After school advocates to join rally for funding Oct.16

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AUGUSTA – The Maine AfterSchool Network and Maine Department of Education’s 21st Century Learning Centers will co-sponsor the Lights On Afterschool! event on Thursday, Oct. 16 at 10 a.m. to noon in the Hall of Flags in the State House.

The event for afterschool programs will be one of more than 7,000 such gatherings throughout the nation that day for the fifth annual Lights On Afterschool! – a national rally organized by the Afterschool Alliance. In Maine, speakers will call for expanding afterschool opportunities so that every child who needs a program has access to one.

Included in the Maine Lights On Afterschool! event will be a governor’s proclamation at 10:45 a.m. read by First Lady Karen Baldacci, remarks by Attorney General Steve Rowe, recognition of a Maine Afterschool champion, a youth M.C., Afterschool student performances and exemplary program awards.

From 10:00 a.m. to noon, the Hall of Flags will be filled with displays of Maine Afterschool programs including some Maine Department of Education 21st Century Community Learning Centers programs and other statewide after-school organizations and related programs.

According to data collected by the Maine After School Network, 23 percent of Maine youths are responsible for their own care after school, but only 15 percent of Maine’s children and youth K-12 participate in afterschool programs. However, data indicate that nearly 35 percent of the Maine children and youth in self-care would attend an afterschool program if one were available to them in their community or neighborhood.

Statistics gathered from Maine’s 21st CCLC programs reflect significant school-related gains for between 50 and 75 percent of their after school participants. In fact, a recent survey of Maine principals reveals that 89 percent believe that after school programs are an absolute necessity in their communities.

The event will highlight three of the significant contributions that after school programs make to the state of Maine: keeping kids safe and healthy, helping them learn, and relieving working parents of worries about their children’s activities during the afternoon hours. Over a hundred parents, supporters and community members are expected to attend.

For more information contact Deb Chase, director of the Maine After school Network at 207-778-7575 or email mailto:Deborah.Chase@maine.edu OR Lauren Sterling, Governor’s Children’s Cabinet/21st CCLC at 287-4349 or mailto:Lauren.Sterling@maine.gov

The Maine AfterSchool Network involves the cooperative efforts of numerous agencies and organizations, including the Maine Department of Health and Human Services, Maine Department of Education through Maine’s 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC), the Maine School Age Care Alliance, University of Maine Cooperative Extension, and others.

Maine Department of Education’s 21st CCLC Program currently funds thirty-five (35) programs reaching all regions in Maine to include Auburn, Augusta, Dixfield, Fryeburg, Gardiner, Hartford/Buckfield, Bethel, Mexico/Rumford, Oxford Hills, Raymond, Brunswick, Sanford, South Portland, Waterville, Westbrook/Wiindham, Wiscasset, Rockland, Caribou, Caswell, Cutler, Ellsworth, Fort Fairfield, Guilford, Hancock/Union, Jackman, Southern Aroostook, Danforth, Cherryfield, Portland, Old Town, Searsport, Skowhegan, and in many cases serving multiple surrounding towns.

The Afterschool Alliance is a non-profit public awareness and advocacy organization supported by a group of public, private and non-profit entities dedicated to ensuring that all children and youth have access to after school programs. More information on Lights On Afterschool! is available at  www.afterschoolalliance.org

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