Take a tour of our Lights On Afterschool resources

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Take a tour of our Lights On Afterschool resources

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.

Looking for event ideas?

In “Top Event Ideas & Themes,” you’ll find our four official themes for this year’s Lights On Afterschool celebration: youth and parent voices, health and wellness, afterschool STEM, and our new library partnerships theme. Lights On events can be anything you imagine, but planning your event with one of our official themes in mind can help to give your event focus, as well as some brainstorming material.

If you need specific ideas, check out “Event Ideas & Activities,” our new and improved event idea search page. From here you search through tons of previous Lights On events according to the criteria that are most useful to you, including difficulty level, audience, theme, partners, planning time, and much more.

Ready to get organized?

Our Planning Timeline page is one of our most comprehensive resources to ensure that your Lights On event run as smoothly as possible. Here, you’ll find suggestions for every step of the Lights On process, from registration and first steps to the day of Lights On Afterschool and beyond. Use this tool to schedule your event planning and check off items on your Lights On to-do list!

At seven weeks out, we’re in the “Getting Started” section, with suggestions for the first logistical and planning steps you can take to get ready for your event. This period is chock-full of sample media outreach materialsinvitations for policymakerstips on creating a program fact sheet, and more, along with suggested deadlines for each step. (Looking for more? Check out the resources button that is the bottom left of each point on the timeline, with all the materials in one spot.)

The last seven weeks before Lights On Afterschool are going to fly by, but our resources can help you stay organized and on top of your planning schedule. There are more resources located around the site, so take some time to explore the Lights On website as you make your plans!

Calling all artists: It's the 2018 Lights On Afterschool poster contest!

Update, May 8 at 3 p.m.: The deadline for the contest has been extended! Posters are now due on Friday, June 8.  The Lights On Afterschool poster contest is officially open, and this year we’re changing up theme to reflect how youth see themselves and their futures because of...

BY: Shaun Gray      03/08/18

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

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

Where were we during Lights On Afterschool 2017?

At the Afterschool Alliance, we spend a substantial part of our year focusing on Lights On Afterschool; when it finally happens, we’re running to keep up! We couldn’t wait to head out of the office (and sometimes out of the state) to explore the amazing programs and events that...

BY: Charlotte Steinecke      11/02/17

Lights On Afterschool 2017 in pictures

This year might just be our most photogenic Lights On Afterschool yet! The Empire State Building lit up the night in blue and yellow on the evening of October 26, the Lowry Bridge gleamed on the waters of Hennepin County, and social media buzzed with our amazingly successful...

BY: Charlotte Steinecke      10/31/17

Today is Lights On Afterschool!

Happy Lights On Afterschool! Today is a day to celebrate the amazing impact afterschool programs have on the lives of millions of children every day. Thank you for everything you do to keep the Lights On Afterschool! For the next 24 hours, our home page will be populated with a social media...

BY: Charlotte Steinecke      10/26/17

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

Make the most of media at your Lights On Afterschool event

With Lights On Afterschool only two weeks away, many programs and coordinators are busy finalizing the creative and fun celebrations that will take place across the country. But while many afterschool providers are experts at planning engaging activities for large groups, all Lights On Afterschool...

BY: Faith Savaiano      10/12/17

Celebrate afterschool STEM during Lights On

Whether it’s cooking up polymer-based jiggly jelly, writing computer code, or exploring urban ecology, we know that science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) learning thrives in afterschool! Afterschool STEM learning presents an incredible opportunity to help students learn, expose...

BY: Charlotte Steinecke      10/05/17

America's #HealthiestSchools: 3 ways to team up for Lights On Afterschool

By Daniel W. Hatcher, MPH, director of Community Partnerships at Alliance for a Healthier Generation. The 2017 America’s #HealthiestSchools campaign is grounded in the shared belief that every child deserves a healthy school. Afterschool leaders are essential partners for healthy...

BY: Guest Blogger      09/28/17

America's #HealthiestSchools: 3 ways to team up for Lights On Afterschool

By Daniel W. Hatcher, MPH, director of Community Partnerships at Alliance for a Healthier Generation. The 2017 America’s #HealthiestSchools campaign is grounded in the shared belief that every child deserves a healthy school. Afterschool leaders are essential partners for healthy...

BY: Guest Blogger      09/28/17

Afterschool & Law Enforcement: Using Lights On Afterschool to collaborate in new ways

The Afterschool Alliance is pleased to present this post as part of the Afterschool & Law Enforcement blog series. For more information on the ways afterschool programs are partnering with local police, check out our previous blogs on building relationships and...

BY: Elizabeth Tish      12/09/16

These twin sisters celebrated Lights On Afterschool 2016 by becoming math champions

One might not think that basketball can help kids gain critical math skills. But for twin sisters Patricia and Angela Rodas, that’s exactly the case. The Rodas sisters have become rather like local celebrities in the San Francisco Bay Area through their success in NBA Math Hoops, a...

