Lights On Celebrates Staff, Impresses Officials
Where: Baltimore, Maryland
Who: Maryland's State Superintendent of Schools, the Baltimore City Council president, and more than 300 students, parents and community members.
Highlights: An open house that featured activities from local afterschool programs impressed local leaders and gave afterschool staffers a well-deserved celebration.
The Door in Baltimore, Maryland hosted an open house that featured activities from local afterschool programs in the city. The Door is the first faith-based afterschool program to receive a 21st Century Community Learning Centers grant in the state. Guest speakers included the Maryland State Superintendent of Schools and the Baltimore City Council president.
More than 300 students, parents and other community members were able to see firsthand the creative and diverse activities students participated in daily at their programs - from science experiments to computer programs to arts and crafts. Students from The Door, YMCA, Junior Achievement, Boys and Girls Club Living Classrooms, Chesapeake Center and the Afterschool Marching Band participated in the event.
"One of the greatest outcomes of our Lights On Afterschool event is that local, state and federal elected officials and their staff members who attended our event were so impressed by all that the programs offer that they are now more willing to support afterschool programs," said Kacy Conley, Director of Urban Services at the YMCA of Central Maryland and an Afterschool Ambassador. "It was a wonderful way to celebrate the great things afterschool accomplish while also giving a boost to those who toil every day to help sustain the programs for students and their families in our community."
KEYS TO SUCCESS
- Involve a variety of stakeholders in the planning and execution so that the event is owned by several groups.
- Develop a media plan.
- Make the event visually attractive. Organizers recruited the expertise of a partner JCPenney store.
- Secure a variety of afterschool programs to showcase their activities.
- Include several hands-on activities for youth during the event.
- Keep the program portion of the event short as the kids should be the focus.
- Employ afterschool students as hosts/hostesses tour guides for the event. Many of the dignitaries at Conley's event remarked that they appreciated having youth tour guides with whom to share their experiences.
- Recruit partners with reach into the community to help promote your event. During the weekend prior to Lights On Afterschool!, at least nine JCPenney stores in Maryland promoted local Lights On Afterschool! events by setting up afterschool information booths and encouraging shoppers to participate in the events and to volunteer at afterschool programs. Many local JCPenney store employees also wore "Afterschool for All" stickers during the week of Lights On Afterschool!