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It's finally here: The bright, brilliant, record-breaking 20th Lights On Afterschool!

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It's finally here: The bright, brilliant, record-breaking 20th Lights On Afterschool!

The lights will be on for afterschool programs today as students, parents, educators, business and faith leaders, policy makers, community members and others come to schools, parks, campuses, state capitols, city halls, museums, malls, and other venues to show their support for afterschool programs. Our historic 20th Lights On Afterschool will involve more than a million people at a record-smashing 10,000 events!

Events and celebrations this year include roundtable discussions with mayors and police chiefs, and events focused on conservation and the environment, growing and cooking healthy food, space exploration, child safety, technology arts, public policy, literacy, community service, pumpkin carving, painting and smashing, and more. From the Empire State Building in New York to the Orlando Eye in Florida to the State Capitol in Pennsylvania, to the Superdome in New Orleans, to the Spirit of Detroit in Michigan, to City Halls in Houston, Hampton and San Francisco, landmarks across the country are being lit in yellow and blue this evening to support afterschool programs. Clear Channel Outdoor is running afterschool billboards across the nation all month, and donating some of its most prominent space to illuminate Lights On Afterschool, including digital billboards in New York City’s Times Square and the lights of Boston’s South Station. Tonight, the New York City skyline will glow for afterschool, as Jodi Grant and our partners at Nickelodeon—including SpongeBob!—officially kick off Lights On Afterschool with a visit to the Empire State Building.

Just last week, the more than 5,000 sheriffs, police chiefs, and prosecutors of the organization Fight Crime: Invest in Kids – a part of the Council for a Strong America – released a report documenting positive outcomes for children and teens who participate in high-quality afterschool programs. “From Risk to Opportunity: Afterschool Programs Keep Kids Safe” shows that the hours immediately following school remain the prime time for juvenile crime. FBI data from 36 states shows that most suffer spikes in crime from 2 to 6 p.m. (see how your state measures up). The new report describes afterschool programs as one of the best crime prevention strategies, an effective way to guide young people toward success in school and readiness for productive careers. 

And on October 23, the Food Research & Action Center released a report calculating more than 1.3 million children benefited from afterschool suppers at school- and community-based programs on an average weekday in October 2018. That is a 10.4 percent increase from the year before but, still, just one child received an afterschool supper for every 16 low-income children in the National School Lunch Program that month. Our partners at KIND Snacks have made a huge contribution to the snacks that will be enjoyed today, donating more than 250,000 bars to afterschool programs across the country!

The 20th Lights On Afterschool is a fitting milestone year for a milestone movement—so much is happening, and we will be sharing it all with you! Voice your support on social media at #LightsOnAfterschool and send photos of your event to info@afterschoolalliance.org.

P.S. ARTS celebrates Lights On Afterschool with SpongeBob

By Oscar Navarrete, program coordinator, Community, at P.S. Arts. P.S. ARTS is excited to collaborate with the Afterschool Alliance and Nickelodeon in celebration of the 20th anniversary of Lights on Afterschool and SpongeBob Squarepants’ 20th year on-air. Together, we are working to shine...

BY: Guest Blogger      09/19/19

Explore a Lights On Afterschool Wonder with Wonderopolis

By John MacLeod, community manager for Wonderopolis. Created by the National Center for Families Learning, Wonderopolis is a website that encourages learners of all ages to use their natural curiosity and imagination to explore and discover new things about the world around them. Every day...

BY: Guest Blogger      09/12/19

3 quick ideas for a healthy, happy Lights On Afterschool

Afterschool programs play many important roles in their communities, but one of the most powerful is the positive impact out-of-school time programs can have on the health of their students. From providing healthy meals and safe places to play outside, to supporting students’ mental and...

BY: Charlotte Steinecke      09/05/19

Host a sizzling Lights On event: A pitch contest

By Liz Nusken,Young Entrepreneur Pitch program lead at the Ohio Afterschool Network. Lights On Afterschool presents afterschool programs with an opportunity to showcase their fun, hands-on learning experiences to partners and members of the larger community. A Lights On live pitch...

