Afterschool programs are about sports, arts, exploration, friendship and much more. That’s the message of the 2012 Lights On Afterschool poster designed by Felix Sanchez of Pasadena, Texas. Sanchez drew his winning artwork while he was a student in the Communities in Schools-ACE afterschool program. His design was selected from thousands of submissions.
“This is the first competition that I’ve won and I was really surprised,” Sanchez said. “I got the idea for the poster from everything we do in my afterschool program, which includes learning and playing and drawing. I hope that this poster will inspire more kids to participate in afterschool programs.” Sanchez says he has been drawing since he was eight-years-old and learned to draw from his father.
Download the poster on the Afterschool Alliance’s website and use it to promote Lights On Afterschool in your community. When Lights On organizers register their events, the Afterschool Alliance will mail them 10 free posters, planning tips and event updates. Don’t forget the Lights On Afterschool event planning kit, sample materials, graphics, timelines, case studies and more that are available online.
“Afterschool programs are all about our students,” said Afterschool Alliance Executive Director Jodi Grant. “So it’s only fitting that we use kids’ artwork on the poster for Lights On Afterschool. This year’s poster is a wonderful depiction of the activities quality afterschool programs provide to help children and youth learn, stay healthy, and build friendships and social skills. We’re extremely proud to share Felix’s beautiful drawing with people all across the country.”
For years, the federal investment in afterschool has lagged far behind the need for programs. In 2007, the No Child Left Behind Act authorized $2.5 billion for 21st Century Community Learning Centers, the chief federal funding stream for afterschool. Yet federal funding stands at less than half that today. Congress is currently considering legislation that would allow afterschool funds to be directed to other uses.
A significant body of research demonstrates that students who attend 21st Century Community Learning Centers regularly do better in school, and are more likely to graduate. More than 15 million school-age children, more than one in four kids in the United States, are unsupervised after the school day ends. The parents of 18 million children say they would enroll their kids in afterschool programs—if programs were available.
For more information about Lights On Afterschool, click here.
This story originally appeared in the Afterschool Advocate (Vol. 13, Issue 9).
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