In America today, 15.1 million children are alone and unsupervised in the hours after school.
Afterschool for All brings together individuals and organizations from across the nation who supports the vision that all children and youth deserve access to quality, affordable afterschool programs. There are thousands of Afterschool for All partners including governors, mayors, police chiefs, parents, educators, universities and organizations, such as the YMCA.
Each October, more than one million Americans and thousands of communities nationwide celebrate Lights On Afterschool to throw light on the importance of afterschool programs. The Raritan Valley YMCA this year shall bring together Assemblyman Upendra Chivukula, local government officials, business leaders, children, YMCA parents, community leaders in its Annual National Rally for Afterschool Program, which is scheduled on Oct. 17.
Assemblyman Chivukula will be the keynote speaker. The event shall begin at 5 p.m. with a tour of the Raritan Valley YMCA facility, including a Health Fair conducted by the YMCA after school participants. The children’s exhibits will reflect healthy habits and exercise.
There will be a meet and greet session at 5:30 p.m. open to the community. At 6 p.m., Assemblyman Chivukula will speak on the importance of public/private partnership in the afterschool programs and healthy habits. This will be followed by light refreshments for everyone.
In 1988, the Division of Prevention and Community Partnerships in the New Jersey Department of Children and Families developed the Family Friendly Centers program, which provides $2.5 million in grants to afterschool programs providing enrichment activities to participants. New Jersey After 3 (NJA3) was founded in 2004 to increase afterschool support systems for families, and has since received nearly $75 million in state funding.
The New Jersey School Age Care Coalition (NJSACC), has since convened a quality standards development committee to develop New Jersey's first statewide standards for afterschool.
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 and Lights On Afterschool is available at www.afterschoolalliance.org.
For information on the YMCA after school program or YMCA facilities, visit www.raritanvalleyymca.org or call 732-257-4114. The Raritan Valley YMCA is located at 144 Tices Lane in East Brunswick.
--Raritan Valley YMCA