Lawndale, CA, October 26, 2018– Hundreds of children, parents, community members came together on Thursday, October 25th, 2018 at a Lights On Afterschool celebration at all eight Lawndale Elementary School District schools to celebrate the achievements of before and afterschool students and draw attention to the need for more afterschool programs to serve the millions of children nationwide who are unsupervised and at risk each weekday afternoon. The gathering was one of more than 8,000 such events across the nation emphasizing the importance of keeping the lights on and the doors open after school. Families and students celebrated the many benefits of afterschool programs. “The RAP Program has helped my daughter develop social and emotional skills that will help her be successful at school and in life. Also, without the support from RAP, it would be very difficult for me to pick up my daughter when school dismisses because I work until 5 PM,” said Zoila Galindo, RAP parent.
Families that attended RAP’s Lights On Afterschool events participated in activities that develop 21st century skills that included coding, robotics, engineering and the arts. Parents and students discussed the importance of afterschool programs and were able to share the impact Lawndale before and afterschool programs have on their students academic and social development. Organized by the Afterschool Alliance, Lights On Afterschool has been celebrated annually since 2000.
A newly released national poll (http://www.afterschoolalliance.org/research.cfm) illustrates that the high level of support for afterschool shown by those joining Lights On celebrations extends to the overall population. The poll, released in conjunction with Lights On, shows that nearly nine in ten adults (89 percent) say they believe afterschool and summer programs are important to their communities. Yet, demand for afterschool programs continues to far outpace the supply of existing programs. Data from America After 3PM, the research series on afterschool commissioned by the Afterschool Alliance, shows a vast unmet demand for afterschool programs nationwide. In California, almost 2 million children participate in an afterschool program, yet 50% of total students in California would be enrolled if a program were available at their schools. Further, 92 percent of California’s parents are satisfied with their child’s afterschool program, and 90 percent agree that afterschool programs give working parents peace of mind. More work needs to be done to meet the great need for afterschool programs that keep California’s kids safe, inspire them to learn and help working families.
“Lights On Afterschool celebrates the remarkable work being done by students who attend our afterschool programs,” stated Dr. Betsy Hamilton, Superintendent of the Lawndale Elementary School District. “It is a powerful reminder that afterschool programs offer a range of supports to children and families in our community.”
“There's no reason that learning should stop at 3 p.m., particularly if the alternative is unsupervised time in front of a television set, or any of the dangerous or unhealthy behaviors that can ensnare children in the afternoons. Like so many other afterschool programs around the nation, ours is supported by funding from the federal After School Education and Safety (ASES) grant initiative. Since its creation, it has provided funding to allow millions of children to attend afterschool programs. We need to grow this funding stream for afterschool and summer learning programs,” stated Maggie Guillen, RAP Program Manager.
Realizing Amazing Potential (RAP) opened in 1999 with an After School Education and Safety (ASES) grant from the U.S. Department of Education. It now serves 1500 children in Lawndale, providing homework assistance, mentoring, STEM, and clubs in sports, cooking, the arts, journalism, and dozens of other subjects. The program is a collaboration between the Lawndale Elementary School District and other partners within our community.
Lights On Afterschool is organized by the Afterschool Alliance, a nonprofit public awareness and advocacy organization working to ensure that all children have access to quality afterschool programs. More information on the Afterschool Alliance, Lights On Afterschool and America After 3PM is available at www.afterschoolalliance.org.
Realizing Amazing Potential (RAP), offers a range of services and activities, including homework help, visual- and performing-arts classes, physical fitness, organized sports and journalism. The RAP Programs has been the recipient of the Golden Bell Award, which recognizes innovative and sustainable public school programs that make a difference. More information about RAP is available at www.lawndalesd.net/rap.