Use this sample news release for your own event. Be sure to insert data on the demand and need for afterschool in your state. Distribute it to media who attend, and then email or fax it that same day to reporters on your press list who missed the event.
Contact: [Your Program Name, Rally Contact]
[Your program name] Lights On Afterschool Rally Features Mayor, Business Leaders Hundreds Join Call for "Afterschool for All"
[your city] – Hundreds of children, parents, business and community leaders came together today at a Lights On Afterschool rally at [location of event] to celebrate the achievements of afterschool students and draw attention to the need for more afterschool programs to serve the millions of children nationwide who are unsupervised and at risk each weekday afternoon. The gathering was one of more than 8,000 such events across the nation emphasizing the importance of keeping the lights on and the doors open after school. Speakers at the rally celebrated the many benefits of afterschool programs, and encouraged lawmakers, businesses and others to support afterschool funding.
[Add specifics, similar to the following]: Participants in [your program]"s Lights On Afterschool event saw students write messages to their elected officials, while [insert names of any leaders in attendance, such as your mayor, school officials, business leaders], parents and students discussed the importance of afterschool programs. Organized by the Afterschool Alliance, Lights On Afterschool has been celebrated annually since 2000. This year, more than one million Americans demonstrated their support for afterschool by taking part in the only nationwide rally for afterschool programs.
A newly released national poll illustrates that the high level of support for afterschool shown by those joining Lights On celebrations extends to the overall population. The poll, released in conjunction with Lights On, shows that nearly nine in ten adults (89 percent) say they believe afterschool and summer programs are important to their communities. That includes majorities of Democrats and Republicans. The poll also finds strong backing of public funding for afterschool and summer learning programs, with two in three adults saying they want their federal, state and local leaders to provide funding for afterschool and summer programs.
Yet, demand for afterschool programs continues to far outpace the supply of existing programs. Data from America After 3PM, the research series on afterschool commissioned by the Afterschool Alliance, shows a vast unmet demand for afterschool programs nationwide. In [your state], [click to find number for your state] children participate in an afterschool program, yet [click to find number for your state] would be enrolled if a program were available. Further, [click to find number for your state] percent of [your state]’s parents are satisfied with their child’s afterschool program, and [click to find number for your state] percent agree that afterschool programs give working parents peace of mind. More work needs to be done to meet the great need for afterschool programs that keep [your state’s] kids safe, inspire them to learn and help working families.
[Add a quote from a notable participant, similar to the following]: “Lights On Afterschool celebrates the remarkable work being done by students who attend our afterschool programs,” [Name of notable] told the crowd. “It is a powerful reminder that afterschool programs offer a range of supports to children and families. Unfortunately, we don’t have enough afterschool programs, and too many kids are home alone in the afternoons or on the streets where they can be exposed to crime or at-risk. We must open more programs and make sure lawmakers invest more in afterschool. I am personally committed to doing all I can to ensure that, in the very near future, every [your city] child who needs an afterschool program has one.”
[Add specific quotes, names, similar to the following]: “We are all very proud of our afterschool students,” said [your program director]. “There's no reason that learning should stop at 3 p.m., particularly if the alternative is unsupervised time in front of a television set, or any of the dangerous or unhealthy behaviors that can ensnare children in the afternoons. Like so many other afterschool programs around the nation, ours is supported by funding from the federal 21st Century Community Learning Centers initiative. Since its creation, it has provided funding to allow millions of children to attend afterschool. We need to grow this funding stream for afterschool and summer learning programs.”
[Add specifics about your afterschool program, similar to the following]: [Your program] opened in 1999 with a 21st Century Community Learning Centers grant from the U.S. Department of Education. It now serves 250 children, providing homework assistance, mentoring, tutoring, and classes and clubs in sports, recreation, mathematics, chess, and dozens of other subjects. The program is a collaboration of the school system, YMCA, Museum of Arts and Sciences and three local colleges.
Lights On Afterschool is organized by the Afterschool Alliance, a nonprofit public awareness and advocacy organization working to ensure that all children have access to quality afterschool programs. More information on the Afterschool Alliance, Lights On Afterschool and America After 3PM is available at www.afterschoolalliance.org.
[Add a two-sentence description of your program with the URL]