A project of the Afterschool Alliance

Case Study: Open house impresses local leaders & boosts staff

"A good education is more than just in the classroom. These experiences are part of the foundation for a wholesome education that nurtures our children's talents outside of school hours." - Katie O'Malley, Former First Lady of Maryland

Advice for Coordinators:

  • Involve a variety of stakeholders in planning and execution to build ownership.
  • Develop a media plan.
  • Make the event visually attractive.
  • 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 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. At least nine JCPenney stores in Maryland promoted Lights On Afterschool events by setting up afterschool info booths, encouraging shoppers to participate and wearing "Afterschool for All" stickers during the week of Lights On Afterschool.

Where: Baltimore, Maryland

Who: Maryland's State Superintendent of Schools, the Baltimore City Council president, and more than 300 students, parents and community members.


An open house that featured activities from local afterschool programs impressed local leaders and gave afterschool staffers a well-deserved celebration.

The Program:

The Door in Baltimore, Maryland, hosted an open house that featured activities from 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.

“One of the greatest outcomes of our Lights On Afterschool event was that local, state and federal elected officials and their staff who attended 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 accomplishes while also giving a boost to those who toil every day to help sustain the programs for students and their families in our community."