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Keep Lights On Afterschool to Keep Youth Thriving

by School's Out Washington | | Posted under Afterschool and Summer News, School's Out News

By Sierra Wagner, Expanded Learning Opportunities VISTA

Lights On Afterschool is the national celebration of afterschool, organized by the Afterschool Alliance. Expanded learning opportunities happen during out of school time and support working families, build stronger communities, and engage families. Governor Inslee officially proclaimed October 24th, 2019 as Lights on Afterschool Day, amplifying Washington’s commitment to invest in the education, health and safety of youth.

Children and youth spend only 20% of their waking hours in school, making afterschool and summer learning programs an essential part of youth development. In fact, expanded learning opportunities have proven to help close the opportunity gap at a time when students of color and low-income students are less likely to meet grade level standards and graduate at lower rates than their white and middle to higher income peers.

This year, 17 afterschool sites around the state of Washington took part in the 20th Anniversary of Lights On Afterschool. In Washington, 183,099 K-12 students are enrolled in afterschool but 333,927 are waiting for an available program. That means 217,293 youth are alone and unsupervised after school. High quality expanded learning opportunities support youth by keeping them safe, healthy, happy, and thriving. Afterschool is a unique opportunity for youth to be active, explore career pathways, practice social emotional learning, engage academically, and receive a healthy snack/meal.

You can support expanded learning opportunities by joining the Washington Expanded Learning Opportunities (ELO) Network for free. Join us for Youth Development Advocacy Day 2020 in Olympia, WA and tell our legislators why youth development is important!

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