In October, 2016 over 10 Montana afterschool programs celebrated the Afterschool Alliance's nationwide Lights On Afterschool! campaign by hosting events across the state. Highlights include:
Governor Steve Bullock visited Greater Gallatin United Way kidsLINK Afterschool's event with about 45 Bozeman school children. Events for the day focused on nutritional education, including making a kale salad and learning about the negative impacts of too much sugar. The Bozeman Daily Chronicle featured the Governor's visit to this event at Hyalite Elementary.
Libby Elementary Afterscool Program hosted a Lights On Family Night. Students helped prepare an evening meal for their families, decorated for the event and assembled math game packets. Seventy guests attended. Libby will also be hosting a free Lights On Halloween event on October 31, including Trunk or Treat, a Haunted House, outside games with prizes and refreshments. More than 300 participants are expected to attend
The Helena Family YMCA hosted a Lights On event on October 13, 2016. In preparation, Helena middle schoolers addressed invitations to Montana political leaders. Bryant elementary schoolers practiced introducing themselves and inviting guests to join them in activities. Together the students prepared kale chips and decorated cookies for the event. During the event families sampled the snacks made by the students and colored a light bulb to be sent to Montana's legislature to show Helena's support for afterschool funding. A record number of Bryant families attended, totaling 40 students and 25 caretakers.
Although over 18,000 Montana children attend programs after the school day ends, there is still more work to be done to meet the great need for afterschool programs that keep Montana’s kids safe, inspire them to learn and help working families. Of Montana children not enrolled in afterschool programs, 38% (49,273) would if a program were available.
“Afterschool programs keep kids safe, help working families and inspire learning. They provide opportunities to help young people develop into successful adults. MTAA promotes Lights On Afterschool!, a project of the Afterschool Alliance, to demonstrate our dedication to ensuring that all children have access to quality, affordable afterschool programs,” says Jan Lombardi, MTAA Steering Council Past President and Executive Committee member.
Thank you to all the Montana afterschool programs who hosted events for Lights On Afterschool! We hope you will join us next year in celebrating the importance of keeping students safe after school!