Governor Bill Haslam has named October 17th as Lights On Afterschool Day in Tennessee to recognize the state’s afterschool programs’ role in enhancing learning and keeping children safe and less likely to engage in risky behavior. The proclamation, which was requested by the Tennessee Commission on Children and Youth (TCCY), marks the 14th annual national Lights On Afterschool Day. Afterschool programs across the state are participating in the national event organized by the Afterschool Alliance this month. Events include open houses, student art projects and performances, and festivals.
In his proclamation, the governor said afterschool programs “build stronger communities by involving our students, parents, business leaders and adult volunteers in the lives of our young people, thereby promoting positive relationships among children, youth, families and adults.”
Nearly 300,000 Tennessee K-12 students – almost enough to fill the University of Tennessee’s Neyland Stadium three times – are responsible for taking care of themselves after school. While only one of every eight Tennessee students participates in an afterschool program, many more likely would if programs were available. More information about afterschool programs in Tennessee is available at http://www.afterschoolalliance.org/policyStateFacts.cfm?state_abbr=TN.
Among Tennessee observances of Lights On Afterschool was a Youth Leadership Retreat sponsored by Nashville After Zone Alliance (NAZA), a partnership of public and private agencies. Backfield In Motion, Inc., a Nashville community-based organization that combines academics and athletics/recreation to inspire inner-city boys, held a rally earlier this month in observance of Lights On Afterschool. NAZA was launched by Nashville Mayor Karl Dean, who serves on the national board of the Afterschool Alliance.
Some programs will be asking parents and others to sign petitions supporting continued funding for afterschool programs to assure their ongoing success in improving student performance, attendance, social skills, emotional control and engagement with school.
Tennesseans may find information about other local Lights On Afterschool events online at http://www.afterschoolalliance.org/loa.cfm by clicking on the “Find An Event” tab or by contacting TCCY. (A preliminary list is attached.)
The Tennessee Commission on Children and Youth is a small state agency created by the Tennessee General Assembly. Its primary mission is to advocate for improvements in the quality of life for Tennessee children and families.
State of Tennessee Commission on Children and Youth