A youthful glow was seen on more than one face at the 18th Annual Lights On Afterschool, an annual nationwide rally that highlights the importance of providing afterschool programming for children. The initiative took place last month at 16 sites throughout the city.
“It was a huge hit,” says LaKeitha Givens, the Program Director for YouthQuest,Flint & Genesee County Chamber’s free afterschool program that took part in the initiative.“I was so excited about how well it was received by the community,and how vested everyone was in it.”
Lights On is operated through the Afterschool Alliance,a nonprofit public awareness and advocacy organization that highlights the need for quality afterschool care.It’s an effort that involves the whole community—policy makers, teachers, school administration, families.Working parents rely on schools to offer solid programs so their children can stay occupied, cared for, and safe.
The Charles Stewart Mott Foundation is one of the major supporters of YouthQuest as well as the Afterschool Alliance.
“Having the Mott Foundation on board—our major funder—was fantastic. It wasan all-hands-on-deck effort and just shows how important the afterschool initiative is. The community is highly involved—so manyparents took part this time around, too!” says Givens of the day that had the theme “Shine Bright.”
Although this is the 18th year that the program took place on a national level, YouthQuest has participated in the event for seven years. Approximately 1,300 Flint students had their traditional school day extendedby three hours, during which time they had the chance to take part in numerous activities, likephysical fitness, nutrition, youth development, and leadership training.
Crafted for a Cause, a service learning project that’s part of the Youth Development and Leadership component, was part of the day, giving students a chance to make and sell their own fashion accessories, with the proceeds going to local animal shelters and rescue groups in Genesee County.
To learn more about Lights On Afterschool, visit afterschoolalliance.org/loa.cfm.
For more information about YouthQuest, visit yquest.org.