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Time to celebrate! Today is Lights On Afterschool!

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Time to celebrate! Today is Lights On Afterschool!

Today’s the 23rd annual Lights On Afterschool! Students are speaking with NASA astronauts and STEM Energy Superheroes, building wind turbines, running speak-out stations, putting on performances, and so much more at more than 5,000 events nationwide. In all, more than 1 million people will gather to celebrate afterschool programs and all they do to keep kids safe, inspire them to learn, and help working families. This year is especially poignant as we reflect on the important ways programs support students’ learning and well-being, and give young people opportunities to connect, explore, lead, and dream. Yet, for every child in a program, 4 more are waiting to get in. 

More than 5,000 programs are opening their doors to the community to share the power of afterschool experiences. A few highlights (for more, search local events or see a compilation of sample events around the country): 

  • Professional soccer player Amobi Okugo, rap talent Paris Nights, Destiny Arts African Dance Group, cheer squads, and step troupes kicked off Lights On Afterschool with Bay Area Resources’ afterschool program at Martin Luther King Junior Elementary School in Oakland, CA on October 13. Our Afterschool Alliance team, the superintendent, school and state education leaders, and afterschool partners and leaders were on hand to celebrate with hundreds of youth and families. 

  • NASA teamed up with Million Girls Moonshot and the Alliance to host a series of special in-person events at NASA centers around the country, plus a national virtual activity, featuring actor Keke Palmer of Disney’s Lightyear and International Space Station astronaut Jessica Watkins. Hundreds of programs are tuning into the virtual activity during their Lights On Afterschool events. Million Girls Moonshot Flight Crew youth are moderating events. (Programs can stream the virtual activity anytime at the NASA STEM Youtube channel.)

  • LEAP afterschool program, which created the winning artwork for the 2022 Lights On poster, put on a theatrical performance based on the artwork concept, a mural designed and painted by students on the wall of their school building, PS 100x in Bronx, NY.

  • Energy Superheroes – women leaders in STEM – are visiting elementary and middle school youth at programs in four states to talk about their careers and build wind turbines. These Superheroes are profiled in the Everyday STEM Hero book series. The book series authors and energy company sponsors have donated hundreds of copies of the books to afterschool programs around the country. 

  • Teens are leading Lights On. At VOX ATL in Atlanta, GA, teens are putting on an event to share the findings of their 2022 teen survey, why programs matter, and leading speak-out stations. In Rhode Island, Youth in Action will celebrate 25 years of empowering young change makers. At the youth-led program, students can earn credit for their afterschool learning. At Abundance Farms in Northampton, MA, teens are sharing what they’re learning as stewards of the farm, how their social identities relate and intersect with our food system and community, and practices in reflection, awareness, and growth.

  • Mizzen, the free app loaded with lessons for afterschool providers, curated a set of engaging activities for afterschool programs to consider running during their Lights On Afterschool celebrations, from mindfulness to hands-on STEM to getting active.

Afterschool billboards with the tag, Freedom to Explore, are running all month in 25 markets nationwide thanks to Clear Channel Outdoor, in addition to a special run on jumbo screens in Times Square on Lights On Afterschool day.

U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona will share a message during Think Together’s virtual Lights On Afterschool celebration.

From Alabama to Alaska, landmarks are lighting up in honor of afterschool – including NYC’s iconic Empire State Building - and governors and mayors across the nation will issue proclamations in support of afterschool. Lightings of memorials, brides, skyscrapers, stadiums include the Superdome in New Orleans, LA; the Tampa Bay Rays’ Tropicana Field in Florida; Frederick Douglass Bridge in Washington, DC; the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation in Flint, MI; the Salt Palace in Utah; and Denali State Bank in Fairbanks, AK, where for the first time a giant Lights On logo will be projected onto the building. 

All across social media, #LightsOnAfterschool afterschool supporters and friends are posting photos on social media as part of the Lightbulb Challenge.

We hope you are celebrating, too! Be sure to post your #LightsOnAfterschool message, and save the date for the 24th Lights On Afterschool on October 26, 2023!

The 2024 Lights On Afterschool Poster Contest is open!

