Shining a Light on Afterschool Programs: A Nationwide Celebration

By Jason D. King, SVP, Corporate Communications & Marketing, Clear Channel Outdoor

This month, digital billboards across the nation will light up with messages celebrating afterschool programs and the 24th annual Lights On Afterschool celebration. This coast-to-coast display of support culminates on October 26 for the Lights On Afterschool rally, a nationwide celebration of the vital role afterschool programs play in the lives of students, families, schools, and communities.

Led by the National League of Cities, Afterschool Alliance, and the National Summer Learning Association, Clear Channel Outdoor is proud to again partner with these organizations and promote national public awareness about the importance of afterschool programs by donating prime advertising space on digital billboards in 25 markets across the nation throughout the month of October. It’s a gesture that spotlights the significance of these programs and underlines the corporate sector’s commitment to a brighter future.

Afterschool Programs – A Beacon of Support

Afterschool programs are a beacon of unwavering support for countless students, from offering academic support and serving as a foundation of mentorship to providing students with guidance, encouragement, and a safe space to explore their full potential. In addition, they ensure no child goes to bed hungry, offering wholesome meals and snacks. These programs go the extra mile by keeping students safe and engaged after the school day ends and offering them team-based learning activities in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math), the arts, and various other fields.

The unmet demand for afterschool programs is a poignant reminder that they remain a lifeline for students and families – the Afterschool Alliance’s America After 3pm report indicates that for every youth attending an afterschool program, three more students are waiting for a spot. According to a 2022 survey commissioned by the Afterschool Alliance and conducted by Edge Research, this unmet demand is significantly higher among Latino and Black children, at 60% and 54%, respectively, demonstrating a growing need for equitable access to these programs. While cost is the primary barrier to enrollment, as cited by 57% of parents in the survey, it is heartening to know this is something we can work together to address.

And support for afterschool programs is higher than ever; voters across the political spectrum agree that high-quality programs are a priority.

Likewise, Clear Channel’s EVP & CMO, Dan Levi, noted that the demand for afterschool programs continues to rise for all students, and therefore the messages on our digital billboards aim to illuminate the need for greater accessibility to high-quality afterschool learning and send a unifying message to boost enrichment opportunities for the nation’s youth.

Uniting for a Brighter Future

The Lights on Afterschool rally is a joint endeavor that brings together cities, schools, 4-H clubs, Boys & Girls Clubs, YMCAs, parks, museums, community centers, and more. With this collaborative spirit, over 8,000 events will serve as showcases for the remarkable talents and skills students gain through their afterschool experiences.

On October 26, we’re going the extra mile, prominently featuring afterschool messages on two jumbo billboards in New York City’s iconic Times Square. To further amplify the message, Boston’s South Street Station will be bathed in blue and yellow lights, echoing the signature colors of Lights On Afterschool. These vibrant displays perfectly complement the illumination of the iconic Empire State Building.

Shining the Light on the Future

By showcasing the importance of afterschool programs and encouraging greater investment, the Lights On Afterschool initiative ensures that children, families, and communities can continue to benefit from these invaluable programs for years to come. It’s a celebration of unity, learning, and the promise of a brighter future.

Clear Channel Outdoor looks forward to sharing more at City Summit in November where local municipalities across the nation will come together to discuss ways we can support our youth and expand access to these vital programs.

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