Countdown to #LightsOn2012 Is On!

Lights On Afterschool 2012 is nearly here! Thousands of afterschool programs across the country are ramping up to celebrate the only nationwide rally in support of afterschool programs, which keep kids safe, inspire them to learn and help working families.

On October 18, more than a million people are expected to participate in Lights On Afterschool rallies, open houses, talent shows, runs/walks, program tours and other events. At each of the thousands of Lights On celebrations, students will showcase the skills and talents they develop at their afterschool programs, and send the message that millions more children deserve the chance to thrive in afterschool programs. This year’s events will include student performances, art and essay contests, art displays, tree lightings, carnivals, family potluck meals, and much more.

Lights On Webinar
Are you prepared for Lights On Afterschool 2012? Still looking for new ideas for your celebration? Be sure to sign up for a webinar to get some tips for your event from afterschool experts.

On Thursday, October 11 at 3:00 p.m. ET, join Afterschool Ambassadors Mark Smith (St. Mary’s County Public Schools, Md.) and Byron Smalls (White Plains Youth Bureau, N.Y.) and Afterschool Alliance Associate Kamila Thigpen for a crash course in all things Lights On Afterschool. Speakers on the webinar will discuss some of the unique ways communities celebrate Lights On Afterschool and offer tips to help programs quickly organize events.

Sign up today to participate in the webinar, Thirteen Years of Lights On Afterschool: The Evolution of the Nation’s Largest Rally for Afterschool!

Light Up for Lights On Afterschool Photo Contest
This year, Bright House Networks and the Afterschool Alliance have launched a Facebook photo contest to show how afterschool programs around the country are shining a light on the importance of afterschool.

Bright House Networks—a cable, phone and Internet provider—will award $5,000 to the afterschool programs of those whose photos best depict how programs and people are shining a light on afterschool.

Beginning October 18, individuals and programs can submit photos showing how they celebrated Lights On Afterschool, and highlight the vibrancy of afterschool programs in their communities. The photos that receive the most votes will win cash prizes.

“Bright House Networks has been a fantastic long-term partner to the Afterschool Alliance, supporting quality afterschool programs in so many ways,” said Afterschool Alliance Executive Director Jodi Grant. “We’re very excited about this new contest! We hope and expect to see thousands of photos from across the country showing us how students, schools and communities are shining a light on afterschool programs.”

All entries will be eligible for one of the three $1,000 prizes; an additional $2,000 award will be reserved for the photo with the most votes from a program in the Bright House Networks service area.

Be sure to check out for more details on the contest!

Take Action at Home
If you are not able to host a Lights On Afterschool event at your program, there are plenty of other ways to take action. Take a moment to sign an online statement recognizing the important, positive benefits afterschool programs offer.

Click here to join thousands of Americans in saying: “I support Lights On Afterschool and the quality afterschool programs that keep kids safe, inspire learning and help working families!”

Remember to register your Lights On Afterschool event here!

This story originally appeared in the Afterschool Advocate (Vol. 13, Issue 10).

Click here to read the rest of this issue.