The Lights On Afterschool poster contest is officially open, and this year we’re looking for any artwork that represents the spirit of afterschool programs. To make things even more exciting, we’re looking to gather new or already existing materials. If your program has pre-made artwork...

BY: Shaun Gray      04/09/24

Where we were during Lights On Afterschool 2023

Students at Life Pieces to Masterpieces in Washington, D.C. Afterschool Alliance staff members were out and about at afterschoool programs during Lights On Afterschool 2023. Here are a few snapshots of events they participated in. For even more Lights On Afterschool event recaps, check out...

BY: Charlotte Steinecke      11/30/23

Lights On Afterschool: Where on earth is Chris Neitzey?

Photo courtesy of Chris Neitzey; Madison Deputy Mayor Sanon addresses the crowd outside the Wisconsin State Capitol.  For Lights On Afterschool 2023, Afterschool Alliance Director of State Policy Chris Neitzey visited a record-breaking six Lights On Afterschool events across Wisconsin. His...

BY: Chris Neitzey      11/20/23

Lights, learning, and lunchboxes – An innovative partnership during Lights On

By Meredith Bush, Senior Manager of Education Business Development at Center of Science and Industry (COSI), and Stephen White, Chief Strategy Officer, Vice President of Partnerships and Business Development at Center of Science and Industry (COSI). Afterschool Alliance teamed up...

BY: Guest Blogger      11/09/23

Lights On Afterschool STEM extravaganza

With Lights On Afterschool season upon us and as the new STEM Hub Manager here at the Afterschool Alliance, I was eager to participate in an event elevating the value of STEM learning for youth at a young age. I was delighted to learn about and attend the inaugural STEM Extravaganza in Columbia,...

BY: Leslie Brooks      11/02/23

Top ten highlights from Lights On Afterschool 2023

Yesterday, the 24th annual Lights On Afterschool was celebrated by afterschool programs and supporters nationwide. With 8,000 different events held in collaboration with hundreds of partners and a million attendees, it’s hard to select just a few special moments to share...

BY: Charlotte Steinecke      10/27/23

Today is Lights On Afterschool!

In Arkansas, students are completing an obstacle course with members of their local fire department. In California, they are learning to weave baskets and performing songs and skits. In Delaware, they are exploring careers from landscaping to banking; in Georgia, identifying native plants...

BY: Charlotte Steinecke      10/26/23

Energy Superheroes join Lights On Afterschool events in Charlottesville, Denver, Houston – and Mons, Belgium

We’re thrilled to share that Energy Superheroes are joining in the nation’s celebration of afterschool programs, Lights On Afterschool! Energy Superheroes are real-life women with superpowers and careers that are leading the energy transition. Many of these women help to power...

BY: Charlotte Steinecke      10/24/23

Celebrate Lights On Afterschool with these last-minute ideas

The time has come: we are officially one week out from Lights On Afterschool day! Did you think it was too late to join in the celebration? Well, think again! Whether you want to partake in the Lightbulb Challenge or light up a local landmark, here are some ways to get involved in Lights On...

BY: Lucy Maddox      10/19/23

Join the Lights On Afterschool Lightbulb Challenge!

With just two weeks left until Lights On Afterschool day, the countdown to this annual celebration is well underway! Still, it’s not too late to get involved and show your support for afterschool programs across the country. Even if you aren’t hosting your own event this year, there are...

BY: Lucy Maddox      10/12/23

The 2024 Lights On Afterschool Poster Contest is open!

The Lights On Afterschool poster contest is officially open, and this year we’re looking for any artwork that represents the spirit of afterschool programs. To make things even more exciting, we’re looking to gather new or already existing materials. If your program has pre-made artwork...

BY: Shaun Gray      04/09/24

Energy Superheroes join Lights On Afterschool events in Charlottesville, Denver, Houston – and Mons, Belgium

We’re thrilled to share that Energy Superheroes are joining in the nation’s celebration of afterschool programs, Lights On Afterschool! Energy Superheroes are real-life women with superpowers and careers that are leading the energy transition. Many of these women help to power...

