the winner of the 2022 Lights On Afterschool poster contest: LEAP afterschool program at PS100x in the Bronx, New York! The winning artwork will be printed on 50,000 posters and sent...

BY: Maria Rizo      07/01/22

Calling all afterschool artists! Design the Lights On poster and win $500!

The Lights On Afterschool poster contest is officially open, and this year we’re changing our theme to reflect how youth see themselves and their futures because of their afterschool program!  We’ve been through a lot over the past few years. Afterschool programs have...

BY: Shaun Gray      03/01/22

Join us for virtual Lights On events: Celebrating youth voice

We are counting down the weeks until Lights On Afterschool, the nation’s largest rally for afterschool programs. In a typical year, 1 million people join together at more than 8,000 events nationwide to celebrate the impact and value of afterschool. This year, programs rose to the moment...

BY: Maria Rizo      10/07/21

It's here! Announcing the Lights On Afterschool 2021 poster

This year, the Afterschool Alliance commemorates 22 years of Lights On Afterschool with a poster that embodies the spirit of afterschool programs. The Lights On Afterschool 2021 poster focuses on all that afterschool programs do to help youth recover and forge successful futures. It was...

BY: Tierra Easter      08/20/21

5 ways to share your students' entrepreneurial mindsets during Lights On

By Scott Mann, VentureLab, Jessie Jones and Kelly Biggar of Young Entrepreneur Institute (YEI), and Liz Nusken, Ohio Afterschool Network (OAN). Photo courtesy of Youth Panel on Entrepreneurship Education. Afterschool programs play a vital role in helping young people explore and develop...

BY: Guest Blogger      09/26/22

Energy Superheroes to celebrate Lights On Afterschool!

We’re thrilled to share that Energy Superheroes and Trailblazers are joining in the nation’s celebration of afterschool programs, Lights On Afterschool! Energy Superheroes and Trailblazers are real-life women with superpowers and careers that are leading the energy transition. Many of...

BY: Shaun Gray      09/06/22

Planning tools for your Lights On Afterschool celebration

We’re nine weeks out from the 23rd celebration of Lights On Afterschool! If you’re in search of event ideas or unsure where to begin, we’ve got you covered. Read on to discover our top planning tools to help you organize your event! Register your Lights On event by September...

BY: Tierra Easter      08/19/22

4-H partners with Lights On Afterschool to ignite STEM learning

Lights On Afterschool is a great opportunity to showcase your program, and an especially fun time to build excitement about science, technology, engineering, and technology (STEM) learning!   Afterschool and summer learning programs are a great spaces to showcase engaging, hands-on STEM...

BY: Tierra Easter      08/26/21

Planning tools for your Lights On Afterschool celebration

We’re nine weeks out from the 23rd celebration of Lights On Afterschool! If you’re in search of event ideas or unsure where to begin, we’ve got you covered. Read on to discover our top planning tools to help you organize your event! Register your Lights On event by September...

BY: Tierra Easter      08/19/22

Lights On Afterschool: Forging futures

As we head into the 22nd year of Lights On Afterschool, the nation’s celebration of afterschool programs, I have mixed feelings. Should we be celebrating? After all, this isn’t the school year we hoped to have. Many of our programs, youth, and families are in crisis. But, I am an...

BY: Jodi Grant      10/26/21

Meeting the moment: How afterschool programs kept the lights on through the COVID crisis

By Mark Cowsert, Associate Director of Policy and Partnerships for the Missouri AfterSchool Network. This article was originally published on Kids Win Missouri on October 21, 2020. The blog is reposted with the author's permission.   Mid-March, 2020 seemed like any other late winter,...

BY: Guest Blogger      11/05/20

What Lights On Afterschool 2020 revealed about the afterschool field

7 ways afterschool shined We’re tired. Challenged. Worried.  Our finances are strained, our staff face too many uncertainties. Yet our field continues to innovate, evolve, and serve kids, families, and communities. Why? Because people are counting on you, and you care for them...

BY: Jodi Grant      10/30/20