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Avondale Mayor Proclaims Oct. 24 2019 as Keeping the Lights On After School Day in support of Afterschool for All

Post Date:10/22/2019

Avondale PublicInformationOfficeLongLogo                                                Media Release


For immediate release: October 22, 2019

Avondale Mayor Proclaims Oct. 24 2019 as Keeping the Lights On After School Day in support of Afterschool for All

The City of Avondale pledged its support for Lights On Afterschool, a national awareness program 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. More than 8,000 events are planned across the nation, with the purpose of emphasizing the importance of keeping the lights on and the doors open after school, celebrating the many benefits of afterschool programs, and encouraging lawmakers, businesses and others to support afterschool funding.

Organized by the Afterschool Alliance, Lights On Afterschool has been celebrated annually since 2000.  A newly released national poll illustrates that the high level of support for afterschool shown by those joining Lights On celebrations extends to the overall population. The poll, released in conjunction with Lights On, shows that nearly nine in ten adults (89 percent) say they believe afterschool and summer programs are important to their communities. The poll also finds strong backing of public funding for afterschool and summer learning programs, with two in three adults saying they want their federal, state and local leaders to provide funding for afterschool and summer programs.

Yet, demand for afterschool programs continues to far outpace the supply of existing programs. Data from America After 3PM, the research series on afterschool commissioned by the Afterschool Alliance, shows a vast unmet demand for afterschool programs nationwide. More work needs to be done to meet the great need for afterschool programs that keep kids safe, inspire them to learn and help working families.

In Avondale, Mayor Kenn Weise has proclaimed Oct. 24, 2019 as Keeping the Lights On after School Day in the city.

“As a Kids At Hope City, Avondale understands the importance of after school programs and safe places for our kids to go after the school,” said Mayor Weise. “That is why we have committed funding for programs at our city libraries, as well as forged vital partnerships with the local Boys & Girls Club to ensure that we’re providing opportunities for all kids to succeed, no exceptions.”  

In Avondale, the Boys and Girls Club Tri-City West Thornwood Branch has nearly 800 youth registered, with an average of 175 kids attending on an average day. Youth receive hot meals, snacks, and participate in dental clinics offered twice a year.

Said Evelyn McNeill, the Tri-City West Thornwood Branch Director, “The Boys and Girls Club provides after school opportunities to our youth that result in improved high school graduation rates, a decline in juvenile criminal activity, and reduced levels in underage drinking and teenage pregnancy. I am so proud of what we do as an organization.”

McNeill pointed out that in addition to the benefits to youth, 94 percent of parents said the Club enabled them to keep their job, knowing that their children had a safe space to go after school.

Christopher Lopez, Neighborhood & Family Services Director, said that the city’s library programs are aimed at providing after school activities that are both educational and character building. Activities such as Soulful Expressions Open Mic Night encourage young poets, musicians and dancers to showcase their talents, while Teen Volunteer Wednesdays encourage teens to volunteer at the library with the goal of meeting new friends, learn valuable work skills and earn volunteer hours for schools. ‘More to Explore’ for youth provides different activities centered around learning, exploration, creatively and self-discovery.

 “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,” he said.  “In addition to the programs offered through our libraries, the City of Avondale provides out of school time programing to promote workforce readiness, leadership, volunteerism and civic engagement.”

City of Avondale, through both the Civic Center Library and the Sam Garcia Library offer program options, with no cost, on various week days.  Teens can volunteer Wednesdays, 3-5p.m. at Civic Center Library and/or at the Sam Garcia Library on the first Tuesdays of the month. ‘More to Explore’, for youth ages 6 -11, is offered Wednesdays 4p.m. at Civic Center Library, and on Wednesdays at 2 p.m. at the Sam Garcia Library. Soulful Expression Open Mic Nights are open to teens once a month, at the Civic Center Library, details posted online.

For more information of programs offered at either of the City Libraries, visit www.avondalelibrary.org or call 623-333-2665.  Avondale Civic Center Library is located at 11350 W. Civic Center Dr. Avondale, AZ 85323; Sam Garcia Western Avenue Library is at 495 E. Western Ave. Avondale, AZ 85323.  For more information on the local Boys and Girls Club, visit www.bycmp.org , the Tri-City West Thornwood Branch is located at 301 E. Western Ave. Avondale, AZ 85323.

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. More information on the Afterschool Alliance, Lights On Afterschool and America After 3PM is available at www.afterschoolalliance.org.

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