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Municipal officials celebrate lights on afterschool!

On October 14, more than 6,000 communities participated in the fifth annual Lights On Afterschool!

In many cities and towns, mayors, council-members and other local elected officials joined in this growing movement of celebrating a day devoted to afterschool programming across the country.

Lights On Afterschool! is supported by the Afterschool Alliance and is organized annually to draw attention to need for more afterschool resources and expanded high quality afterschool programs.

Nearly twice as many parents want afterschool programs as are available.

The lack of programs leaves as many as 15 million children without structured activities once the school day is over.

Quality afterschool programs have been shown to increase academic achievement and school attendance and even to be a factor in the reduction of juvenile crime.

Local elected officials support afterschool because it keeps communities safe, improves the education of kids and helps working families by providing safe and structured activities while parents are at work.

Local Events

Lights On Afterschool! 2004 event ranged from afterschool student showcas es, to community meetings, to breakfasts with the business community, to rallies and openings of afterschool program centers.

Pasadena, Calif.

Pasadena Vice Mayor Sid Tyler introduced the city's "Afterschool Programs ... They're Not Just for Kids" campaign developed as part of NLC's technical assistance project on Integrating Education and Afterschool.

Under the leadership of Mayor Bill Bogaard, this publicity campaign consists of banners and brochures that will circulate throughout the community and target individuals who may not be aware of the existence and benefits of afterschool programs in the community.

In addition, the City of Pasadena proclaimed the second week in October as Lights on Afterschool Week. Children from the municipal Afterschool Recreation Program entertained at a reception attended by 125 community leaders with performances and showcases of model cars built while attending afterschool programs.

Brockton, Mass.

Brockton Mayor John T. Yunits and the Mayor's Taskforce on Afterschool hosted a Lights On! breakfast.

To encourage the business community to strengthen its support for afterschool programming, the breakfast featured Chris Gabrieli, NLC's Audrey Hutchinson and a representative from the Sheehan Family Foundation.

Gabrieli is the co-founder and current chairman of Massachusetts 2020, a non-profit initiative focusing on efforts to expand and improve afterschool and summer learning opportunities for children.

He emphasized the importance of afterschool programming in developing a strong neighborhood and business community.

Hutchinson, director of education at NLC's Institute for Youth, Education, and Families, focused on the important leadership roles municipal officials play in improving and expanding afterschool programming.

Berkeley, Calif.

The Berkeley Afterschool Action Team coordinated the second annual Lights On! event with the organizational support of the Berkeley Community Fund.

Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates, Assemblywoman Loni Hancock, Peralta Community College trustee Darryl Moore and School Board President John Selawsky joined the chief of police, school board candidates and afterschool leaders on one of three bus tours throughout the city, visiting almost 20 afterschool sites.

Each bus tour ended at the Longfellow Middle School, where afterschool participants performed a variety program before a packed audience and Mayor Bates offered closing remarks.

Fort Worth, Texas

Lights On! was celebrated in Fort Worth with a breakfast event sponsored by Mayor Mike Moncrief and Fort Worth Independent School District President Dr. William Koehler.

More than 65 people attended, including other elected officials from the city council and school board, the chief of police, the superintendent and representatives from the faith-based, business and non-profit communities.

"This program has been a tremendous success, and I certainly see every justification to expand the program to serve more young people in our community," said Mayor Moncrief in stressing the importance of afterschool programs to the Fort Worth community.

Details: For further information about NLC's work in supporting afterschool programming, contact Bela Shah at 202-626-3057 or
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Article Details
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Author:Frant, Nina
Publication:Nation's Cities Weekly
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Nov 15, 2004
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