Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Keeping the Lights On Afterschool for #Families

October 18, 2016

Contact: Toni A. Smith
       301.357.8433 ext. 7001

Keeping the Lights On Afterschool for Families

Landover, MD – On Thursday, October 20, 2016, at William Paca Elementary School children, parents, businesses and community leaders will come together to celebrate Lights On Afterschool. The national celebration is being held to 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. Locally, it is being organized to demonstrate the positive and powerful outcomes of communities working together to support the Prince George’s County Public School System. Lights On Afterschool for Families at William Paca Elementary School will be 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. 

Hosted by community partner In Reach, the Lights On Afterschool for Families celebration will engage students, their families and the community in a number of hands-on and engaging activities to reinforce the importance of afterschool programs. Participants in In Reach’s College and Career Ready 21st Century Community Learning Center’s Afterschool Program and Family Academy will be in for a real treat as the 2016-2017 program kicks off with this event.

Recent data from America After 3PM, the research series on afterschool programs commissioned by the Afterschool Alliance, shows a vast unmet demand for afterschool programs nationwide. In Maryland, 150,112 children participated in an afterschool programs in 2014, only 16%, yet 280,319, or 36%, would be enrolled if a program were available. Further, 87% percent of Maryland’s parents were satisfied with their child’s afterschool program, and 64% percent agreed that afterschool programs give working parents peace of mind for that same year.  More work needs to be done to meet the demand for afterschool programs that keep Maryland’s kids safe, inspire them to learn and help working families. 

In Reach has enjoyed an enriching partnership with the William Paca family for over four years and I am extremely delighted to be able to host this year’s Lights On Afterschool event with such a dynamic principal, Ms. Dorothy Clowers, a cadre of dedicated educators and amazing families. We are all very proud of our afterschool students and families,” said Toni Smith, executive director. 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 Maryland State Department of Education’s 21st Century Community Learning Centers initiative. Since its creation, it has provided funding to allow hundreds of children to attend afterschool. We need to grow this funding stream for afterschool and summer learning programs.


In Reach’s College and Career Ready 21st Century Community Learning Center opened its doors to William Paca Elementary School students and families in 2015 with a 21st Century Community Learning Center grant from the Maryland State Department of Education. The College and Career Ready 21st CCLC serves almost 200 children, providing homework assistance, tutoring, and classes and clubs in sports, reading, and mathematics, and dozens of other subjects at three Prince George’s County Public Schools. For more information about In Reach, visit www.inreachinc.org.

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. Lights On Afterschool has been celebrated annually since 2000. More information on the Afterschool Alliance, Lights On Afterschool and America After 3PM is available at www.afterschoolalliance.org.