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Elected officials urged to participate in lights on afterschool!

Municipal leaders are marking their calendars for October 20 as a day to celebrate Lights On Afterschool!

This national event calls attention to the importance of afterschool programs for America's children, families and communities.

Afterschool programs help:

* keep children safe and engaged in learning;

* provide working families with options to balance work and family; and

* strengthen communities by helping young people develop into successful adults.

More than 1 million Americans are expected to participate in this year's Light On Afterschool! events.

Nine in 10 Americans think that children should have organized activities or learning opportunities during non-school hours, according to the latest polling data by the Afterschool Alliance.

And, 35 percent of elected officials in 501 cities nationwide report that before and afterschool programs are less than adequate in meeting the needs of families and children in their communities, according to NLC's 2005 "Strengthening Families in America's Cities."

The lack of afterschool programs leaves more than 14 million school-aged children to take care of themselves during non-school hours.

Mayors, city councilmembers and other elected officials are encouraged to participate in Lights On Afterschool! to demonstrate how afterschool programs help keep kids safe, support academic achievement and make communities stronger.

It is never too late to start planning and preparing for "Lights On Afterschool!"

Local elected officials and municipal government staff can:

* be guest speakers at afterschool centers, along with other community leaders and local celebrities.

* host a breakfast, lunch or dinner for key stakeholders to stress the importance of afterschool programs.

* hold an event where guests--including children and parents--can decorate the symbolic Lights On Afterschool! light bulb and share their stories about afterschool.

* provide volunteer time to afterschool programs and/or tour afterschool facilities to raise awareness of available centers and initiatives.

Share Your Story

If your city or town is celebrating Lights On Afterschool!, please share your story of municipal involvement in these efforts by e-mailing it to Lucinda Stickney at

Details: For event ideas and planning guidance, download the planning kit at http://www.afterschoolalliance, org/lights_on/documents/planning_2005.pdf, or visit the website at for more information.

For information on how NLC is working with municipal leaders to promote and expand high quality afterschool in local communities, contact Bela Shah at 202-626-3057 or
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Title Annotation:Afterschool programs
Author:Stickney, Lucinda M.
Publication:Nation's Cities Weekly
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Sep 26, 2005
Previous Article:Conflict or consensus? Why collaboration between cities and schools is the key to reform.
Next Article:Conference to focus on Collaborative Governance.

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