Hyde 21st Century Community Learning Center Program will join the 23rd annual Lights On Afterschool celebration, a nationwide series of rallies for afterschool organized by the Afterschool Alliance, on Thursday, Oct. 20.

For the 16th consecutive year, the New York skyline will shine for afterschool on October 20 when the iconic Empire State Building is lit in yellow and blue to celebrate Lights On Afterschool.

This year, the Ocracoke skyline will also shine with the lighting of the Ocracoke Lighthouse.

The Lights On Afterschool event, starting at 5 p.m. in the Ocracoke School elementary building, will feature afterschool students and their families participating in a literacy and arts event, demonstrations representative of their daily afterschool curriculum. Families will enjoy pizza together, then walk to the Ocracoke Lighthouse to see the “lighting of the lighthouse.”

Event partners include the National Park Service and local arts organization Ocracoke Alive. Parents, educators and community members.

Millions of Americans have participated in Lights On Afterschool events over the years, and thousands of events are in the works this year.

The 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. (A growing list of events is available here.)

The Afterschool Alliance organizes Lights On Afterschool to underscore the need to invest in afterschool programs, which provide homework help; mentors; healthy snacks and meals; opportunities to think critically, collaborate and communicate with peers and adults; sports and fitness activities; robotics and other STEM activities; art; and continuous opportunities for hands- on, team-based learning.

The Hyde 21st Century Community Learning Center began in 2010 with a 21st Century Community Learning Centers grant. It now serves up to 200 children, providing homework assistance, literacy, math and science tutoring, and clubs in robotics, radio broadcasting, drama, sports, reading, healthy eating, chess and other subjects.

More information is available at www.hyde21C.com.

Nancy Leach, Hyde 21st CCLC program director, is one of just 17 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.

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