BY: Robert Abare      11/18/16

This program used Lights On Afterschool to shine a light on health and wellness

For the Boys and Girls Club of East Los Angeles (BGCELA), encouraging kids to lead healthy lifestyles goes hand-in-hand with the other areas of the organization’s mission: building students’ academic success and developing their character. For Lights On Afterschool 2016,...

BY: Robert Abare      11/04/16

Diverse partners helped keep the Lights On Afterschool this year

As you might have heard, Lights On Afterschool 2016 was a big success! Thousands (8,200 to be exact!) of programs and leaders hosted events in their communities. The Empire State Building glowed yellow on the evening of October 20, along with the Orlando Eye, the...

BY: Robert Abare      10/24/16

6 reasons why Lights On Afterschool 2016 was the brightest yet!

Exactly 8,200 events held across the USA and the world make this year's Lights On Afterschool the biggest and brightest since the rally first began 17 years ago! One million people joined together to shine a light on the accomplishments of afterschool programs and to say...

BY: Erin Murphy      10/21/16

Video: Math Champs help kick off Lights On Afterschool 2016

On October 6, we joined Learn Fresh, the Golden State Warriors and the Sacramento Kings to kick off Lights On Afterschool 2016 with a special NBA Math Hoops tournament at the SAP Center in San Jose, Calif. Take a look inside the celebration with our executive director Jodi Grant and...

BY: Robert Abare      10/18/16

Programs across the USA are gearing up for Lights On Afterschool 2016!

Tomorrow, October 6, we are kicking off the 17th annual Lights On Afterschool with Learn Fresh, the Golden State Warriors and the Sacramento Kings on a big national stage: a game between the Warriors and the Kings at the SAP Center in San Jose, California! Before the 7:30 p.m. tipoff on Thursday,...

BY: Robert Abare      10/05/16

Guest blog: Discover drones at your Lights On Afterschool event

Written by Griffin Schwed, Integrated Marketing Manager at National 4-H Council See how your program can celebrate 4-H National Youth Science Day at your 2016 Lights On Afterschool event on our Celebrate Afterschool STEM page, part of the revamped Lights On Afterschool...

BY: Guest Blogger      09/07/16

Announcing the winner of the national Lights On Afterschool poster contest!

After reviewing hundreds of submissions from afterschool artists from across the country (and the world!), the Afterschool Alliance is thrilled to announce the winner of the 2016 Lights On Afterschool poster contest: Baldwin County High School’s 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st...

BY: Robert Abare      08/25/16

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

Celebrate afterschool STEM during Lights On

Whether it’s cooking up polymer-based jiggly jelly, writing computer code, or exploring urban ecology, we know that science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) learning thrives in afterschool! Afterschool STEM learning presents an incredible opportunity to help students learn, expose...

BY: Charlotte Steinecke      10/05/17

Library partnerships help keep the Lights On Afterschool

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...

BY: Leah Silverberg      09/21/17

What's happening for Lights On 2017?

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...

BY: Charlotte Steinecke      08/25/17

Programs across the USA are gearing up for Lights On Afterschool 2016!

Tomorrow, October 6, we are kicking off the 17th annual Lights On Afterschool with Learn Fresh, the Golden State Warriors and the Sacramento Kings on a big national stage: a game between the Warriors and the Kings at the SAP Center in San Jose, California! Before the 7:30 p.m. tipoff on Thursday,...

BY: Robert Abare      10/05/16

Guest blog: Discover drones at your Lights On Afterschool event

Written by Griffin Schwed, Integrated Marketing Manager at National 4-H Council See how your program can celebrate 4-H National Youth Science Day at your 2016 Lights On Afterschool event on our Celebrate Afterschool STEM page, part of the revamped Lights On Afterschool...

BY: Guest Blogger      09/07/16

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

Make the most of media at your Lights On Afterschool event

With Lights On Afterschool only two weeks away, many programs and coordinators are busy finalizing the creative and fun celebrations that will take place across the country. But while many afterschool providers are experts at planning engaging activities for large groups, all Lights On Afterschool...

BY: Faith Savaiano      10/12/17

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

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...

BY: Charlotte Steinecke      07/25/17

These twin sisters celebrated Lights On Afterschool 2016 by becoming math champions

One might not think that basketball can help kids gain critical math skills. But for twin sisters Patricia and Angela Rodas, that’s exactly the case. The Rodas sisters have become rather like local celebrities in the San Francisco Bay Area through their success in NBA Math Hoops, a...

BY: Robert Abare      11/18/16

Guest blog: Spoken word gives youth a voice

Written by Chanelle Ignant, Youth Participation Coordinator at KQED, and Rachel Roberson, who leads the Letters to the Next President project for KQED. Also check out the Celebrate Youth Voices event idea for Lights On Afterschool 2016. Sign up for the upcoming Lights On...

BY: Guest Blogger      08/16/16

Registration is open for Lights On Afterschool 2016!

