Lights on Afterschool Rally Raises Awareness for Afternoon Programming

Lights on Afterschool was hosted by the Duluth YMCA which offers a safe and enriching after school program in Duluth schools to help keep kids in school to graduate on time.

DULUTH, Minn. – Dozens of people gathered at Bayfront Festival Park under the lights of Bentleyville in Duluth to celebrate the importance of after school programs for children.

Wednesday around the country thousands of others gathered to raise awareness for the issue as well.

Lights on Afterschool was hosted by the Duluth YMCA which offers a safe and enriching after school program in Duluth schools to help keep kids in school to graduate on time.

The families and volunteers gathered under a light up Aerial Lift Bridge in Bentleyville ahead of its official opening to speak about the importance of positive role models after school and why it is so important to give kids and parents the opportunity to take part in the programs.

“If they are not getting that role model they’re not having that support by an adult after school they might be involving in some risky behaviors or maybe they’re sitting in front of the tv. We give them those opportunities where they can try something new learn new skills and keep learning every day after school and just have a really safe place for them to go,” said Melissa Fanning, the executive director at the Duluth YMCA.

Around 40 Americorps members are placed in the schools each year as well to help students who might need extra assistance with positive mentors and educators to get caught up with their math and reading.

The programs also span the entire city of Duluth.

“We’ve got 40 different locations so we are in everywhere from Lakewood elementary key zone all way out east to Gary New Duluth rec center so some of them are really structured they come in get some help with homework then do a different activity,” said Alice Jacobson, the director of TrueNorth Americorps.

There are some drop-in programs around the city as well for students seeking help.

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