27th District Assemblyman Ash Kalra presents a certificate of recognition to Think Together Director of Operations Joshua Felix, and Russo McEntee Academy Principal Tereasa Smith, during a Lights On Afterschool rally sponsored by Think Together on October 26 to celebrate afterschool programs organized by the Afterschool Alliance. The event allowed families to see first-hand the success their children have when a part of Think Together’s afterschool programs. Photo Credit: Think Together

San Jose, Calif. – Think Together, a statewide nonprofit organization that partners with schools to provide early learning after school and support programsrecently sponsored a Lights On Afterschool rally on October 26 to join the annual nationwide celebration of afterschool programs organized by the Afterschool Alliance. 

During the event students were able to showcase the variety of campus clubs offered during their Fall Harvest Festival. Leaders from each club had projects on display as they hosted activities by each of their booths. To highlight ways more of their peers can be physically active, the Sports Club showcased different physical activities, games and demonstrations that revolve around having fun and getting fit.

This year’s speaker was Assemblymember Ash Kalra, representing the 27th California Assembly District, who will be speaking on the value of afterschool programs. The event will spotlight the range of programming offered by Think Together, including its range of onsite student-led clubs. Lights On Afterschool draws attention to the many ways afterschool programs support students by offering them opportunities to learn new things—such as science, community service, robotics, Tae Kwon Do and poetry—and discover new skills. The events send a powerful message that millions more kids need quality afterschool programs.

Launched in 2000, Lights On Afterschool is the only nationwide event celebrating afterschool programs and their important role in the lives of children, families and communities. The effort has become a hallmark of the afterschool movement and generates media coverage across the country each year.

In America today, 11.3 million children are alone and unsupervised after school. Afterschool programs keep kids safe, help working families and inspire learning. They provide opportunities to help young people develop into successful adults. This event will call for expanding afterschool opportunities so that every child who needs a program has access to one, and discuss the benefits of afterschool programs, including inspiring children to learn, keeping them safe in the hours when juvenile crime peaks, and providing relief to working families. Parents and supporters will sign a petition that urges lawmakers not to deny or divert funding for afterschool programs.  

Think Together implemented its first afterschool program in the Bay Area in 2013 with a 21st Century Community Learning Centers grant from the U.S. Department of Education. It now serves 250 children, providing homework assistance, mentoring, tutoring, and classes and clubs in sports, recreation, mathematics, chess, and dozens of other subjects.  The program is a collaboration between the school system, YMCA, Museum of Arts and Sciences and three local colleges.