Billboards Around the Nation Will Illuminate the Vast Contributions
Afterschool Programs are Making to Students and Families in the Pandemic
WASHINGTON, — Afterschool supporters led by the Afterschool Alliance, the National League of Cities, and the National Summer Learning Association are joining with Clear Channel Outdoor (NYSE: CCO) to launch a visibility campaign across more than 2,000 digital billboards around the country as part of this year’s Lights On Afterschool rally. The ads recognize afterschool programs for doing extraordinary work to support youth and families during the COVID-19 pandemic, from keeping students safe and learning while schools are closed, to addressing children’s social and emotional needs, to providing meals and other supports to students and families in need.
Now in its 22nd year, Lights On Afterschool is the only national rally for afterschool programs. Throughout October, and leading up to October 28, when the official Lights On Afterschool rally will take place, people across the country are joining in virtual and in-person afterschool program events focused on academics, science and technology, arts and music, sports and fitness, community service, and more. The events send the message that demand for afterschool programs is high, too many students are without programs, and the pandemic has increased the need.
In fact, the most recent America After 3PM household survey of more than 31,000 families, commissioned by the Afterschool Alliance, finds that for every child in an afterschool program in the United States, three more are waiting to get in. The families of 24.6 million children — more than ever before — are unable to access a program. Many report cost as a barrier. There are significant inequities, with Black and Latinx children most likely to be unable to access the afterschool programs their parents want for them.
Lights On Afterschool serves as a reminder that a powerful body of evidence demonstrates improvements in grades, school attendance, behavior, and more among children who participate in afterschool programs. Researchers have also found that students in afterschool programs are more engaged in school and excited about learning and develop critical work and life skills such as problem solving, teamwork, and communications.
Organized by the Afterschool Alliance, Lights On Afterschool includes virtual events organized by schools, 4-Hs, Boys & Girls Clubs, YMCAs, cities, parks, museums, community centers, and others. Events this year will showcase the skills students gain and the talents they develop in their afterschool programs, which provide help with homework; skilled mentors; art, dance and music; healthy snacks and meals; computer programming; opportunities to think critically, collaborate and communicate with peers and adults; job and college readiness; sports and fitness activities; robotics; and opportunities for hands-on, team-based learning.
Clear Channel Outdoor is supporting Lights On Afterschool by donating some of its most prominent space to display afterschool messages on digital billboards, bus shelters, and poster spaces in 25 markets around the country throughout the month of October. Throughout the week of October 25, Clear Channel will feature afterschool messages on two jumbo billboards in New York City’s Times Square and will bathe Boston’s South Street Station in blue and yellow on October 28th in honor of Lights On Afterschool, complementing a similar lighting of the iconic Empire State Building that week. Supporters also will be lighting up local landmarks and buildings across the country to show their support for afterschool programs.
“Quality afterschool programs keep kids safe, inspire them to learn, and give working parents peace of mind that their children are safe and supervised after the school day ends. Clear Channel Outdoor’s support helps recognize the tremendous work afterschool program leaders and staff members are doing to support kids and families during these challenging times.
Programs are rising to the moment, and we need to help them keep their lights on and doors open,” said Afterschool Alliance Executive Director Jodi Grant.
“The National League of Cities is proud to celebrate and uplift Lights On Afterschool. Local elected officials have long been champions of afterschool programming and the positive impact these programs have on young people, their families and communities every day,” said NLC CEO and Executive Director Clarence E. Anthony. “Over the last year, city leaders have deeply relied on these programs to feed children, keep them safe and active, provide learning and enrichment opportunities, and support working families. That’s why NLC is excited to partner with the Afterschool Alliance to encourage mayors to light up their city halls or city landmarks or issue a proclamation in honor of Lights On Afterschool.”
“Our nation’s afterschool and summer programs can change the trajectory of a young person’s life and spark passion, purpose and new possibilities for student growth, healing and engaged learning. The National Summer Learning Association is proud to celebrate Lights On Afterschool as these community programs are essential to America’s recovery and our children’s future,” said Aaron P. Dworkin, CEO, National Summer Learning Association.
The Afterschool Alliance is a nonprofit public awareness and advocacy organization working to ensure that all children and youth have access to quality afterschool programs. More information is available at www.afterschoolalliance.org.
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