Special to The Truth
Afterschool programs keep children safe, inspire them to learn, and give working parents the peace of mind that comes with knowing their kids are supervised and learning after the school day ends. There is an urgent need for greater investments in these programs, as U.S. children and youth try to recover academically and socially from the pandemic.
Studies show there aren’t nearly enough afterschool and summer learning programs. For every child in an afterschool program, four more are waiting to get in. Some 24.7 million U.S. children not in an afterschool program would be enrolled if a program were available to them. Additionally, there are significant inequities, with unmet demand for afterschool programs significantly higher among Latino and Black children than children overall.
Each year, “Lights On Afterschool” celebrates the achievements of afterschool students and draws attention to the need for more afterschool programs. A million people are participating in more than 8,000 “Lights On Afterschool” events around the country this fall.
Organized by the Afterschool Alliance, this year’s events include academic contests, STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) demonstrations, community service events, debates and discussions, student art shows and performances, family fun nights, runs and walks, and much more. Events are focused on academics, health and well-being, the arts, civic engagement, STEM learning, fitness and healthy eating, cyberbullying prevention and more.
To learn more about “Lights On Afterschool” and how to participate, visit afterschoolalliance.org.
“Communities are coming together to showcase the skills students gain and the talents they develop in their afterschool programs,” says Jodi Grant, executive director of the Afterschool Alliance. “We need to celebrate and support the programs that do so much to help students succeed in school and in life. We need sustained investments and increased support, so all students and families will finally have access to the afterschool programs they need.”