Mayors Join Celebration for 8th Annual Lights On Afterschool 2007
By Melissa Grothus
October 8, 2007
Mayors from coast to coast will demonstrate their support of quality afterschool programs October 18 by taking part in Lights On Afterschool, the 8th annual celebration of afterschool programs organized by the Afterschool Alliance. Nationwide, more than one million Americans will attend 7,500 events being organized by communities to showcase the importance of afterschool programs in keeping kids safe, inspiring them to learn and helping working families.
Mayors play an important role in celebrating Lights On Afterschool, with many making a tradition of participating in festivities each October. Mayors have participated in Lights On Afterschool by issuing Lights On Afterschool proclamations, speaking at news conferences and rallies, presenting awards and kicking-off events ranging from open houses to city-wide rallies. Exciting plans are in the works for this year. In Colorado, Boulder Mayor Mark Ruzzin will address guests at an open-air celebration with the city’s afterschool students and leaders. Afterschool students will demonstrate their skills building robots, performing African drumming, singing and dancing. In Iowa, Sioux City Mayor Craig S. Berenstein will call attention to his city’s commitment to afterschool programs by signing a Lights On Afterschool proclamation.
The U.S. Conference of Mayors is a long'standing National Supporting Partner of Lights On Afterschool, and is proud to work with the Afterschool Alliance on this effort. Last year, the event generated media coverage in more than 1,800 newspapers and TV coverage in every major market.
Lights On Afterschool provides a great opportunity to spotlight mayors’ leadership in expanding quality, affordable afterschool programming – an issue that 9 in 10 Americans say is important to support. It’s no surprise why. In the U.S. today, more than 14 million school-age children – including 40,000 kindergarteners – are alone and unsupervised after school when juvenile crime peaks. Youth who do not participate in afterschool programs are three times more likely to use drugs and to skip class. Meanwhile, youth in afterschool programs excel, with studies showing improved grades, school attendance and high school graduation. Providence (RI) Mayor David N. Cicilline states, “The success of our young people depends on being able to be involved in high-quality afterschool programs. These programs enhance their learning and help them grow and develop into future leaders that our city, state and country need.”
Businesses and communities have also noted the bottom line benefits of investing in afterschool programs. Afterschool programs provide opportunities for children to develop the critical thinking and team building skills needed for the 21st century; they also save money. A Brandeis University study estimates that stress and absenteeism among employees without afterschool care costs employers $300 billion a year, with workers on average missing eight additional days of work. A study by Claremont McKenna College concluded that every dollar invested in afterschool programs saves $3 in taxpayer money.
Sample Lights On Afterschool proclamation language can be downloaded online from: http://www.afterschoolalliance.org/lights_on/proc.cfm
To get involved in Lights On Afterschool or find an event in your community, visit http://www.afterschoolalliance.org/lights_on/index.cfm.
The Afterschool Alliance is a nonprofit organization working to ensure that all children and youth have access to quality, affordable afterschool programs. For more information visit the website www.afterschoolalliance.org.