Kam Kyzer of Boys & Girls Clubs of the CSRA announced that BGC will partner with the Afterschool Alliance and dozens of other national organizations on Oct. 20 to organize more than 7,500 rallies around the country in support of afterschool programs. The 10th annual Lights on Afterschool will be the largest nationwide rally for afterschool ever held.
Entering its 60th year of service to the youth of the CSRA, BGC has touched the lives of many young people. With a mission to inspire and enable all young people to become productive, caring, responsible citizens, BGC is the afterschool destination for nearly 600 children each day. There are six clubs in Augusta and Thomson serving youths ages 6 - 18.
"We are delighted to join these rallies, which are sending a powerful message about the urgent need for more afterschool programs," Kyzer said. "We've arrived at a critical juncture. The unmet need for afterschool programs is enormous, and funding is tight. Too many afterschool programs have been forced to cut back hours or services, or close entirely, because of inadequate budgets at the federal, state and local levels. With Lights On Afterschool, Americans are saying they want the lights on after school for our kids."
Afterschool Alliance Executive Director Jodi Grant welcomed BGC's support. "We're grateful to be partnering with BGC. They have a proven track record of changing lives through academic, personal and athletic development, and they make Lights On Afterschool even stronger. We share with BGC the conviction that afterschool programs are essential because they inspire children to learn, keep them safe and help working families. On Oct. 20, we'll join together with thousands of other organizations and more than a million Americans in speaking out for afterschool programs."
Still, funding has not kept up with demand, and more than 15 million children are alone and supervised after the school day ends.
Lights On Afterschool was launched in October 2000 with celebrations in more than 1,200 communities nationwide. The event grew in 2001 to more than 3,600 events and more than 7,500 in 2009. This October, more than one million Americans will celebrate Lights On Afterschool across the United States and at military bases around the world.
Boys & Girls Clubs of the CSRA provides afterschool programming to more than 1,600 local children. Committed to comprehensive youth development, BGC engages its members in activities to enhance their school experience, improve their physical development and grow into responsible citizens. Through guided activities and the development of close relationships with caring mentors and staff, the club members exhibit overwhelming improved school performance and attendance, the adoption of healthier lifestyles, and a sense of belonging in the community.