12th Annual Lights On After school Rally, October 20th

Published: Oct. 19, 2011 at 12:01 PM HST
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(HawaiiNewsNow) - October 20 marks the 12th Annual Lights On After school Rally.  It's a national event organized by the After school Alliance to highlight the importance of after school care.  Here in Hawaii, we rank as one of the top states in the nation for after school program participation rates, with close to 60,000 children, K-12, receiving after school care.  Yet there are 65,000 kids still left unattended.

On October 19, the DOE, YMCA, Kama'aina Kids and other after school care providers will hold a rally at the State Capitol.  Hundreds of school kids will be bussed in to hold signs and banners to promote the importance of after school care.  A short program will also be held.  This will be followed the next day by a statewide rally at individual schools — kids will display artwork depicting what they like best about their after school care program, and cut outs of light bulbs will be strung together adorning school cafeterias.  The goal is to ensure "The Lights Are Kept On" at Hawaii's many after school care facilities.

Statistics supporting after school care are powerful -- An analysis of 73 after school studies concluded that after school programs provide multiple benefits for youth, including improvements in children's personal, social and academic skills, and their self-esteem.  Furthermore, teens not participating in after school programs are nearly three times more likely to skip classes than teens who do participate.  They are also three times more likely to use marijuana or other drugs, and are more likely to drink, smoke and engage in sexual activity.  This mirrors the fact that between the hours of 3 and 6 pm, juvenile crime and experimentation with drugs, alcohol, cigarettes and sex are at its peak.