News Release — Vermont Afterschool Inc.
Oct. 24, 2016
Holly Morehouse, Vermont Afterschool, Inc.
802-598-4005 / [email protected]
Governor Peter Shumlin Declares October 20th “Lights On Afterschool Day”
COLCHESTER, VT — Vermont Afterschool, Inc., is pleased to announce that 47 afterschool programs across the state of Vermont hosted Lights On Afterschool events on October 20, 2016. The rallies were in conjunction with 8,000 such events across America as part of Lights On Afterschool, the annual nationwide effort to emphasize the importance of keeping lights on and doors open for afterschool programs.
Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin proclaimed October 20th to be Lights On Afterschool Day in recognition of the important role of afterschool programs in Vermont. In his proclamation, Governor Shumlin asserted that the State of Vermont “is committed to investing in the health and safety of all young people by providing expanded learning opportunities that will help close the achievement gap and prepare young people to compete in the global economy.”
The Governor’s proclamation also noted that “afterschool programs provide safe, challenging, and engaging learning experiences that help children develop social, emotional, physical and academic skills; and support working families by ensuring their children are safe and productive after the regular school day ends.”
“We thank the Governor for proclaiming his support for afterschool programs across Vermont,” said Holly Morehouse, Executive Director of Vermont Afterschool, Inc. “We’ve seen important growth in expanded learning opportunities and afterschool programs over the years. Yet research tells us that without adequately addressing what is happening with our children and youth outside the school day and over the summer, we won’t be able to make meaningful progress on some of our most critical issues affecting Vermont kids and families.”
The full proclamation can be found here: http://bit.ly/2dH4dH5
Currently in Vermont, more than 21,000 Vermont youth in grades K-12 are enrolled in afterschool programs, but 22,000 or more would be enrolled in a program if one were available in their community.
This year, Lights On Afterschool highlighted youth voices in the upcoming national election, encouraging kids to share their thoughts with the next president and teaching them about the electoral process. Speakers and supporters across the state called for expanding afterschool opportunities so that every child who needs a program has access to one, and also discussed the benefits of afterschool programs, which include: inspiring children to learn, keeping children safe in the hours when juvenile crime peaks, and providing relief to working families.
“Those in the afterschool field know first-hand that we have a special opportunity to help children become excited about lifelong learning,” stated Morehouse. “When you consider that children spend, on average, 1000 hours a year in school but 5000 in their communities and with their families, making sure that children and youth are engaged in healthy, productive activities during that out-of-school time is incredibly important.”
About Vermont Afterschool, Inc.: Vermont Afterschool is a statewide nonprofit that supports organizations in providing quality afterschool, summer, and expanded learning experiences so that Vermont’s children and youth have the opportunities, skills, and resources they need to become healthy, productive members of society. http://vermontafterschool.org