Who are you trying to reach with your message?
Parents? Educators? Funders? Policy makers? The media?
Who are the best people to deliver your message?
Parents? Students? Principals? The mayor?
Who to invite to your event:
- educators and school personnel
- parents, grandparents & extended family
- business and community leaders
- local partners
- policy makers
- youth organizations: sports teams, school bands, academic and service clubs, volunteers
- local celebrities: tv news anchor, radio host, athletes
- the community
When should you celebrate?
Celebrating Lights On Afterschool between the hours of 3 and 6 p.m. is the best way to call attention to the needs of students during the hours after school. Celebrate during regular afterschool program hours, or during the evening when parents can participate.
When is the best time to reach your target audience?
Be mindful of your target audience and pick a time that best suits your goals. If media is important, remember that print reporters often need to file stories by late afternoon. If it’s important that elected officials or other community leaders attend, perhaps hold a breakfast of lunch reception.
Where is the best place to deliver your message?
Your location should be the best place to bring your message home and be easily accessible to your guests and target audience:
- your afterschool program facility, indoors or outdoors
- city hall
- public library, park or recreation center
- places of worship
- school gymnasium or auditorium
What would you like to come out of your event?
Media coverage? A stronger relationship with your mayor? More parent involvement? Impress funders or potential funders?
What message do you want to communicate?
How can you demonstrate to your target audience that afterschool is key to kids' success? What is the value of your program from the perspective of the community, parents, funders, students and local businesses?
What to do:
- Showcase the achievements of local afterschool programs and students.
- Convey your afterschool message: Every child should have access to afterschool! Celebrate the benefits of afterschool and call for support to ensure that programs in your community and across the country thrive.
- Connect the afterschool message to any related current events.
- Educate your supporters on how they can talk to friends, family, neighbors and other community members about the importance of afterschool programs.
What activities can you include at your event?
- Student-created and led activities like skits, dance, music and poetry.
- Sell items to raise funds for your program.
- Student demonstrations of afterschool activities, for example: yoga, basketball, karate, mural painting, chess, debate.
- Ask attendees to show their support for afterschool by signing onto Afterschool for All or the national afterschool support petition "We Rely on Afterschool Programs - Don't Deny or Divert Afterschool Funds."
- Contests and competitions (kids versus adults or kids versus kids).
- Special guest speakers: parents, local elected officials, the superintendent, mayor, a member of Congress, local celebrities, etc.
- Presentations by youth about their afterschool experience.
- A healthy snack or dinner.
- Light bulb art decorations.