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What Lights On Afterschool 2020 revealed about the afterschool field

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What Lights On Afterschool 2020 revealed about the afterschool field

7 ways afterschool shined

We’re tired. Challenged. Worried.  Our finances are strained, our staff face too many uncertainties.

Yet our field continues to innovate, evolve, and serve kids, families, and communities. Why? Because people are counting on you, and you care for them all.  Because you have a passion for this work. Because you don’t stop striving and learning.

For many of you, the name “afterschool program” doesn’t even fit what you are doing these days. You are a meal provider, a virtual programming expert, a remote learning problem solver, an enforcer of health protocols. Some of you are operating all day long, in addition to after school.

At the core, you are someone who cares deeply for those you serve. You have the unique ability to get kids existed about learning, to meet youth where they are, to put children and families at ease.

When it came time to celebrate, our field applied all the skills afterschool excels at  – problem solving, innovation, creativity, and determination – and we turned the Lights On Afterschool across America.

  1. Nearly 5,000 programs held celebrations. We are awed by the amazingly creative events, both in-person and virtual, taking place, from pumpkin bowling to virtual dance challenges to Mars STEM challenges. See a summary of many local events from around the country.
  2. Your messages on social on media rallying for afterschool reached 2.1 million people.
  3. The media coverage of your activities resulted in at least 700 stories with reach of 500 million people.
  4. 20+ lightings around the country, from Hawaii to Massachusetts, Florida to Michigan, Lousiana to Rhode Island, shined bright for afterschool.  There were skyscrapers, bridges, fountains, memorials, stadiums, state houses, a ferris wheel and a train station.  
  5. 5,350+ afterschool students and staff joined virtual events that included a coding activity run by Facebook; mindfulness session and SEL activity; Youth Town Hall; VentureLab hosted a live panel with youth entrepreneurs; live Q&A with a NASA astronaut and Million Girls Moonshot; and family drawing session.  See the recordings and resources related to these sessions.
  6. Elected leaders showed their respect. The Senate unanimously passed a resolution calling for the recognition of Lights On Afterschool and 35 states proclaimed Oct 22 Lights On Afterschool day. Virtual events around the nation featured members of Congress, state legislators, governor’s offices, and city leaders.
  7. Clear Channel, the National League of Cities and National Summer Learning collaborated with us to recognized afterschool programs rising to the moment in more than 1,000 billboards in 20+ markets all month long.

The afterschool field has proven itself resilient, innovative, and devoted to the needs of children and families. It's our honor to work in service and support of all afterschool and summer programming.

Thank you for everything you do to support our nation's kids and families!

Enter the 2020 Lights On Afterschool Poster Contest: $500 grand prize!

We’re bringing back the Lights On Afterschool poster contest! Grab your markers and sketchbooks, your digital art pads and pens: the afterschool artist who creates the winning masterpiece will take home $500 for their afterschool program! As always, the winning artwork will be printed on...

BY: Charlotte Steinecke      02/07/20

From New York to San Francisco, America’s landmarks shined for Lights On Afterschool

Hernando De Soto Gateway to Memphis Bridge in Memphis, TN. Courtesy of Mary Graham. Last Thursday, as America celebrated Lights On Afterschool for the 20th consecutive year, landmarks across the country lit up in yellow and blue to support the afterschool programs that keep kids safe, inspire...

BY: Magen Eissenstat      10/28/19

20th Lights On Afterschool: 1 million people, 10,000 events, 1,000s of lightings and billboards

For the 20th Lights On Afterschool, afterschool programs, supporters, and youth took the nation’s only rally for afterschool to new heights. More than 1 million students, parents, educators, business and faith leaders, policy makers, community members, and more gathered at schools, parks,...

BY: Ursula Helminski      10/25/19

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...

BY: Charlotte Steinecke      10/24/19

Lights On Afterschool events showcase healthy eating, stress management & active lifestyles

Afterschool programs are key players in ensuring children’s well-being, addressing challenges such as hunger and food insecurity, managing stress, encouraging physical activity, and avoiding alcohol and drugs. Many Lights On Afterschool events this year are showcasing how afterschool programs...

BY: Lisa Lederer      10/22/19

New sample materials for Lights On Afterschool

There are just three more days until the 20th Lights On Afterschool, and we've got a few final updates for your celebration!  We've updated our news release, detailing some of the amazing events happening this year and the new report from Fight Crime: Invest In...

BY: Charlotte Steinecke      10/21/19

10 bright ideas for a fun, easy Lights On event

The 20th Lights On Afterschool is only a few days away! There's still time to plan an amazing event, or to add another dimension to your plans for October 24. Visit our Last-Minute Ideas page to find easy, fun ways to celebrate. Here are a few examples to spark your...

BY: Charlotte Steinecke      10/18/19

Reach out now to generate coverage of your Lights On Afterschool event!

For most afterschool programs, and for the afterschool field overall, Lights On Afterschool is the most visible time of the year. It’s a time when we use social and mainstream media to share the wonderful, fun, educational activities afterschool programs offer and the many ways they support...

BY: Lisa Lederer      10/15/19

City leaders & education advocates light up billboards nationwide for the 20th Lights On Afterschool

Adapted from a recent press release. Big, bright news for the 20th Lights On Afterschool! In partnership with the Afterschool Alliance, the National League of Cities, and the National Summer Learning Association—a coalition of afterschool supporters—joined with Clear Channel Outdoor...

BY: Charlotte Steinecke      10/14/19

We challenge you: Raise your arms for afterschool!

We're just two weeks away from the 20th Lights On Afterschool. Join us in celebrating afterschool and summer learning programs that make a huge difference in the lives of our kids with the 3rd annual Lightbulb Challenge! Every year, we challenge friends of afterschool across the country to...

BY: Charlotte Steinecke      10/10/19

From New York to San Francisco, America’s landmarks shined for Lights On Afterschool

Hernando De Soto Gateway to Memphis Bridge in Memphis, TN. Courtesy of Mary Graham. Last Thursday, as America celebrated Lights On Afterschool for the 20th consecutive year, landmarks across the country lit up in yellow and blue to support the afterschool programs that keep kids safe, inspire...

BY: Magen Eissenstat      10/28/19

City leaders & education advocates light up billboards nationwide for the 20th Lights On Afterschool

Adapted from a recent press release. Big, bright news for the 20th Lights On Afterschool! In partnership with the Afterschool Alliance, the National League of Cities, and the National Summer Learning Association—a coalition of afterschool supporters—joined with Clear Channel Outdoor...

BY: Charlotte Steinecke      10/14/19

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

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

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