Lights On Afterschool 2010 was a smashing success! Here are some highlights from the MetLife Afterschool Innovator Award events from our Afterschool Alliance staff:
“The Lights On event at Project Bridge in Denver was a huge success. The event started with the students standing by their projects (science fair style), which included solar cars and posters designed by the students showing how the cars work. We were also given a tour of the Center including the technology lab, and got to see a windmill designed and built by the middle school students. All guests, including representatives from project sponsors and partners the University Denver and the Denver Housing Authority, got to watch a video about renewable energy produced by the students last year.”
“The MetLife event honoring the LeAp 22 program in the Bronx was great. It began with a performance from LeAp’s ‘Mighty Marching Tigers’ band, and continued with remarks from the principal, the Executive Director of LeAp, LeAp site directors and board member Stacey Gillis-Weber on behalf of the Afterschool Alliance. Then, we were treated to all kinds of short student performances: color guard, slam poetry, violin, jujitsu, salsa dancing, cheerleading, fashion and photography, sports and drama. The kids were amazing. Chris Caruso and Patty Waters from the NYC Department of Youth and Community Development also attended, as did a photographer from the Bronx Times. Overall, about 200 people were present.”
“The San Antonio Youth Center Lights On Afterschool event was fantastic. The day started off with high energy Zumba dancing for the kids and attendees of the event. San Antonio Youth CEO Cynthia Le Monds emceed the event and spoke about the importance of afterschool programs and the reason we are celebrating Lights On Afterschool. State Representative Joaquin Castro and District 3 Councilwoman Jennifer Ramos said a few words. District 1 Councilwoman Mary Alice Cisneros was in attendance and said a few words about San Antonio Youth and the work that MetLife Foundation and Afterschool Alliance has done to support the center. In addition to Zumba dancing, the center offered up tons of games like three- legged races and potatoes sack races. There were healthy snacks for parents and kids and a Mobile Food pantry outside in the parking lot for families that received vouchers for donated food. “
“The Science Club for Girls and the C.E.L.L.S. program (Career Exploration, Leadership, and Life Skills) event was attended by a large number of science club student participants. Massachusetts Secretary of Education Paul Revell was there along with Vice-Mayor of the City of Cambridge Henrietta Davis and the Cambridge Public School District Deputy Superintendent Carolyn Turk. They all spoke highly about the program and what it was doing for young girls. The community relations manager for Draper Labs was at the event representing several of the female engineers at Draper Labs that serve as mentors for the science clubs. Check out a picture from the event from the programs Executive Director Connie Chow’s http://scienceclubforgirls.wordpress.com/2010/10/13/were-one-of-six-afterschool-innovator-award-winner/.“
“The Cypress Hills East NY Beacon must be open just about 24 hrs and their efforts to empower their kids is so compelling. We were lucky to be able to see the huge range of activities they offer. Middle school kids choose to get matched up with seniors, solve community problems or be counselors in training to help younger kids. The kids are such an impressive bunch. The award ceremony was small, but Brooklyn cable came and there was a good representation of city offices. After the award presentation to student participants, we took a tour and saw kids getting high school/career counseling, doing read a-louds with younger students, lifting weights, painting pumpkins with seniors and we got a taste of food made by kids!”
This year’s round of MetLife Afterschool Innovator awardees and their great Lights On Afterschool events truly displayed the powerful potential of afterschool programs to change young people’s lives and encourage a brighter, stronger and more innovative future for our nation’s youth!