Use this sample news release for your own event. Be sure to insert data on the demand and need for afterschool in your state. Distribute it to media who attend, and then email or fax it that same day to reporters on your press list who missed the event.
[YOUR CITY] – [Hundreds/Dozens] of students, parents, business, religious and community leaders from the [community]-area are rallying for afterschool programs today as part of Lights On Afterschool, which celebrates the achievements of afterschool students and draws attention to the need for more afterschool programs to serve the millions of children nationwide who are unsupervised each weekday afternoon. It is one of approximately 8,000 Lights On Afterschool events taking place across the nation this month to emphasize the importance of keeping the lights on and the doors open after school. Speakers celebrated the many ways afterschool programs are helping students recover from the academic and social effects of the pandemic, and encouraged lawmakers, businesses, philanthropies, and others to increase funding and support for these programs.
[Add specifics about your event, along these lines]: Students and parents at the [community] Lights On Afterschool event wrote messages to their elected officials, while hearing from [insert names of any leaders in attendance, such as your mayor, school officials, business leaders]. Speakers discussed the importance of afterschool programs and extra supports programs have provided since COVID-19 hit. Organized by the Afterschool Alliance, Lights On Afterschool has been held each year since 2000. The New York skyline will shine for Lights On Afterschool on October 26th when the iconic Empire State Building is lit in yellow and blue to celebrate.
Some 24.7 million U.S. children not in an afterschool program would be enrolled, if a program were available to them, according to a survey of nearly 1,500 parents commissioned by the Afterschool Alliance and conducted by Edge Research in May and June of 2022. That is the highest number ever recorded. Unmet demand for afterschool programs is significantly higher among Latino and Black children (at 60% and 54% respectively) than children overall (49%). Cost is the top barrier to enroll, cited by 57% of parents as a reason for not enrolling their child. Ninety percent of parents rate the quality of the program their child attends as excellent (51%) or very good (39%). [Add any data on waiting lists or unmet need in your state.]
[Add a quote from the program director or a notable participant, similar to this]: “Lights On Afterschool celebrates the remarkable work being done by students who attend our afterschool programs,” [Name, title and affiliation] said. “It is a powerful reminder that afterschool programs offer critical supports to children and families. Unfortunately, we don’t have enough afterschool programs, and too many kids are missing out on the opportunities they provide to learn and grow. We need to make vastly greater investments in afterschool. I hope we can all work together to ensure that every child who needs an afterschool program will have one.”
[Add other quotes if you have them.]
[Add specifics about your afterschool program, similar to the following]: [Your program] now serves [#] children, providing homework assistance, mentoring, tutoring, and classes and clubs in sports, recreation, mathematics, chess, and dozens of other subjects. The program is a collaboration between the school system and [list partners].
Lights On Afterschool is organized by the Afterschool Alliance, a nonprofit public awareness and advocacy organization working to ensure that all children have access to quality afterschool programs. More information on the Afterschool Alliance and Lights On Afterschool is available at www.afterschoolalliance.org.
[Add a two-sentence description of your program with its URL.]