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Lights On Afterschool

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On Wednesday, October 18, Our YMCA A+ afterschool staff members and students from Royal School joined hundreds of other Hawaii Afterschool Program kids, parents, educators and community leaders gathered at the Hawaii State Capitol in a nationwide rally to raise the awareness of the importance of quality after school programs for the Annual Lights On Afterschool celebration.

Launched in October 2000, Lights On Afterschool is the only nationwide event celebrating afterschool programs and their role in keeping kids safe, inspiring them to learn and helping working families. The effort has become a hallmark of the afterschool movement and annually sees more than 1 million Americans celebrate at more than 8,000 events nationwide.

At each of our 56 YMCA A+ Afterschool sites located at Hawaii State Department of Education public elementary schools, private schools and YMCA Branch facilities on Oahu, students reflected on how they spend their after school time in their afterschool programs and the activities they enjoy the most and decorating their school cafeterias with Lights on Afterschool color sheets light bulbs. Nearly 7,000 students are enrolled in YMCA A+ afterschool programs.

At the Hawaii State Capitol, afterschool students performed, gave testimonies and sign waved.

A steady stream of afterschool evaluations reveals gains in academic achievement among children in afterschool programs, as well as gains in safety, discipline, attendance and avoiding risky behaviors. In addition, researchers have found that afterschool programs encourage increased parental involvement, an important building block for student success. More than 15 million school-age children – more than one in four kids in the United States – are unsupervised after the school day ends. The parents of 18 million children say they would enroll their kids in afterschool programs – if programs were available.