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Celebrate Lights On Afterschool with these last-minute ideas

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Celebrate Lights On Afterschool with these last-minute ideas

The time has come: we are officially one week out from Lights On Afterschool day! Did you think it was too late to join in the celebration? Well, think again! Whether you want to partake in the Lightbulb Challenge or light up a local landmark, here are some ways to get involved in Lights On Afterschool (even at the last minute)!

1. The Lightbulb Challenge! We're hosting a social media challenge to recreate our Lights On logo! Just strike the pose, snap a photo, and post it on social media with a message of support for afterschool and the handle of the person you're challenging to participate. Be sure to tag #LightbulbChallenge and #LightsOnAfterschool so we can share your post!

2. Connect with your community. Brush off your social-emotional learning skills with a game night, a youth service project in your community, or connect with programs around the world using Empatico.

3. Chow down on healthy food. Lights On Afterschool provides a great opportunity to teach kids about nutrition and healthy eating while they enjoy a meal. Visit our Health & Well-Being theme page for more information on keeping kids nourished—at a Lights On Afterschool event or all year round.

4. Light up a landmark. Request a special Lights On Afterschool lighting of a statue, fountain, or park in your community; host a lantern lighting where students design, decorate, and release lanterns into the evening sky; or grab a projector and a lightbulb design and light up the side of your own building! (Be sure to share pictures on social media at #LightsOnAfterschool and #LightUpALandmark!)

5. Sign the afterschool petition. Use Lights On season as an opportunity to tell policymakers that afterschool programs play an essential role in your community. To collect signatures, either print out the petition or direct attendees to our website.

6. Get creative with lightbulbs. Every year, thousands of our printable lightbulbs are decorated nationwide. These unique creations can be strung in hallways and tacked to bulletin boards to keep the Lights On in the coming weeks or mail them directly to your local Congressional district office as a bright reminder to your representative that afterschool matters!

7. Wow them with STEM. There are many ways to incorporate STEM learning into your Lights On event. The 4-H educators' Power Protectors STEM Challenge kit is one excellent option. This comprehensive kit consists of three engaging activities that teach kids how to address real-world issues and explore careers in energy. You should also consider showcasing NASA’s Surprisingly STEM video series. This monthly series highlights exciting and unexpected careers at NASA, from wind tunnel engineers to dive specialists.

8. Build something cool. Our friends at DIY have many project ideas and video tutorials to help you and your Lights On Afterschool attendees create something fun and unique together. Whether it’s a rubber band-powered machine or a cardboard contraption, let us know what you create by sharing the project on the DIY platform or by tagging us on social media using the #LightsOnAfterschool hashtag.

9. Crack open some books. There are endless ways to promote reading and literacy at your Lights On Afterschool event. Some book-themed event ideas include reading parties or literary celebrations.

10. Go green. No matter the theme of your Lights On Afterschool event, you can promote sustainable and environmentally friendly practices by going paperless, recycling materials, or mapping your carbon footprint.

11. Shine a spotlight on youth. Youth are at the center of Lights On Afterschool, so don’t forget to involve them in your plans. Engage young people in your Lights On Afterschool event by assigning them leadership roles or allocating time for them to publicly share their thoughts on afterschool.

12. Get moving! You can teach your event participants the importance of physical exercise by hosting a relay race or dance party or issuing a physical activity challenge, where everyone logs a certain amount of physical activity over the course of the week.

13. Get inspired. If you’re still searching for the perfect idea for your Lights On Afterschool event, investigate what others are doing this year or what successful events have done in the past. Remember, Lights On Afterschool events do not need to be huge or expensive to be effective, so feel free to celebrate in a way that best fits your community. There are endless ways to celebrate afterschool!

14. Get active on social media: Tell the world why you’re keeping the Lights On Afterschool, or why you love your afterschool staff! We’ve provided the templates in our social media toolkit; all you need to do is customize and post! Lastly, follow the #LightsOnAfterschool hashtag to see how other afterschool programs are celebrating!

Even if you’re not hosting an event of your own, you can still join one million people to celebrate Lights On Afterschool. Find an event to attend in your community, ask Members of Congress to help keep the Lights On Afterschool, or join in the Lights On Afterschool Lightbulb Challenge!

Where we were during Lights On Afterschool 2023

Students at Life Pieces to Masterpieces in Washington, D.C. Afterschool Alliance staff members were out and about at afterschoool programs during Lights On Afterschool 2023. Here are a few snapshots of events they participated in. For even more Lights On Afterschool event recaps, check out...

BY: Charlotte Steinecke      11/30/23

Lights On Afterschool: Where on earth is Chris Neitzey?

Photo courtesy of Chris Neitzey; Madison Deputy Mayor Sanon addresses the crowd outside the Wisconsin State Capitol.  For Lights On Afterschool 2023, Afterschool Alliance Director of State Policy Chris Neitzey visited a record-breaking six Lights On Afterschool events across Wisconsin. His...

BY: Chris Neitzey      11/20/23

Lights, learning, and lunchboxes – An innovative partnership during Lights On

By Meredith Bush, Senior Manager of Education Business Development at Center of Science and Industry (COSI), and Stephen White, Chief Strategy Officer, Vice President of Partnerships and Business Development at Center of Science and Industry (COSI). Afterschool Alliance teamed up...

BY: Guest Blogger      11/09/23

Lights On Afterschool STEM extravaganza

With Lights On Afterschool season upon us and as the new STEM Hub Manager here at the Afterschool Alliance, I was eager to participate in an event elevating the value of STEM learning for youth at a young age. I was delighted to learn about and attend the inaugural STEM Extravaganza in Columbia,...

