By Meredith Kelly, MSW Intern
Throughout the week of October 19th, afterschool programs across the state joined GSAN in celebrating the value of quality programs beyond the school day that are so important in shaping the values, relationships, and career decisions of young people with Georgia’s second annual Lights On Afterschool Week. This event, which is part of the Afterschool Alliance’s 16th annual nationwide Lights On Afterschool, calls attention to the importance of afterschool programs and the resources required to keep the lights on and the doors open. In Georgia, over 200 afterschool programs registered celebrations — the 8th most in the nation — making our week long celebration a huge success! Nationally, more than 7,700 programs registered events.
As a part of Georgia’s Lights On Afterschool week, GSAN hosted a community conversation entitled: Beyond the Bell: Developing Leaders Through Afterschool on Tuesday, October 22nd in partnership with Voices for Georgia’s Children and the United Way of Greater Atlanta. Panelists included Bobby Cagle, Director, Georgia Division of Family and Children Services, Dr. Gary May, Dean, College of Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology, Roman Oben, Former NFL Player, Mandy Marable, Curriculum Specialist, Georgia 4-h, and Amy Jacobs, Commissioner, and Pam Stevens, Director of Quality Rated, Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning.
At this event, GSAN released six new fact sheets on afterschool in Georgia including a look at what quality afterschool is, the new Georgia Afterschool & Youth Development (ASYD) standards, demand for afterschool in Georgia, support for afterschool in Georgia, the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) program, and state funding of afterschool. Check them out on GSAN’s resources page.
We love hearing about the fun and exciting ways afterschool programs in Georgia celebrated Lights On Afterschool! Here are a few of Georgia’s highlights that we’ve heard about so far:
- Boys & Girls Clubs of Southeast Georgia hosted a glow party! All of their events on Lights on Afterschool Day included glow sticks and glow in the dark elements. They had a glow dance in the gym and they even had glow in the dark ping-pong balls in the games room!
- Vidalia’s 21st Century Community Learning Center invited parents to visit their sites to join their students in their enrichment classes to live a day in the life of their children. The primary/elementary site had a musical performance and their middle school site showcased a hip hop performance by their dance class.
- STEM in Sports/ BTG Learning held a STEM in sports event in Columbus. Their event focused on situational interest (sports) that leads to the development of individual interest in science and math. Hands-on science and math projects are integrated with basketball to inspire interest in STEM subjects.
- VOX Teen Communications organized Atlanta’s only citywide Teen Index, hearing from teens about their well-being and after-school, reading and technology behaviors. At their Lights On Afterschool event, VOX shared the results of their 2015 survey and engaged the community in conversation about how the data helps afterschool providers better reach and serve teens.
Thanks to all afterschool programs and individuals across the state who joined GSAN and Voices for Georgia’s Children in celebrating the importance of afterschool on Georgia’s youth. Together we can work to ensure quality afterschool for all of Georgia’s youth!