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4,000 Youth Enrichment Program (YEP!) Students Rally to Keep the

Lights On Afterschool through Celebrations

Hundreds Join Call for 'Afterschool for All'


Hayward, CA – Hundreds of children, parents, business and community leaders in Hayward will come together on October 20, 2016 for community celebrations of Lights On Afterschool.  Events will take place at all 29 schools sites across the Hayward Unified School District to celebrate the achievements of afterschool students and draw attention to the need for more afterschool programs to serve the millions of children nationwide who are unsupervised and at risk each weekday afternoon.


The gathering was one of more than 8,000 such events across the nation emphasizing the importance of keeping the lights on and the doors open after school. Speakers at the rally celebrated the many benefits of afterschool programs, and encouraged lawmakers, businesses and other to support afterschool funding.


Participants in the YEP's Lights On Afterschool event will engage in a variety of activities including, a Veggie Party, a Fitness Event, and an Information Booth.  Some students will write messages to the next president ahead of the upcoming election, while principals, parents and students discuss the importance of afterschool programs.  Organized by the Afterschool Alliance, Lights On Afterschool has been celebrated annually since 2000.  This year, more than one million Americans took part in the only nationwide rally for afterschool programs.


Recent data from America After 3PM, the research series on afterschool programs commissioned by the Afterschool Alliance, shows a vast unmet demand for afterschool programs nationwide. In California, 25% (1,661,374) of California's children participate in an afterschool program, yet 49% (2,435,254) of California’s children would be enrolled if a program were available. Further, 90% percent of California’s parents are satisfied with their child’s afterschool program, and 80% percent agree that afterschool programs give working parents peace of mind.  More work needs to be done to meet the great need for afterschool programs that keep California kids safe, inspire them to learn and help working families.

In March, the Afterschool Alliance released a new report on the state of afterschool programs in rural America. Drawing on data from America After 3PM, the report found widespread support for afterschool, with 85 percent of parents saying they are satisfied with their child's program. However, for every child in a program, three are waiting to become available. That's 3.1 million children in rural communities who still wait to access the benefits of an afterschool program.


Lights On Afterschool is organized by the Afterschool Alliance, a nonprofit public awareness and advocacy organization working to ensure that all children have access to quality afterschool programs. More information on the Afterschool Alliance, Lights On Afterschool and America After 3PM is available at www.afterschoolalliance.org.


After school programs are an extraordinary part of a child's journey in life,” says Lisa Brunner, Board President for the Hayward Unified School District.  “It is a powerful reminder that afterschool programs offer a range of supports to children and families. Unfortunately, we don’t have enough afterschool programs, and too many kids are home alone in the afternoons or on the streets where they can be exposed to crime or at-risk. We must open more programs and make sure lawmakers invest more in afterschool. I am personally committed to doing all I can to ensure that, in the very near future, every Made in Hayward child who needs an afterschool program has one.”


“We are all very proud of our Made in Hayward afterschool students and staff,” said Christy Gerren, Director of Student and Parent Support Programs.  “There's no reason that learning should stop at 3 p.m., particularly if the alternative is unsupervised time in front of a television set, or any of the dangerous or unhealthy behaviors that can ensnare children in the afternoons. Like so many other afterschool programs around the nation, ours is supported by grant funding from the After School Education & Safety (ASES) and the federal 21st Century Community Learning Centers initiative including the 21 Century High School After School Safety Initiative. Since its creation, it has provided funding to allow millions of children to attend after school.  We need to grow this funding stream for afterschool and summer learning programs.”


About the Youth Enrichment Program (YEP)

The Youth Enrichment Program (YEP) is a collaborative effort between the Hayward Unified School District (HUSD) and The City of Hayward. The Hayward Public Agency Liaison Committee originated the initial concept for the program in January 1996. There are 29 sites serving elementary, middle and high school students in the district. Last school year the programs served over 4,000 students from K thru 12th grade. The students participated in: educational, literacy, enrichment and recreational programs.  (Additional information can be added or removed this was captured from the YEP webpage) The mission of the YEP is to use the resources, energy and talents of the entire Hayward community to provide enrichment activities for our youth and to create a safe environment for children to interact and learn.  http://www.husd.us/husdyep



By Aaron PeroPublished: October 3, 2016, 12:02 pm


(KRON) KRON4’s is proud to honor E. Ronnie Cato as our teacher of the week for October 3, 2016.

Cato teaches high school music grades 9-12 in Hayward.



Here is the winning nomination:

Why are you nominating this educator?: Mr.Cato is an extraordinary, outgoing, and most talented teacher because he inspires to continue with Music and do bigger thing in life. I would say that this man changed my life and he helped me become a grown woman I am today. I have a very hard time focusing and I always think I’m useless because of the family problems I’m going through but this man is the only one who never stopped believing in me, stood by my side, and pushed me to be better. He keeps motivating me and he helps me with everything. He’s the teacher who I can tell everything, vent on, and he’s like my 2nd father figure. Music makes me feel better because I know that’s the only way I can express my feelings,emotions and make other people happy. Mr.Cato teaches elementary and high school students and he’s very hardworking. He always believed in me even though my parents does not appreciate my passion for music. Mr. E Ronnie Cato is one of a kind, caring, kind, entertaining, funny, smart, and talented.



