Events in schools, Y's, Boys and Girls Clubs and day and community centers will call attention to the need for safe and nurturing programs for school-age children after school.
At the request of the Tennessee Commission on Children and Youth, Governor Bredesen proclaimed Oct. 22 Lights On Afterschool Day to celebrate these afterschool programs in Tennessee's communities. This year marks the 10th annual national Lights On Afterschool. The event is organized nationally by the Afterschool Alliance.
In his proclamation, the governor said, "Afterschool programs support working families by ensuring their children are safe and productive after the regular school day ends and build stronger communities by involving our students, parents, business leaders and adult volunteers in the lives of our young children, thereby promoting positive relationships among children youth, families and adults."
Afterschool programs improve student performance, attendance and engagement with school and are especially effective with at-risk youth. These students' parents also have increased engagement with the schools. The programs teach children social skills and emotional control.
Nearly a fourth of school-age students are unsupervised after school; only 10 percent of school-age children participate in an afterschool program. Other families would place their children in a nurturing, educationally enriching afterschool program if it were possible.
More than 7,500 communities and 1 million Americans celebrate Lights On Afterschool every year! In Franklin, parents and their children will participate in an astronomy event. Memphis participants will create art to be shared with legislators. In Loudon, Tenn., the community is invited to view student afterschool projects. Open houses and other activities are planned across the states.
This year, Taft Youth Center at Fort Campbell is one of the many military installations participating. A list of other Tennessee Lights On Afterschool participants is available online at www.afterschoolalliance.org/loaFindEvent.cfm.
The Tennessee Commission on Children and Youth is an independent agency created by the Tennessee General Assembly. Its primary mission is to advocate for improvements in the quality of life for Tennessee children and families.
For more information, contact Linda O'Neal at (615) 741-2633 or Laura Ellis at (615) 253-6037.