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National observance highlights afterschool programs and online storybook commemorating student experiences

LatinaLista — After school programs have proven to be a win-win situation for kids, parents and schools. The programs ease the minds of working parents in that they know where their kids are and what they’re doing and they keep the kids busy with both academic and play activities until it’s time to go home.

In fact, research has been done that proves that kids who attend afterschool programs are more likely to stay out of criminal mischief, do better in school and have a higher self-image of themselves. Unfortunately, when it comes to government spending cuts, afterschool programs are some of the ones that suffer Washington’s cost-cutting measures.
One would think if Congress only knew how important afterschool programs are they would think twice before cutting much needed funding. Well, there is one day set aside each year to let Congress and everyone know exactly the full positive impact afterschool programs bring to their local communities.
On Thursday, October 16, is the 9th annual Lights On Afterschool national rally to honor afterschool programs. As in years past, the Empire State Building in New York City will be lit up in yellow just for the event and communities across the nation will be celebrating with their own special observances.
But, unlike years past, there’s something new added to the celebrations this year — an online storybook where people who attended afterschool programs share their experiences.
The Storybook was created to help commemorate the tenth anniversary of the chief federal revenue source for afterschool programs, the 21st Century Community Learning Centers.
The storybook features the stories of people whose lives were impacted in a significant way because of their afterschool programs. Because there are so many people who have taken advantage of afterschool programs, the storybook will grow as more personal stories are added to the site.
By reading firsthand experiences, maybe Congress will understand that afterschool programs do more than babysit kids whose parents work but actually contribute to the development of children in a positive way that gives hope for the future of this country.

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