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Afterschool programs celebrate 'Lights on Afterschool' in Georgia

MEDIA CONTACT: Meghan Frick, GaDOE Communications Office, (404) 463-4246, mfrick@doe.k12.ga.us

PROGRAM CONTACT: Nathan Schult, 21st CCLC Program Manager, (404) 232 -1197, nschult@doe.k12.ga.us  

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Today in America, 15.1 million children remain alone and unsupervised after school. To recognize the need and importance of quality afterschool programs, hundreds of afterschool programs in Georgia will join together on October 26, 2017 to celebrate the annual nationwide event, Lights on Afterschool. Since 2000, Lights on Afterschool has brought communities, students and families across the country together to collectively emphasize the importance of keeping the lights on and the doors open after school. Last year, more than one million people gathered at more than 8,000 sites across the country, including U.S. military bases worldwide, to demonstrate their support for afterschool programs.

Through Georgia’s Title IV, Part B, 21st Century Community Learning Centers Program (21st CCLC), the Georgia Department of Education provides federal funds to establish or expand community learning centers that operate during out-of-school hours. This school year, 128 programs will operate more than 237 locations serving approximately 27,000 21st CCLC students and their families. The majority of these programs will host Lights on Afterschool events in their communities on Oct. 26 to highlight their programs’ successes and the importance of quality afterschool programs in the lives of children, families and the community.

“As we prepare children for their future, we know that in-demand careers and fields require students to receive a high-quality, well-rounded education,” State School Superintendent Richard Woods said. “During the school day, there is often not enough time to provide additional academic support and services for students who can potentially benefit from extra academic enrichment activities. Thanks to the 21st CCLC program, children have the opportunity to discover new talents and explore real world connections that expand and enhance their learning.”

 

Over the course of a year, students only spend an average of 15 percent of their time in school. There is a growing opportunity outside of the school day to provide students – particularly those who attend high-poverty and low-performing schools – with academic enrichment opportunities. 21st CCLC programs help students meet academic standards in core subjects by offering a broad array of enrichment activities that complement regular academic programs, as well as literacy and other educational services for the families of participating children.

“Not only do these programs directly benefit schools, but parents and the community rely on quality programs to provide safe engaging environments for their children afterschool or during the summer,” said Nathan Schult, 21st CCLC Program Manager. “Quality afterschool programs make communities stronger by involving students, parents, business leaders and volunteers. On October 26, communities across Georgia and the country will stand together in continued support and commitment of afterschool programs that help children develop academically, socially, emotionally and physically”.

As the only national celebration of afterschool programs, Lights on Afterschool is a powerful reminder that afterschool programs play a critical role in keeping youth safe, engaged and prepared to be successful adults. This event highlights the importance of providing students and families with innovative afterschool programs and activities that ensure the lights stay on and the doors stay open for all children after school.

To learn more about Lights on Afterschool and see a complete list of events in Georgia, visit http://www.afterschoolalliance.org/loa.cfm. For more information about Georgia’s 21st Century Community Learning Centers Program, please visit http://www.gadoe.org/School-Improvement/Federal-Programs/Pages/21st-Century-Community-Learning-Centers.aspx. ​

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