For hundreds of Hall County and Gainesville children, it’s important to keep the lights on after school.
Many schools do, through after-school programs offered through the school systems or in partnership with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Hall County. On Thursday, Fair Street International Academy held an event to celebrate its partnership with the clubs.
“Today, all over the world at after-school programs across America, is Lights on Afterschool,” said Timeka Brownlee, Fair Street’s club unit director. “It’s a time to showcase what after-school programs are doing in the communities.”
The event was part of a national movement called Lights on Afterschool, a project of the Afterschool Alliance. It is the only nationwide event celebrating after-school programs and their role in keeping kids safe.
At Fair Street, the after-school Boys & Girls Clubs program held an exhibit, inviting parents and members of the community to view some of the benefits of the after-school program.
Brownlee said the 94 students in Fair Street’s program receive after-school academic enrichment, such as keyboarding, art, culinary arts, dance, chorus, chess, science, technology, engineering, math and more. They also get tutoring from some of their Fair Street teachers.
Several students spoke about their favorite things about the program. One boy said it means “that I can get smarter,” while another said simply, “It’s perfect.”
According to the alliance, more than 1 million Americans celebrate at more than 8,000 events nationwide.
This year, the U.S. Senate passed a resolution that recognized Oct. 20 as a day to celebrate Lights On Afterschool.
Gainesville City Council member Barbara Brooks was also present Thursday, with a proclamation from Mayor Danny Dunagan also recognizing the day and “ensuring the lights stay on and the doors stay open after school.”
In a press release, Afterschool Alliance Executive Director Jodi Grant said she is “thrilled” so many people across the country showed their support Thursday for after-school programs.
“After-school programs keep kids safe and healthy and inspire them to learn by helping them discover their passions through fun, educational, hands-on activities,” Grant said. “Unfortunately, however, there aren’t nearly enough after-school programs to meet the need. Our goal is to give every student a safe, enriching place to go after the school day ends.”