BY: Leslie Brooks      11/02/23

Top ten highlights from Lights On Afterschool 2023

Yesterday, the 24th annual Lights On Afterschool was celebrated by afterschool programs and supporters nationwide. With 8,000 different events held in collaboration with hundreds of partners and a million attendees, it’s hard to select just a few special moments to share...

BY: Charlotte Steinecke      10/27/23

Today is Lights On Afterschool!

In Arkansas, students are completing an obstacle course with members of their local fire department. In California, they are learning to weave baskets and performing songs and skits. In Delaware, they are exploring careers from landscaping to banking; in Georgia, identifying native plants...

BY: Charlotte Steinecke      10/26/23

Energy Superheroes join Lights On Afterschool events in Charlottesville, Denver, Houston – and Mons, Belgium

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

BY: Charlotte Steinecke      10/24/23

Celebrate Lights On Afterschool with these last-minute ideas

The time has come: we are officially one week out from Lights On Afterschool day! Did you think it was too late to join in the celebration? Well, think again! Whether you want to partake in the Lightbulb Challenge or light up a local landmark, here are some ways to get involved in Lights On...

BY: Lucy Maddox      10/19/23

Join the Lights On Afterschool Lightbulb Challenge!

With just two weeks left until Lights On Afterschool day, the countdown to this annual celebration is well underway! Still, it’s not too late to get involved and show your support for afterschool programs across the country. Even if you aren’t hosting your own event this year, there are...

BY: Lucy Maddox      10/12/23

Passing the microphone: Ways to amplify youth voice during Lights On Afterschool

Lights On Afterschool is the perfect time to pass the microphone to the young people in your community and let them share their thoughts and experiences with a larger audience. From the planning to the execution, youth can be involved in all aspects of your Lights On event. There are plenty of...

BY: Maria Rizo      10/05/23

Energy Superheroes join Lights On Afterschool events in Charlottesville, Denver, Houston – and Mons, Belgium

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

BY: Charlotte Steinecke      10/24/23

What we saw during Lights On 2022: Part 1

Welcome to part one of "What we saw during Lights On 2022." As we head into the new year, we wanted to share some of the first-hand accounts from our staff members who were able to visit afterschool programs during this year's Lights On. You can read part two on the blog. Mark...

BY: Charlotte Steinecke      12/15/22

Spotlight on STEM at YMCA Houston's 21st CCLC Lights On celebration

This Lights On Afterschool, the Afterschool Alliance partnered with Energy Superheroes and Trailblazers from the award-winning multicultural nonfiction children’s book series, Everyday Superheroes to bring STEM learning to four different local Lights On celebrations. One of those celebrations...

BY: Maria Rizo      11/28/22

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

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

Bring out student creativity during Lights On Afterschool

This Lights On Afterschool, host an art day! Lights On Afterschool is the perfect time to let students express their thoughts on afterschool through art. Events can be as big as a mural painting around a unique theme that resonates with your students and as simple as decorating a lightbulb with all...

BY: Maria Rizo      09/28/23

Meet the winner of the Lights On Afterschool 2023 poster contest

This year's Lights On Afterschool poster was created by Lydia Ireland, a seventh-grade student from Folks Middle School Art Club. Lydia’s drawing features afterschool imagery, including a ballet slipper, a football, a theater mask, a chess piece, and a computer mouse – all radiating...

BY: Shaun Gray      08/21/23

The 2023 Lights On Afterschool Poster Contest is open!

The Lights On Afterschool poster contest is officially open, and this year we’re looking for any artwork that represents the spirit of afterschool programs. To make things even more exciting, we’re looking to gather new or already existing materials. If your program has...

BY: Shaun Gray      05/18/23

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

Lights, learning, and lunchboxes – An innovative partnership during Lights On

By Meredith Bush, Senior Manager of Education Business Development at Center of Science and Industry (COSI), and Stephen White, Chief Strategy Officer, Vice President of Partnerships and Business Development at Center of Science and Industry (COSI). Afterschool Alliance teamed up...

BY: Guest Blogger      11/09/23

Lights On Afterschool STEM extravaganza

With Lights On Afterschool season upon us and as the new STEM Hub Manager here at the Afterschool Alliance, I was eager to participate in an event elevating the value of STEM learning for youth at a young age. I was delighted to learn about and attend the inaugural STEM Extravaganza in Columbia,...

BY: Leslie Brooks      11/02/23

Energy Superheroes join Lights On Afterschool events in Charlottesville, Denver, Houston – and Mons, Belgium

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

BY: Charlotte Steinecke      10/24/23

NASA is celebrating Lights On Afterschool - and you’re invited!

This Lights On Afterschool, get wrapped up in learning about Paula Cain, who went from fashion designer to space blanket technician at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center.  NASA invites programs and youth to join a special virtual Lights On Afterschool event with Thermal Blanket...

BY: Maria Rizo      10/02/23

Spotlight on STEM at YMCA Houston's 21st CCLC Lights On celebration

This Lights On Afterschool, the Afterschool Alliance partnered with Energy Superheroes and Trailblazers from the award-winning multicultural nonfiction children’s book series, Everyday Superheroes to bring STEM learning to four different local Lights On celebrations. One of those celebrations...

BY: Maria Rizo      11/28/22

Communities from Alaska to Florida lit up landmarks for afterschool

Last Thursday, communities across the country rallied for the 23rd annual Lights On Afterschool celebration. This year, the nation shined their lights for the essential programs that keep kids safe, inspire them to learn, and give working parents peace of mind that their children are safe and...

BY: Maria Rizo      10/28/22

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