Students in the LEAP afterschool program at PS 100x in the Bronx designed the artwork that is being printed on 50,000 posters that will be displayed at thousands of Lights On Afterschool events across the country on and around October 20. Students created a vibrant mural of sunflowers and marigolds that symbolize the inclusive environment and opportunities for growth that after-school programs provide. The mural was selected from hundreds of submissions in a student art competition held earlier this year.
Lights On Afterschool is the only national afterschool gathering. Organized by the Afterschool Alliance to highlight the need to invest in afterschool programs, which provide fun, hands-on learning opportunities and offerings that may include homework help; healthy foods and snacks; computer programming; robotics; art, dance and music; opportunities to think critically, collaborate and communicate with peers and adults; job and college readiness; sports and fitness activities; mentors and more.
“My favorite part of this mural was the painting,” said a fifth-grader who worked on the project. “I like to paint because it is relaxing and calming. Painting inspires people; it really makes people smile. That’s something I can feel good about.”
Thousands of Lights On Afterschool events are expected to take place across the country this October at schools, 4-H, Boys & Girls Clubs, YMCAs, parks, museums, community centers and other locations. Events will include science fairs, student performances, academic competitions, art shows, community service activities, fun runs, visits from legislators and more.
Students from the LEAP after-school program worked collaboratively to design the mural, which they painted on the outside of their school, up to the entrance.
“During a time when building community is more important than ever, our students came together to share joy through artistic expression and create a symbol of the great things that can happen when we are all one,” said Ariana Arbolina the director of PS 100x. “Through our partnership with LEAP, our students were able to create a piece of art that is a daily reminder of hope, joy and resilience for the school and the larger community.”
About 24.7 million American children who are not in an afterschool program would enroll if one were available to them, according to a survey of 1,500 parents commissioned by the Afterschool Alliance and conducted by Edge Research in May and June 2022. This is the highest number ever recorded. Unmet demand for after-school programs is significantly higher among Latino and Black children (at 60% and 54%, respectively). Cost is the main barrier to enrollment, cited by 57% of parents as the reason for not enrolling their child. Ninety percent of parents rate the quality of the program their child attends as excellent or very good.
“We are incredibly proud of the LEAP students who produced this year’s poster design and excited to share their powerful artwork with people across the United States,” said Afterschool Alliance Executive Director Jodi Grant. “The learning and growth that happens after school is essential. In after-school programs like LEAP, students are discovering new interests and creating successful futures. But too many children and families are missing out on the vital opportunities that afterschool programs provide. We must ensure that all students have access to quality after-school programs that keep students safe, inspire them to learn and give working parents peace of mind.”
BellXcel, Capital One and Clear Channel Outdoor are generous sponsors of Lights On Afterschool this year.
For more coverage, follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram @bronxtimes