Registration is now open for the nation’s only celebration of afterschool programs! Mark your calendars for Lights On Afterschool: October 20, 2016, and then start preparing for your event by registering today. Last year’s Lights On Afterschool saw more than 1 million Americans...

BY: Robert Abare      08/11/16

Calling all artists: It's the 2018 Lights On Afterschool poster contest!

Update, May 8 at 3 p.m.: The deadline for the contest has been extended! Posters are now due on Friday, June 8.  The Lights On Afterschool poster contest is officially open, and this year we’re changing up theme to reflect how youth see themselves and their futures because of...

BY: Shaun Gray      03/08/18

Cast your vote in the 2017 Lights On Afterschool poster contest!

Over the last few months, we’ve received hundreds of impressive submissions for the 2017 Lights On Afterschool poster contest. Using paint, crayons, colored pencils, mixed media, and even digital design tools, students of all ages from communities nationwide shared a wide variety of creative...

BY: Rachel Clark      05/01/17

Programs across the USA are gearing up for Lights On Afterschool 2016!

Tomorrow, October 6, we are kicking off the 17th annual Lights On Afterschool with Learn Fresh, the Golden State Warriors and the Sacramento Kings on a big national stage: a game between the Warriors and the Kings at the SAP Center in San Jose, California! Before the 7:30 p.m. tipoff on Thursday,...

BY: Robert Abare      10/05/16

Announcing the winner of the national Lights On Afterschool poster contest!

After reviewing hundreds of submissions from afterschool artists from across the country (and the world!), the Afterschool Alliance is thrilled to announce the winner of the 2016 Lights On Afterschool poster contest: Baldwin County High School’s 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st...

BY: Robert Abare      08/25/16

Guest blog: Spoken word gives youth a voice

Written by Chanelle Ignant, Youth Participation Coordinator at KQED, and Rachel Roberson, who leads the Letters to the Next President project for KQED. Also check out the Celebrate Youth Voices event idea for Lights On Afterschool 2016. Sign up for the upcoming Lights On...

BY: Guest Blogger      08/16/16

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

America's #HealthiestSchools: 3 ways to team up for Lights On Afterschool

By Daniel W. Hatcher, MPH, director of Community Partnerships at Alliance for a Healthier Generation. The 2017 America’s #HealthiestSchools campaign is grounded in the shared belief that every child deserves a healthy school. Afterschool leaders are essential partners for healthy...

BY: Guest Blogger      09/28/17

This program used Lights On Afterschool to shine a light on health and wellness

For the Boys and Girls Club of East Los Angeles (BGCELA), encouraging kids to lead healthy lifestyles goes hand-in-hand with the other areas of the organization’s mission: building students’ academic success and developing their character. For Lights On Afterschool 2016,...

BY: Robert Abare      11/04/16

Programs across the USA are gearing up for Lights On Afterschool 2016!

Tomorrow, October 6, we are kicking off the 17th annual Lights On Afterschool with Learn Fresh, the Golden State Warriors and the Sacramento Kings on a big national stage: a game between the Warriors and the Kings at the SAP Center in San Jose, California! Before the 7:30 p.m. tipoff on Thursday,...

BY: Robert Abare      10/05/16

Diverse partners helped keep the Lights On Afterschool this year

As you might have heard, Lights On Afterschool 2016 was a big success! Thousands (8,200 to be exact!) of programs and leaders hosted events in their communities. The Empire State Building glowed yellow on the evening of October 20, along with the Orlando Eye, the...

BY: Robert Abare      10/24/16

6 reasons why Lights On Afterschool 2016 was the brightest yet!

Exactly 8,200 events held across the USA and the world make this year's Lights On Afterschool the biggest and brightest since the rally first began 17 years ago! One million people joined together to shine a light on the accomplishments of afterschool programs and to say...

BY: Erin Murphy      10/21/16

Video: Math Champs help kick off Lights On Afterschool 2016

On October 6, we joined Learn Fresh, the Golden State Warriors and the Sacramento Kings to kick off Lights On Afterschool 2016 with a special NBA Math Hoops tournament at the SAP Center in San Jose, Calif. Take a look inside the celebration with our executive director Jodi Grant and...

BY: Robert Abare      10/18/16

Programs across the USA are gearing up for Lights On Afterschool 2016!

Tomorrow, October 6, we are kicking off the 17th annual Lights On Afterschool with Learn Fresh, the Golden State Warriors and the Sacramento Kings on a big national stage: a game between the Warriors and the Kings at the SAP Center in San Jose, California! Before the 7:30 p.m. tipoff on Thursday,...

BY: Robert Abare      10/05/16

Registration is open for Lights On Afterschool 2016!

Registration is now open for the nation’s only celebration of afterschool programs! Mark your calendars for Lights On Afterschool: October 20, 2016, and then start preparing for your event by registering today. Last year’s Lights On Afterschool saw more than 1 million Americans...

BY: Robert Abare      08/11/16