BY: Charlotte Steinecke      10/24/23

What we saw during Lights On 2022: Part 1

Welcome to part one of "What we saw during Lights On 2022." As we head into the new year, we wanted to share some of the first-hand accounts from our staff members who were able to visit afterschool programs during this year's Lights On. You can read part two on the blog. Mark...

BY: Charlotte Steinecke      12/15/22

Spotlight on STEM at YMCA Houston's 21st CCLC Lights On celebration

This Lights On Afterschool, the Afterschool Alliance partnered with Energy Superheroes and Trailblazers from the award-winning multicultural nonfiction children’s book series, Everyday Superheroes to bring STEM learning to four different local Lights On celebrations. One of those celebrations...

BY: Maria Rizo      11/28/22

5 ways to share your students' entrepreneurial mindsets during Lights On

By Scott Mann, VentureLab, Jessie Jones and Kelly Biggar of Young Entrepreneur Institute (YEI), and Liz Nusken, Ohio Afterschool Network (OAN). Photo courtesy of Youth Panel on Entrepreneurship Education. Afterschool programs play a vital role in helping young people explore and develop...

BY: Guest Blogger      09/26/22

Energy Superheroes to celebrate Lights On Afterschool!

We’re thrilled to share that Energy Superheroes and Trailblazers are joining in the nation’s celebration of afterschool programs, Lights On Afterschool! Energy Superheroes and Trailblazers are real-life women with superpowers and careers that are leading the energy transition. Many of...

BY: Shaun Gray      09/06/22

Planning tools for your Lights On Afterschool celebration

We’re nine weeks out from the 23rd celebration of Lights On Afterschool! If you’re in search of event ideas or unsure where to begin, we’ve got you covered. Read on to discover our top planning tools to help you organize your event! Register your Lights On event by September...

BY: Tierra Easter      08/19/22

The 2024 Lights On Afterschool Poster Contest is open!

The Lights On Afterschool poster contest is officially open, and this year we’re looking for any artwork that represents the spirit of afterschool programs. To make things even more exciting, we’re looking to gather new or already existing materials. If your program has pre-made artwork...

BY: Shaun Gray      04/09/24

Bring out student creativity during Lights On Afterschool

This Lights On Afterschool, host an art day! Lights On Afterschool is the perfect time to let students express their thoughts on afterschool through art. Events can be as big as a mural painting around a unique theme that resonates with your students and as simple as decorating a lightbulb with all...

BY: Maria Rizo      09/28/23

Meet the winner of the Lights On Afterschool 2023 poster contest

This year's Lights On Afterschool poster was created by Lydia Ireland, a seventh-grade student from Folks Middle School Art Club. Lydia’s drawing features afterschool imagery, including a ballet slipper, a football, a theater mask, a chess piece, and a computer mouse – all radiating...

BY: Shaun Gray      08/21/23

The 2023 Lights On Afterschool Poster Contest is open!

The Lights On Afterschool poster contest is officially open, and this year we’re looking for any artwork that represents the spirit of afterschool programs. To make things even more exciting, we’re looking to gather new or already existing materials. If your program has...

BY: Shaun Gray      05/18/23

Announcing the winner of the 2022 Lights On Afterschool poster contest

The time has come to reveal the official Lights On Afterschool 2022 ! Afterschool Alliance is thrilled to announce the winner of the 2022 Lights On Afterschool poster contest: LEAP afterschool program at PS100x in the Bronx, New York! The winning artwork will be printed on 50,000 posters and sent...

BY: Maria Rizo      07/01/22

Lights, learning, and lunchboxes – An innovative partnership during Lights On

By Meredith Bush, Senior Manager of Education Business Development at Center of Science and Industry (COSI), and Stephen White, Chief Strategy Officer, Vice President of Partnerships and Business Development at Center of Science and Industry (COSI). Afterschool Alliance teamed up...

BY: Guest Blogger      11/09/23

Lights On Afterschool STEM extravaganza

With Lights On Afterschool season upon us and as the new STEM Hub Manager here at the Afterschool Alliance, I was eager to participate in an event elevating the value of STEM learning for youth at a young age. I was delighted to learn about and attend the inaugural STEM Extravaganza in Columbia,...

