Hundreds of children, parents, business and community leaders will came together on Thursday, October 26th at Lights On After school events at Options for Learning after school program locations throughout the San Gabriel Valley.
Lights On celebrates the achievements of after school students and draws attention to the need for more after school programs to serve the millions of children nationwide who are unsupervised and at risk each weekday afternoon. The gatherings are several of more than 8,000 such events across the nation emphasizing the importance of keeping the lights on and the doors open after school.
Participants in Enrichment Program and Empowered Learning Program’s Lights On After school events wrote messages to their elected officials, while staff, school leaders, parents and students discuss the importance of after school programs. Organized by the Afterschool Alliance, Lights On After school has been celebrated annually since 2000. This year, more than one million Americans will take part in the only nationwide rally for after school programs.
Recent data from America After 3PM, the research series on after school programs commissioned by the Afterschool Alliance, shows a vast unmet demand for after school programs nationwide. In California, 25% of children participate in after school programs and only 47% of low-income children participate. Further, 92% of California’s parents are satisfied with their child’s after school program, and 66% agree that after school programs give working parents peace of mind. More work needs to be done to meet the great need for after school programs that keep California’s kids safe, inspire them to learn and help working families.
The Options for Learning Enrichment Program opened over 10 years ago (with an ASES grant from the U.S. Department of Education) and the Surround Care program just celebrated 30 years of serving after school children in the San Gabriel Valley (with funding from the CA Department of Education). The programs now serve over 2,500 children, providing homework assistance, mentoring, enrichment classes, sports, recreation, mathematics, chess, STEAM activities and dozens of other subjects. Some programs are collaborations with local school districts, such as San Gabriel Unified and Rowland Unified School Districts.
Lights On After school is organized by the Afterschool Alliance, a nonprofit public awareness and advocacy organization working to ensure that all children have access to quality after school programs. More information on the Afterschool Alliance, Lights On After school and America After 3PM is available at www.afterschoolalliance.org.
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