By Shaun Gray
Lights On Afterschool is two weeks away, and we are hearing about a lot of awesome celebrations taking place around the country. From a youth air fair & open house at Tomorrow's Aeronautical Museum in California to a “Luminarias for Literacy” walk over the Rio Grande River hosted by Rio Grande Educational Collaborative in New Mexico, this year’s Lights On Afterschool is gearing up to be the best ever.
Another unique celebration for Lights On Afterschool are movie screenings and discussion panels surrounding the new afterschool inspired documentary, Brooklyn Castle, about an inner-city public school in Brooklyn and its afterschool chess team. The school is home to the most winning junior high school chess team in the country, but while working to excel at the chess board, the students and teachers face cutbacks that threaten the very afterschool program that is credited with their school’s “culture of success.” The team has been featured in the New York Times and Wall Street Journal; yet budget cuts still loom at IS 318’s chess program and at afterschool sites around the country.
These movie screenings and discussion panels are currently being held in California, D.C., and New York City during the week before and week of Lights On Afterschool. Watch the trailer for Brooklyn Castle below to learn why this film was honored as the Audience Award Winner at the 2012 South by Southwest Film Festival as well as winning Best New Director at the Brooklyn Film Festival. Brooklyn Castle is set to release in theaters nationwide on October 19.
We would like to hear what you have planned to celebrate Lights On Afterschool this year and see photos of your event for our Lights On photo gallery. Send photos to us at email@example.com. And remember, Lights On Afterschool celebrations don't need to take a lot of time, money or resources to be great; a creative, low-key event with a well thought out guest list can have just as much impact as a large rally on the steps of the state capitol. What matters most is recognizing the important, positive benefits of afterschool programs and sharing that with your community — with or without the confetti!