Launched in October 2000, Lights On Afterschool is the only nationwide event celebrating afterschool programs and their important role in the lives of children, families and communities. The effort has become a hallmark of the afterschool movement and generates media coverage across the country each year.
The Afterschool Alliance’s 2014 America After 3 PM report recently ranked Arizona 6th in the nation for youth participation in and parent satisfaction with afterschool programming statewide, giving Arizona much to celebrate this year.
- 178,554 children in Arizona participate in an afterschool program
- And another 318,223 would be enrolled in a program if one were available to them.
- The 6.79 hours average time per week Arizona youth spend in afterschool programs exceed the 5.64 hours average time youth are left unsupervised afterschool
High parental satisfaction with and support for quality afterschool programs are also reasons to celebrate.
- 97% of Arizona parents are satisfied with their child’s afterschool program
- 72% of Arizona parents agree that afterschool program can help excite youth about learning, and
- 71% of Arizona parents agree that afterschool programs help youth gain workforce skills, such as teamwork, leadership and critical thinking.
A year ago, the Arizona Center for Afterschool Excellence and the Valley of the Sun United Way developed and published Arizona’s Quality Standards for Out-of-School Time Programs making Arizona the 34th state in the nation to have standards creating expectations for what quality in afterschool should look like. In the year since the Arizona Quality Standards were first released, 500 afterschool program sites statewide signed the Make It Count Pledge committing to using the Quality Standards to strengthen the delivery of services in those programs.
For more information about how quality afterschool programs enrich children’s lives, bring a new relevancy to what is taught in the classroom and foster reiliciency in youth, we encourage you to go to AzAfterschool.org or contact the Arizona Center for Afterschool Excellence at 480.730.7126.
Melanie McClintock is the Executive Director of the Arizona Center for Afterschool Excellence.
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