Photo by Ria Lancaster/Contributor


Kali Persall
Managing Editor
September 21, 2016


When the sun sets over the Hayward Hills, the majority of people head home from work, cook dinner and settle in for the night, but not artist Andrew Kong Knight.

At nightfall, the Hayward native can often be found dressed in his painting “uniform,” consisting of a sun visor, headphones and paint-spattered clothes perched precariously 30-40 feet high on scaffolding while he transforms the side of an ordinary building into a work of art.


Knight sometimes works through the night, illuminated by artificial light, to create the unique murals that adorn utility boxes and the sides of movie theaters throughout Hayward.

“I guess it’s my obsessive compulsive disorder,” joked Knight. “In the mural world there’s not as many people out at night, it’s more peaceful and it’s quieter and I can really go in my zone.”

Knight, a graduate of the San Francisco Art Institute, has established himself as an esteemed artist in the Bay Area. When he’s not teaching art at Hayward High School, a position he has held for the past 20 years, he’s painting murals on commission with the city’s Mural Art Program, which commissioned over a dozen artists last year, not including subcontractors and volunteers.

Knight has produced an estimated 50 commissioned pieces for the city of Hayward in the past eight years. One of his most recent creations is the “Faces of Hayward” series, comprised of 25 individual mural portraits that feature ordinary people who live and work in Hayward. The pieces are scattered throughout the city.

Stacey Bristow, deputy director of development services for the city of Hayward, said that the project launched in April 2009 with the goal of discouraging graffiti vandalism in Hayward. Bristow shared that there is an underground respect for art, and the murals have already made a difference. Roughly 98 percent of the time murals are installed, they aren’t tagged.


Historically, a federal grant and redevelopment funds covered the program; however, funding sources are changing and the city has been funding them through a variety of resources, including capital projects, grants and sales tax measures. The program is looking to transition to a primarily grant-based funding system in the future.

There are roughly 160 murals in Hayward, which equals 150,000 square feet of art, according to Bristow. The Mural Project states that commercial buildings, schools, utility boxes, fire hydrants, benches, underpasses and sidewalk fixtures are fair game.

The largest mural in the “Faces of Hayward” series, titled “One Love, One Family: Faces of Hayward, CA,” located next to Firestone Tires at the corner of Fletcher Ln., facing Mission Blvd., features 17 portraits. He calls it “the mother,” or headquarters of the series.


Each portrait is strikingly unique and true to the individual, yet they all have something in common: each subject has a strong connection to Hayward and embodies diversity through their ages, genders and ethnicities.


Hayward is the sixth largest city in the Bay Area, with 150,000 residents, according to City of Hayward data. Hayward was ranked the second most racially and ethnically diverse city in the U.S. by the Census Bureau in 2005 and has maintained this reputation over the past decade, a classification that Knight finds inspirational.

Knight visits local organizations and events, and consults his students for suggestions when looking for subjects for the portrait series. He focuses on choosing people of different ages, genders and ethnicities to represent the city’s rich culture. Knight likens the process to that of a casting director in a movie. He prefers to meet his subjects in person so he can get to know their personalities firsthand, which is reflected in his art. He works primarily off of photographs, rather than in-person sittings.

“I try to capture their spirit,” he said. “I try to capture a certain joy in everyone. You know like when someone smiles, you smile; when someone laughs, you laugh.” Knight hopes to inspire positive feelings in those who view his art.


Knight also considers his pieces to be education tools and conversation starters. For example, the 3,500 square feet. “Hayward Gateway Mural,” located at Foothill Blvd. and City Center Dr. across from the abandoned Mervyn’s building, transports viewers into the lesser-seen rolling hills and grassy marshlands of the city. This is the largest mural in Hayward and was Knight’s first. It took him a year to complete.


The 1920s art deco style “Hayward Meets Hollywood” mural adorning the Cinema Place Parking Structure at the corner of Foothill Blvd and C St. has also sparked curiosity about some of the buildings that appear in the background of the painting, such as the All Saints Church and the new and old city halls.

An extensive process accompanies each mural. It includes laying base colors, drawing out designs, painting and varnishing. The painting alone can take as little as a day and as long as a week and the entire thing can take years to fully complete.

Knight works primarily with acrylic or oil paints and his style is often monochromatic. He shared that the use of one tone is not only easier to paint, but it also serves as a social statement. “It doesn’t matter what color we are, I’ll paint you in green or blue,” said Knight. Sepia paintings are his favorite because they look rich, like an old photograph, and emit a golden hue.


Knight says that placement is another important element of his creations: the style of mural should speak to the architecture around it. “I think you can’t help it as an artist–you can’t help but have a style,” he said. “If you have everyone in a room drawing an apple, everyone’s gonna draw it their own way.”


Knight doesn’t shy from dipping his toes into different art mediums. He is currently working on his first tile mosaic — a 6-foot piece — with students from Hayward High at the Highland Villas situated just behind the East Bay campus on Hayward Blvd.


The mosaic will feature icons specific to Hayward, like the Hayward water tower and Hayward/San Mateo Bridge, oak trees, the Hayward Hills and a California poppy as the focal point, Knight shared. The official unveiling of the finished piece will take place on Oct. 22 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the housing complex. “I try to do stuff that’s important for our community that has some kind of message or meaning to it,” said Knight.