BY: Guest Blogger      08/29/19

Tips from the Pros: Getting the most from your Lights On Event

This October 24 marks our 20th Lights On Afterschool, and we’re so excited to welcome new programs to our celebration as well as those who have been celebrating from the very beginning. Register today and don’t miss out – every program that signs up gets 150 KIND snacks for your...

BY: Ursula Helminski      08/01/19

KIND to celebrate Lights On Afterschool

By Daniel Lubetzky, CEO of Kind LLC. KIND is helping programs celebrate the 20th Lights On Afterschool this October 24. KIND will be on hand at about a dozen Lights On Afterschool events AND they’re donating 150 KIND products to Lights On Afterschool sites nationwide,...

BY: Guest Blogger      07/25/19

Join the Light Up A Landmark Challenge: Light up the night sky across all 50 states!

This October 24 marks our 20th Lights On Afterschool, and one of our brightest partners is back: for the 13th year in a row, the iconic Empire State Building will light up the New York City skyline in support of Lights On Afterschool! The national landmark will light the sky in blue and...

BY: Ursula Helminski      07/18/19

Join the Lights On Afterschool congressional art drive

Lights On Afterschool is celebrating its 20th year! That’s 20 years of calling nationwide attention to the importance of afterschool programs for America's children, families and communities. Every year we receive hundreds of wonderful artwork from programs across the nation. This...

BY: Shaun Gray      06/27/19

Lights On Afterschool 2019 registration is open!

This October marks our 20th Lights On Afterschool celebration! Sign up today to be part of the 20th Lights On Afterschool celebration!  All who register will receive event planning tip emails and 10 free posters to promote your event. This year, in response your feedback, we’ve...

BY: Ursula Helminski      06/21/19

20 weeks to the 20th Lights On Afterschool!

We can’t believe it either—this October 24 will be our 20th Lights On Afterschool celebration! We’ve got exciting plans in the works – so many that we will be unveiling something new each week up until October 24, 2019. We’re asking you to join us and starting...

BY: Ursula Helminski      06/06/19

3 quick ideas for a healthy, happy Lights On Afterschool

Afterschool programs play many important roles in their communities, but one of the most powerful is the positive impact out-of-school time programs can have on the health of their students. From providing healthy meals and safe places to play outside, to supporting students’ mental and...

BY: Charlotte Steinecke      09/05/19

Host a sizzling Lights On event: A pitch contest

By Liz Nusken,Young Entrepreneur Pitch program lead at the Ohio Afterschool Network. Lights On Afterschool presents afterschool programs with an opportunity to showcase their fun, hands-on learning experiences to partners and members of the larger community. A Lights On live pitch...

BY: Guest Blogger      08/29/19

4-H is seeking Game Changers this October

By Kittrina Thompson, digital marketing manager, National 4-H Council, 4-H National Youth Science Day (NYSD) is an annual initiative inspiring kids everywhere to take an active interest in STEM topics through hands-on learning. Celebrations begin October 1, with participation across the country...

BY: Guest Blogger      08/22/19

KIND to celebrate Lights On Afterschool

By Daniel Lubetzky, CEO of Kind LLC. KIND is helping programs celebrate the 20th Lights On Afterschool this October 24. KIND will be on hand at about a dozen Lights On Afterschool events AND they’re donating 150 KIND products to Lights On Afterschool sites nationwide,...

BY: Guest Blogger      07/25/19

Guest blog: Partner with your local library for Lights On Afterschool!

By Megan Burton, STEM and Learning Supervisor at the Kitsap Regional Library in Washington State. “It is a real collaboration,” said Nicole Rawlinson, Teen Services Librarian at the Sylvan Way branch of the Kitsap Regional Library describing her work with the local Boys and Girls...

BY: Guest Blogger      08/30/18

Join the Light Up A Landmark Challenge: Light up the night sky across all 50 states!

This October 24 marks our 20th Lights On Afterschool, and one of our brightest partners is back: for the 13th year in a row, the iconic Empire State Building will light up the New York City skyline in support of Lights On Afterschool! The national landmark will light the sky in blue and...