BY: Leslie Brooks      11/02/23

Energy Superheroes join Lights On Afterschool events in Charlottesville, Denver, Houston – and Mons, Belgium

We’re thrilled to share that Energy Superheroes are joining in the nation’s celebration of afterschool programs, Lights On Afterschool! Energy Superheroes are real-life women with superpowers and careers that are leading the energy transition. Many of these women help to power...

BY: Charlotte Steinecke      10/24/23

NASA is celebrating Lights On Afterschool - and you’re invited!

This Lights On Afterschool, get wrapped up in learning about Paula Cain, who went from fashion designer to space blanket technician at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center.  NASA invites programs and youth to join a special virtual Lights On Afterschool event with Thermal Blanket...

BY: Maria Rizo      10/02/23

Spotlight on STEM at YMCA Houston's 21st CCLC Lights On celebration

This Lights On Afterschool, the Afterschool Alliance partnered with Energy Superheroes and Trailblazers from the award-winning multicultural nonfiction children’s book series, Everyday Superheroes to bring STEM learning to four different local Lights On celebrations. One of those celebrations...

BY: Maria Rizo      11/28/22

The 2024 Lights On Afterschool Poster Contest is open!

The Lights On Afterschool poster contest is officially open, and this year we’re looking for any artwork that represents the spirit of afterschool programs. To make things even more exciting, we’re looking to gather new or already existing materials. If your program has pre-made artwork...

BY: Shaun Gray      04/09/24

Communities from Alaska to Florida lit up landmarks for afterschool

Last Thursday, communities across the country rallied for the 23rd annual Lights On Afterschool celebration. This year, the nation shined their lights for the essential programs that keep kids safe, inspire them to learn, and give working parents peace of mind that their children are safe and...

BY: Maria Rizo      10/28/22

Inspiring celebrations of afterschool during Lights On 2022

In Alaska, students balanced spiders on webs they created with marshmallows and toothpicks, and enjoyed Polynesian dance. In California, they conducted “Will It Float?” exercises. In Florida, they created elephant toothpaste from dish soap, hydrogen peroxide and yeast; in Indiana,...

BY: Charlotte Steinecke      10/21/22

Light up your community during Lights On Afterschool!

Just four weeks until the 23rd annual Lights On Afterschool! Lights On Afterschool showcases the important role afterschool programs play in supporting students, families, and communities. Shining a light on afterschool programs helps build awareness of the critical need for more...

BY: Tierra Easter      09/23/22

Planning tools for your Lights On Afterschool celebration

We’re nine weeks out from the 23rd celebration of Lights On Afterschool! If you’re in search of event ideas or unsure where to begin, we’ve got you covered. Read on to discover our top planning tools to help you organize your event! Register your Lights On event by September...

BY: Tierra Easter      08/19/22

The 2024 Lights On Afterschool Poster Contest is open!

The Lights On Afterschool poster contest is officially open, and this year we’re looking for any artwork that represents the spirit of afterschool programs. To make things even more exciting, we’re looking to gather new or already existing materials. If your program has pre-made artwork...

BY: Shaun Gray      04/09/24

Today is the first day of Lights On Afterschool season!

It's on! Lights On Afterschool is back for its 24th year -- please join us in the nation's only celebration of afterschool and out-of-school time programs! With 10 weeks until October 26, now is the perfect time to register and begin planning your event. Explore...

BY: Charlotte Steinecke      08/17/23

Lights On Afterschool: Celebrating 25 years of 21st CCLC programs

We are delighted to announce that this year Lights On Afterschool, the nationwide rally for afterschool, will highlight the contributions of 21st Century Community Learning Center (21st CCLC) afterschool programs. 21st CCLC funding has enabled local programs to keep kids safe, inspire them to...

BY: Ursula Helminski      07/20/23

Spotlight on STEM at YMCA Houston's 21st CCLC Lights On celebration

This Lights On Afterschool, the Afterschool Alliance partnered with Energy Superheroes and Trailblazers from the award-winning multicultural nonfiction children’s book series, Everyday Superheroes to bring STEM learning to four different local Lights On celebrations. One of those celebrations...

BY: Maria Rizo      11/28/22