Where: Columbus, Ohio

Who: Museum opens doors to 1,500 afterschool students


Dynamic partnerships allowed organizers to put together a large-scale event and attract speakers such as Mayor Michael Coleman and former Ohio State University and Miami Dolphin football star Demetrius Stanley.

“Our event was very successful because it was truly a community event.  Many organizations worked together to make it happen,” said Karen Jackson, former state coordinator for Ohio's Out-of-School Time Project, Action for Children and a 2003-2004 Afterschool Ambassador.  “The most important thing is to be inclusive of all organizations—regardless of how much or how little they contribute.  Also, have a firm budget and provide transportation.”

The Program:

COSI Columbus—a popular science museum—opened its doors to more than 1,500 students and adults from more than 40 programs for a fun-filled afternoon.  Collaborative partners for the event included COSI, Communities in Schools, Cap City Kids, the Mayor's Office of Education, Action for Children, Children’s Hunger Alliance and the YMCA of Central Ohio.

Mayor Michael Coleman and former Ohio State University and Miami Dolphin football star Demetrius Stanley spoke at the event.

Information booths highlighted activities at local programs.  Guests were able to tour the entire center.

Step teams and other performing artists entertained guests, as did mascots from the local professional teams.

In addition to the large event at COSI Columbus, Jackson hosted a highly successful Lights On Ohio Afterschool kickoff on October 3.  It was part of Ohio's two-day statewide Out-of-School Time professional development conference, “Building a Brighter Future.”

Keynote speakers included Ohio First Lady Hope Taft, Columbus Mayor Michael B. Coleman, Afterschool Alliance Executive Director Judy Y. Samelson, State Sen. Ray Miller and U.S. Sen. Michael DeWine.  Each dignitary received an “Ohio Educational Opportunities Advocate” recognition plaque on behalf of Ohio's Out-of-School Time Project and the Afterschool Alliance.

The conference energized the afterschool community and helped convince many providers to host their own Lights On Afterschool events.