BY: Ursula Helminski      07/18/19

20 weeks to the 20th Lights On Afterschool!

We can’t believe it either—this October 24 will be our 20th Lights On Afterschool celebration! We’ve got exciting plans in the works – so many that we will be unveiling something new each week up until October 24, 2019. We’re asking you to join us and starting...

BY: Ursula Helminski      06/06/19

Landmarks aglow across the country for Lights On Afterschool 2018

Lights On Afterschool 2018 was marked by communities flipping the light switches of gyms, clubhouses, classrooms, and parks across America in an effort to provide a safe, supportive learning environment for children. Similarly, recognizable landmarks coast to coast recognized the valuable...

BY: Faith Savaiano      11/08/18

The biggest and brightest Lights On Afterschool yet

We celebrated by coding, dancing, cooking, drawing, reading, making music, sharing. We had book giveaways. Canned food drives. Hackerspaces and maker faires. Puzzle pieces that, together, form over-sized lightbulbs that fill gymnasium floors. Inflatable planetariums for students to explore....

BY: Ursula Helminski      10/26/18

Afterschool shines for the 12th year in a row

It’s that time in August when students’ backpacks wait eagerly by the door for the first days they’ll be put back into use after a couple-months hiatus. While these days on the calendar excitedly mark the return of the back-to-school season, they’re also an indicator that...

BY: Faith Savaiano      08/23/18

1,800 events promote health and wellness during Lights On Afterschool

Free fruits and vegetables, Zumba classes, color runs, yoga and mindfulness – this year’s Lights On Afterschool saw afterschool programs across the country celebrating a broad vision of health and wellness. National partners and local groups showcased the critical role afterschool...

BY: Charlotte Steinecke      12/06/18

Champion wellness with fitness professionals: 3 tips to get started

Photo courtesy of The American Council on Exercise and Alliance for a Healthier Generation By Daniel W. Hatcher, Director of Community Partnerships at Alliance for a Healthier Generation. This post was originally published by BOOST Collaborative on the BOOST Breakfast Club Blog on...

BY: Guest Blogger      09/20/18

Health & Wellness partners got communities active & moving during Lights On 2017

This year we were blown away with the number of Lights On Afterschool 2017 events that celebrated our official Health & Wellness theme through creative, educational activities that got kids active and learning about healthy habits. These events were great examples of everyday work that...

BY: Faith Savaiano      11/30/17

Easy, last-minute ideas for an amazing Lights On Afterschool!

Lights On Afterschool is just seven days away! While many programs are wrapping up their plans, some will only start planning this week. Luckily, we’ve got something for everyone over at our Last-Minute Ideas page. Use these ideas as the foundation of your event, or add an extra...

BY: Charlotte Steinecke      10/19/17

4-H is seeking Game Changers this October

By Kittrina Thompson, digital marketing manager, National 4-H Council, 4-H National Youth Science Day (NYSD) is an annual initiative inspiring kids everywhere to take an active interest in STEM topics through hands-on learning. Celebrations begin October 1, with participation across the country...

BY: Guest Blogger      08/22/19

Ignite STEM learning for Lights On Afterschool

Afterschool programs are a natural space to provide engaging, hands-on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) learning experiences. Because so many afterschool programs make STEM learning a priority – and so many programs want to offer STEM learning in the future –...

BY: Charlotte Steinecke      09/27/18

STEM partners helped ignite curiosity during Lights On 2017

Afterschool STEM learning was one of our top themes for this year’s Lights On Afterschool, and with good reason. Afterschool programs provide an ideal space to connect kids to exciting, hands-on science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) experiences, helping them engage deeply with...

BY: Charlotte Steinecke      11/21/17

Easy, last-minute ideas for an amazing Lights On Afterschool!

Lights On Afterschool is just seven days away! While many programs are wrapping up their plans, some will only start planning this week. Luckily, we’ve got something for everyone over at our Last-Minute Ideas page. Use these ideas as the foundation of your event, or add an extra...

BY: Charlotte Steinecke      10/19/17