Happy Lights On Afterschool Day! Across the country, communities are celebrating the power of high-quality afterschool, summer, and expanded learning programs to make a difference in the lives of children and youth.
Today is also a day of advocacy – while it is important to take stock of the progress that has been made to advance afterschool as an essential element of an effective education, there is more to do.
Nationwide, an estimated 15 million children and youth do not have access to enriching, quality learning experiences outside of the regular school day. Not only do quality out-of-school time programs ensure the safety and well-being of these children during otherwise unsupervised hours, but they also enhance academic, social and workforce development skills.
United Way advocates for policies to enhance the nation’s network of out-of-school time programs. Join us!
Be an Afterschool Advocate in your community:
- Advocate for high-quality afterschool, summer, and expanded learning programs. Contact your congressional representative and ask them to support federal investments in quality out-of-school time programs.
- Ask your local school board to commission a study on out-of-school time in your community. Find out when your school board is hosting their next public meeting and talk about the importance of identifying existing resources and possible gaps in programs meeting the needs of older youth (e.g. grade and school-level transitions, workforce development, college preparation and access, STEM).
- Write a letter to your school district superintendent in support of early warning and response systems. Early warning and response systems can identify students off track to graduate, before they actually physically drop out. High-quality, targeted afterschool, summer learning, and transition supports can play a vital role in getting these students back on track and prepared for college and career.
- Share about the importance of afterschool programs on social media. Here are sample tweets:
- #KidsWin when we join together & rally for afterschool programs #LightsOn2013 #LIVEUNITED http://ow.ly/pFpBl
- Today is #LightsOn2013! Join the rally for afterschool today with @Unitedway #LIVEUNITED http://ow.ly/pObu3
- Juvenile crime & risky behaviors peak b/n 3-6 pm. Advocate to keep the #LightsOnAfterschool #LIVEUNITED http://ow.ly/pObu3
We hope that you’ll join advocates across the country and raise your voice in support of afterschool programs. For more information on Lights On Afterschool Day, go to: http://www.afterschoolalliance.org/loa.cfm.