Tennessee Governor proclaims Oct. 22nd “Lights On Afterschool Day”

Lights On Afterschool October 22, 2015Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam has named October 22nd as “Lights On Afterschool Day” in Tennessee to recognize the role of afterschool programs in enhancing learning and keeping children safe and less likely to engage in risky behavior. The proclamation was requested by the Tennessee Commission on Children and Youth, a Steering Committee member of the Tennessee Afterschool Network.

In his proclamation, the governor said, “Afterschool programs provide safe, challenging and engaging learning experiences that help children develop social, emotional, physical and academic skills.” He further noted that “afterschool programs also support working families by ensuring their children are safe and productive after the regular school day ends; build stronger communities by involving students, parents, business leaders and adult volunteers in the lives of young people, thereby promoting positive relationships among youth, families and adults.”

More than 170,000 Tennessee students are responsible for taking care of themselves after school, and nearly 264,000 students would participate if programming were available. More information about afterschool programs in Tennessee can be found at www.tnafterschool.org

On October 22nd, children, parents and business and community leaders across Tennessee will come together to celebrate the achievements of afterschool students and programming. There will be events in other states, as well, as Lights On is a national event organized by the Afterschool Alliance. More than one million people will be rallying, and afterschool programs will be holding be open houses, student art projects and performances, and festivals across the country.

“The Lights On events in Tennessee celebrate the remarkable work being done by students who attend our afterschool programs. It is a powerful reminder that afterschool programs offer a range of supports to children and families,” said Mary Graham, President of United Ways of Tennessee and the staff lead for the Tennessee Afterschool Network. “Research shows that students participating in high-quality afterschool programs have better school attendance, grades and standard test performance compared to students who do not participate. They also have less misconduct and lower rates of drug and alcohol use. Tennessee doesn’t have enough programs, and too many youths are home alone. The Tennessee Afterschool Network is committed to ensuring that in the near future, every child in our state who needs an afterschool program has one,” said Graham.

To find a Lights On event near you, visit http://www.afterschoolalliance.org/loaFindEvent.cfm

The Tennessee Afterschool Network (visit www.tnafterschool.org ) brings together a diverse group of stakeholders to advocate for and support afterschool programs, especially those that provide services to at-risk children and youth. The Network is made possible through a grant from the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, United Ways of Tennessee, and the United Ways of Bradley County, Greater Chattanooga, Greater Kingsport, Greater Knoxville, Mid-South (greater Memphis area), Rutherford and Cannon Counties, West Tennessee and Williamson County.

Lights On Afterschool is organized by the Afterschool Alliance (visit www.aferschoolalliance.org ), a nonprofit public awareness and advocacy organization working to ensure that all children have access to quality afterschool programs.

For more information, please contact:
Mary Graham
Tennessee Afterschool Network
615-495-9970 or 615-791-1464
mary.graham@uwtn.org

(Note: This post comes to us from the Tennessee Afterschool Network)

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