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Congress hears 2,000 voices unite: Keep the Lights On Afterschool!

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Congress hears 2,000 voices unite: Keep the Lights On Afterschool!

June 12 marked the 18th Afterschool for All Challenge, and we made our voices heard! Supporters from all across the nation told Congress not to eliminate the quality afterschool and summer learning programs that we rely on to keep children safe, inspire them to learn, and give working parents peace of mind. The Trump administration has proposed eliminating all funds for 21st Century Community Learning Centers, the primary federal funding stream for afterschool and summer learning programs. Kicking off the 20th Lights On Afterschool season, our rallying cry of the day was, “Keep the Lights On Afterschool!”

In true afterschool fashion, we educated, demonstrated, and had some fun:

On the same day, 2,000+ supporters united to ask Congress to not just keep funding, we asked for a $100M increase that would give 100,000 young people access to afterschool and summer programs.  

  • 200+ afterschool providers, community leaders, educators, parents and youth from 41 states meet with members of Congress and their staff on Capitol Hill
  • 5,000+ calls and emails reached Congressional offices
  • 800 new supporters joined our cause and contacted Congress for the first time in support of afterschool
  • Advocates including Arnold Schwarzenegger took to Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to tell the world that #AfterschoolWorks

At our Afterschool Showcase in the Senate Dirksen Building,

  • U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and U.S. Reps. Bobby Scott (D-Va.), Donna Shalala (D-Fla.), and Don Young (R-Alaska) made remarks in support of the critical support afterschool programs provide students and working families
  • Youth Afterschool Ambassadors spoke of the ways their afterschool programs shaped their lives, including a first-generation college student whose afterschool program helped her realize her potential; to the child of a military family whose program is the “family” that is always there for him and his peers; to the daughter of a single dad of 6, who grew up with her program and credits the staff there with providing her the hope and determination and belief in herself to pursue her dreams
  • Local afterschool programs gave members of Congress, congressional staffers, and other guests a chance to explore a virtual world, learn how soccer and poetry fit together to help students thrive, try out a student-created chatbot engineered for social good, and view true masterpieces created by afterschool students for whom artistic expression is part of turning life challenges into opportunities.

What’s next? It’s not too late to join our efforts! Congress needs to hear your call for $100M more for afterschool, no cuts! Reach out to Congress today—and if you’ve already sent an email, make a phone call to tell your elected officials directly that we can’t afford to lose the programs millions of kids and families rely on.

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