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Avery County To Rally For Afterschool Programs on November 8 for 20th Annual Lights on Afterschool

-Lights On Afterschool Program to Feature Dr. Vecchione and Avery County Sheriff and County Manager-

On Friday, November 8, WAMY Community Action, Inc and The Williams YMCA’s 21st Century Community Learning Centers Programs will join the 20th annual Lights On Afterschool, a nationwide series of rallies for afterschool organized by the Afterschool Alliance.

This special event will be held at Avery County’s Old Rock Gymnasium, located at 185 Shady Street in Newland. The program will commence eat 5:00 p.m. and last until 8:30 p.m.

The Lights On Afterschool rally will feature Sheriff Kevin Frye, County Manager Phillip Barrier, and North Carolina Department of Public Instruction’s Dr. Chris Vecchione, as well as local business leaders, educators and other officials. Event partners include WAMY Community Action, Inc., the YMCA, Avery County Sheriff’s Department, and local churches. Hundreds of parents, educators and community members are expected to attend.  Also, Avery County Manager Phillip Barrier will be issuing a Presentation of Proclamation for Lights On Afterschool that evening.

Last year, approximately one million people participated in more than 8,000 Lights On Afterschool events. The Afterschool Alliance expects the same level of participation this year. And for the 13th consecutive year, the New York skyline will shine for afterschool that evening when the iconic Empire State Building is lit in yellow and blue to celebrate Lights On Afterschool. Afterschool supporters also will be lighting up local landmarks and buildings to show their support for afterschool programs.

These events give youth a chance to showcase the skills they learn and talents they develop at their afterschool programs, and to send the message that millions more children and youth need quality afterschool programs. The Afterschool Alliance organizes Lights On Afterschool to underscore the need to invest in afterschool programs, which provides homework help; mentors; healthy snacks and meals; computer programming; opportunities to think critically, collaborate and communicate with peers and adults; job and college readiness; sports and fitness activities; robotics; art, dance and music; and continuous opportunities for hands-on, team-based learning.

On October 16, a new report from the more than 5,000 sheriffs, police chiefs, and prosecutors of the organization Fight Crime: Invest in Kids spotlighted powerful research documenting positive outcomes for children and teens who participate in high quality afterschool programs. The report, released in conjunction with Lights On Afterschool, show that the hours immediately following school remain the “prime time for juvenile crime,” which is why afterschool programs are proving to be one of the nation’s best crime prevention strategies and an effective way to guide young people toward success in school and readiness for productive careers.

WAMY Community Action, Inc.’s Community Kids Afterschool Program opened in 1999 with a 21st Century Community Learning Centers grant. It now serves 247 children, providing homework assistance, mentoring, tutoring, and enrichment. More information is available online at wamycommunityaction.org.

WAMY Community Action’s Family and Community Coordinator Abigail Swanger is one of just 15 afterschool leaders named this year to serve as an Afterschool Ambassador, chosen by the Afterschool Alliance – a nonprofit public awareness and advocacy organization working to ensure that all children and youth have access to quality afterschool programs.