On October 21st, children from the Westfield Area Y after school program participated in the national “Lights on After School” event. The name symbolizes the need to keep the “lights on” and the doors open to all children and families looking for quality before and after school programs.  Sponsored by the Afterschool Alliance, the 2010 “Lights On Afterschool” initiative commemorates the 13th anniversary of the federal 21st Century Community Learning Centers which has made afterschool programs available to hundreds of thousands of children across the nation. Still, funding has not kept up with demand, and millions of children are alone and unsupervised each afternoon after the school days ends

Our “lights on” movement took place at the Main Y Facility with a Luminary Lighting and extended out to our school age families who displayed “Lights on After School” luminaries up their walkways, driveways and entrance ways to help light up the town.  “We are all so proud of our afterschool students,” said the Westfield Area Y’s School Age Child Care Director, Karen Theiss.  “There's no reason that learning should stop at 3 pm, particularly if the alternative is unsupervised time in front of a television set, or any of the dangerous or unhealthy behaviors that can ensnare children in the afternoons.”  
 
The Y is the nation’s leading nonprofit committed to strengthening communities through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. Visit www.westfieldynj.org to learn more about Westfield Area Y programs that provide a safe, nurturing environment for children to learn, grow and develop social skills or contact Karen Theiss at (908) 233-2700 x273.
 
Pictured here:  Westfield Area Y After School Program participants, Emma Downer, Josie DelCastillo, Sam Outten, Ben Outten and Cassia Harting-Smith preparing for the Luminary Lighting.