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SEP
21
2017

LIGHTS ON
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Library partnerships help keep the Lights On Afterschool

By Leah Silverberg

All across America, afterschool programs love their libraries! According to a 2017 study of more than 350 afterschool programs, nearly three-quarters reported that they were working with their local public library in diverse ways, from literacy initiatives to book lending programs and STEM activities. Those informal learning relationships deserve to be featured, and that’s why one of the major themes of this year’s Lights On Afterschool is library partnerships!

As you write your invitations, be sure to invite staff from your local library to participate in your Lights On Afterschool event. Here are a few possibilities for featuring the library in your celebration:

  • Reach out and ask the library if you can host your celebration there; libraries often serve as valuable community meeting places
  • Encourage librarians to promote and attend your event
  • Invite library staff to read to your students or work at an in-event library card sign-up booth as part of your event

If you’re not already in partnership with a library, it can be difficult to imagine the full spectrum of benefits that close collaboration can produce. But just as afterschool isn’t exclusively limited to child care, libraries aren’t just places for books and study! One of our Lights On Afterschool partners, STAR_Net, is working to connect science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) learning opportunities with local public libraries. The results are impressive!

share this link: http://bit.ly/2fdpGHv
learn more about: STEM Lights On Afterschool
SEP
14
2017

LIGHTS ON
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Sharing your story during Lights On Afterschool

By Charlotte Steinecke

Lights On Afterschool is one of the best and brightest moments in the afterschool year, which makes it the perfect time to share the amazing work you’re doing in your program every day! As you plan your Lights On event, it’s a good idea to plan how you’re going to share the news of the event before, during, and after the celebration. Taking the time to figure out how you want to use your event to tell the story of afterschool involves finding your narrative and connecting to your audience — and we have some tips to help.

What does it mean to tell the story of afterschool?  For the Afterschool Alliance, it means that we work every day to:

  • share the message that “Afterschool programs keep kids safe, inspire them to learn, and help working families,” and
  • expand those opportunities to more kids across the nation.

With that as our cornerstone, we can begin to develop stories, share images, and produce videos that prove the positive impact that afterschool programs have on our kids — and make the case for more investment in the programs and practitioners that provide these benefits.

Think about the story that you want to tell during this Lights On Afterschool. Pick something specific to your program that you can highlight in your messaging and find ways to showcase it in your event!

share this link: http://bit.ly/2h3SXbW
learn more about: Lights On Afterschool
SEP
7
2017

LIGHTS ON
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Take a tour of our Lights On Afterschool resources

By Faith Savaiano

Lights On Afterschool is just seven weeks away, and everyone seems busy and bristling with questions! Are you looking for event ideas? Not sure how to invite your elected officials to your celebration? Need a few tips on what to do after October 26?

Well, we’re here to help! Whether this is your first Lights On Afterschool or you’ve been coordinating celebrations since 2000, we’ve got resources to make this year’s celebration your biggest and best yet.

Need to make the case for a Lights On Afterschool event?

Especially for new programs or programs that haven’t participated in Lights On Afterschool before, it can be difficult to explain to parents, media, and community members just what Lights On Afterschool is. If you need top-level points about why Lights on Afterschool is important and the value that hosting an event brings to your community and program, head over to the “Event Planning” overview.

This year, Lights On Afterschool will be an important tool for afterschool advocates when fighting to maintain funding. To learn about the policy and funding challenge afterschool is facing this year and the crucial role your event will play, check out our webinar, “Fight Budget Cuts using Lights On Afterschool.

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learn more about: Lights On Afterschool
AUG
31
2017

LIGHTS ON
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How to bring advocacy to your Lights On Afterschool event

By Erik Peterson

With many of the nation’s students back in school and afterschool, it is time to start thinking about planning a Light On Afterschool event for the month of October. Lights On Afterschool is an excellent opportunity to show policymakers and elected officials, as well as parents and community members, what takes place in your program when the lights are on – and conversely what learning opportunities students miss out on in communities where the lights are off afterschool.

Here are a few ways to get the word out in support of afterschool programs at your Lights On Afterschool event:

AUG
25
2017

LIGHTS ON
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What's happening for Lights On 2017?

By Charlotte Steinecke

Lights On Afterschool is less than eight weeks away and lots of programs have started planning their events! From marches and rallies to scavenger hunts and STEM lessons, the possibilities for a successful event are endless.

Looking for inspiration for your event? Check out the revamped Event Ideas & Activities page, where you can search by theme, activities, planning time, difficulty, partnerships, state, and audiences to find the pitch-perfect idea for your program.

For 2017, here’s what programs around the country are planning:

JUL
25
2017

LIGHTS ON
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Congratulations to Angela Mamun, winner of the 2017 Lights On Afterschool poster contest

By Charlotte Steinecke

Angela Mamun is a Renaissance woman–or at least she’s learning to be. And she’s found the right afterschool program to help her grow her talents.

“I think to be a good student you have to be good in everything, or at least know how to do everything,” said the 11th grade student at Youth Policy Institute (YPI). The winner of the 2017 Lights On Afterschool poster contest was describing an educational philosophy, but the theory applies to her poster design as well.

“The prompt asked for us to focus on one aspect of the afterschool program, but I thought that I could not focus on just one,” Angela explained. “Every aspect of YPI ties in together, so I felt it was important to incorporate everything. As for the lamp, that would be the lights-on part, and the book and the tree represent that YPI is a place where young minds can grow.”

After reviewing hundreds of applications and posters from across the country, Angela’s design cinched the public’s vote in May, with a final count of 466 Facebook likes and other reactions. The design will be printed on more than 50,000 posters and sent to more than 8,000 programs nationwide—and for the first time ever, the contest winner’s program received a $500 cash prize.

Angela had been at Youth Policy Institute for six months when she entered the Lights On Afterschool poster contest. In addition to providing homework help, tutoring in a range of schoolwork and non-schoolwork subjects, and a safe place for students to go afterschool, YPI offers a STEM club, an arts club, and a club that focuses on volunteering and supporting local immigrant families. All of the clubs are student-led, providing opportunities for students to define their interests and take the lead on making change in their community.

JUL
20
2017

LIGHTS ON
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Lights On Afterschool registration opens today!

By Charlotte Steinecke

Get ready for a huge celebration—today is the official start of Lights On Afterschool! Registration opens today, so head over to the Lights On Afterschool site to tell us how your program is planning to join in the rally!

Last year’s Lights On Afterschool saw exactly 8,200 events held across the USA and the world, making it the brightest year ever. One million people joined together to shine a light on the amazing work that afterschool programs are doing to improve the lives of kids and families in their communities—and it’s more important than ever to share those stories across the country!

This year, we’re connecting programs with elected officials to show community leaders how afterschool works; amplifying the important work that out-of-school time programs do for kids’ health and wellness; showcasing the amazing science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) learning opportunities in afterschool; and celebrating the partnerships between afterschool programs and libraries across the country. 

Here’s how you can get involved:

Start getting the word out today! Share your plans for this year's #LightsOnAfterschool, tell the world how #afterschoolworks, and connect with us on TwitterFacebook, and Instagram.

share this link: http://bit.ly/2uGpwkI
learn more about: Lights On Afterschool