Last Tuesday, students in the Bigfork ACES and Bigfork Playhouse Children’s Theatre afterschool programs celebrated Lights On Afterschool with Montana Governor Steve Bullock. The event included cookie decorating, choir performances, and a student-led tour of the facility, according to the Daily Inter Lake. Bigfork ACES provides about 500 students with academic support, socialization and meals during the afterschool hours. “Both my wife and I, we couldn’t [have] made it without a solid after-school program,” Bullock said. “What ACES does is provides those opportunities for parents, provides an enriching environment where kids can play, learn and hopefully enjoy yourselves and is a fun place to go after school.”
The Boys & Girls Club of Western Nevada hosted a Lights On Afterschool event last Thursday that featured students building structures and sculptures with different materials and science experiments. “Every time I come out here, I just get a good feeling in my heart,” Carson City Mayor Bob Crowell told KTVN. “I get a feeling that kids are on the road to making good choices, I get a feeling that there’s hope for these young kids.” Director of Operations for the Boys & Girls Club of Western Nevada and Afterschool Ambassador Matt Sampson encouraged people to call their elected officials to show support for afterschool programs and to volunteer at the Boys & Girls Club to make a difference.
The Ponchatoula Community Center celebrated Lights On Afterschool last Thursday with Louisiana First Lady and former educator Donna Edwards. Edwards toured the center and told the Hammond Daily Star, “More than 140,000 Louisiana children return home to an empty house while their parents are working hard to provide for their family. How a child spends those few hours from when school ends and when a parent typically comes home is very important.” Students also worked with artist Kim Zabbia to create “Stars of Hope” to send to hurricane victims in Texas and Florida.
Nazareth College student Kaitlyn Kinney and Rochester Department of Recreation and Youth Services mentor Kirmani Scott celebrated the Nazareth College Community Youth Development’s Lights On Afterschool event and mentors in an op-ed for the Democrat & Chronicle: “Without the guidance and mentoring of youth workers during our academic service-learning and internship experience at their agencies, there could not be a true sense of ‘community’ in Community Youth Developments…. Mentors show us the importance of positive youth-adult relationships in order to change behavior and maybe change lives…. We are in awe of their passion, persistence and sense of purpose for the youth in Rochester – lessons that could not be easily learned from a book or in a classroom.”