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4,000 Youth Enrichment Program (YEP!) Students Rally to Keep the Lights On Afterschool through Celebrations


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


Posted by: Sabrina Aranda, District Admin, Hayward Unified School District Published:10/18/16
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