Community Support Needed For After-School Programs For Youth
Actor and children’s activist Arnold Schwarzenegger will be the honorary chair of the third annual Lights On Afterschool! on Thursday, October 10th.  On that day, parents, students, educators, neighbors, community leaders and policy makers across the country will come together to rally for the after-school programs that keep kids safe and healthy, improve academic achievement and help working families.
“Lights On Afterschool! is a perfect opportunity for Americans to show their support for after-school programs,” Schwarzenegger said.  “On October 10th, at 5,000 events across the country, Americans will send the message that families all over the nation need quality after-school programs.  I am proud to serve as National Chair of this important event.  Lights On Afterschool! is about keeping our kids safe and helping them succeed in school and in life.”
Dozens of organizations that represent the interests of children are participating in Lights On Afterschool!  Partners include America’s Promise; the American Federation of Teachers; Reading is Fundamental; the National Association of Counties; the Council of Chief School Officers; the National Recreation and Park Association; and leading after-school providers including Boys & Girls Clubs of America, 4-H, Junior Achievement and YMCA of the USA.  The Boys & Girls Clubs of Manhattan will participate on the local level.
The Afterschool Alliance is a nonprofit public awareness and advocacy organization supported by a group of public, private, and nonprofit entities dedicated to ensuring that all children and youth have access to after-school programs by 2010.  The Alliance is proud to count among its founding partners the C.S. Mott Foundation, U.S. Department of Education, JCPenney Afterschool, Open Society Institute/The After-School Corporation, the Entertainment Industry Foundation and the Creative Artists Agency Foundation.  JCPenney Afterschool is the national presenting sponsor of Lights On Afterschool!
JCPenney Afterschool is committed to providing children with high-quality, affordable after-school programs to help them reach their full potential.  JCPenney Afterschool is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization providing financial and volunteer support to five of America’s leading after-school advocates - the YMCA of the USA, the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, 4-H, Junior Achievement and the Afterschool Alliance.  This support helps provide safe, fun and educational after-school programs and raises awareness of the need for more such programs across the country.
“Lights On Afterschool! celebrates the wonderful work being done in our after-school programs,” said J.J. McCowan, JCPenney Afterschool Coach.  “It reminds us of the great services these programs provide - keeping our children safe, helping them learn, and relieving working parents of worries about their children’s afternoons.”
“Unfortunately, too many kids are still home alone in the afternoons, or out on the streets where they can become involved in crime. And to make matters worse, funding shortages are forcing programs to cut back instead of increasing the number of youth served,” said Barb Allen, Executive Director, Boys & Girls Clubs of Manhattan.
Lights On Afterschool! is a nationwide event to recognize the critical importance of quality after-school programs in the lives of children, their families and their communities. It is a project of the Afterschool Alliance and National Presenting Sponsor JCPenney Afterschool.  The Boys & Girls Clubs of Manhattan will celebrate Lights On Afterschool! on Thursday, October 10th during their regular after-school programs at 305 S. Fourth Street and Northview Elementary School.  Everyone in the community is invited to stop by either location between 3:30 and 5:30 p.m. to learn more about our positive programs for youth.  More information on the Alliance and Lights On Afterschool! is available at