This week, as the nation rallies for Lights On Afterschool for the 22nd consecutive year, landmarks across the country are lighting up in yellow and blue to support the afterschool programs that keep kids safe, inspire them to learn, and give working parents peace of mind that their children are safe and supervised after the school day ends. Lights On Afterschool this year will include thousands of events, some in-person and some virtual, showcasing the skills and talents students gain in their afterschool programs, as well as the many ways these programs are stepping up to support students and families in the pandemic.
Organized by the Afterschool Alliance, Lights On Afterschool is America’s only national rally for afterschool programs. Among the many landmarks lighting up for Lights On Afterschool:
In New York City, the Empire State Building will light up in blue and yellow beginning at sunset on Thursday, October 28.
In Alabama, the RSA Building in Birmingham (tallest in the city); and in Mobile, the RSA Battle House Tower (tallest in the state).
In Louisiana, the Caesars Superdome in New Orleans.
In Massachusetts, the South Street Station in Boston, the city’s busiest transit hub.
In Ohio, the LeVeque Tower in Columbus (second tallest in the city).
In South Dakota, the World’s Only Corn Palace in Mitchell.
In West Virginia, the Charleston Coliseum and Convention Center.
The Afterschool Alliance organizes Lights On Afterschool to underscore the need to invest in afterschool programs, which in normal times provide help with homework; skilled mentors; art, dance and music; healthy snacks and meals; computer programming; opportunities to think critically, collaborate and communicate with peers and adults; job and college readiness; sports and fitness activities; robotics; and opportunities for hands-on, team-based learning. During the pandemic, afterschool and summer learning programs have stepped up to expand their hours and services, provide in-person and virtual educational activities, support students during remote learning, deliver meals and enrichment kits, check in to ensure children’s social and emotional needs are being met, connect families to social services, and much more.
The most recent America After 3PM household survey of more than 31,000 families, commissioned by the Afterschool Alliance, finds that for every child in an afterschool program in the United States, three more are waiting to get in. The families of 24.6 million children — more than ever before — are unable to access a program. Many report cost as a barrier. There are significant inequities, with Black and Latinx children unable to access the afterschool programs their parents want for them.
BellXcel, Capital One, and Clear Channel Outdoor are generous sponsors of Lights On Afterschool this year.