GWINNETT COUNTY JOINS NATIONWIDE CELEBRATION OF AFTERSCHOOL PROGRAMMING WITH EVENT

(Lawrenceville, Ga., Oct. 8, 2019) – Gwinnett County invites children, parents, business leaders and community leaders to come together to celebrate afterschool programs at Walk Among the Stars, part of the National Lights On Afterschool initiative, at 6 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 24 at Collins Hill Park.

The event, which is free, will highlight the contributions of afterschool programs and draw attention to the need for more afterschool programs to serve the millions of children nationwide who are unsupervised and at risk each weekday afternoon. Walk Among the Stars is one of more than 8,000 National Lights On Afterschool events nationwide emphasizing the importance of keeping the doors open and lights on for afterschool programs.

“Walk Among the Stars celebrates the remarkable work being done by government organizations and community partners,” said Tina Fleming, director of the Gwinnett County Department of Community Services. “It is a powerful reminder that afterschool programs offer a range of important support to children and families. Unfortunately, there are not always enough accessible afterschool programs, and too many kids are home alone in the afternoons where they can be exposed to at-risk behaviors. Afterschool programs can be life-changing for many of these children.”

Walk Among the Stars features a Neverland theme this year, and participants are encouraged to come dressed as their favorite characters and enjoy STEAM activities, interactive games, crafts, inflatables and more.

Afterschool programs support students by offering them opportunities to discover new skills and learn new things, like science, community service, robotics, Tae Kwon Do and poetry.

Recent data from America After 3PM, a study on afterschool programs commissioned by the Afterschool Alliance, shows a vast unmet demand for afterschool programs nationwide. In Georgia, only 16 percent of children participate in an afterschool program, yet 40 percent would be enrolled if a program were available. Parents of children in afterschool programs are overwhelmingly pleased with the programs with 90 percent saying they are satisfied with their child’s program and 79 percent reporting that afterschool programs give working parents peace of mind.

This year’s event is sponsored by Aetna, along with additional community partners that include Gwinnett County Parks and Recreation, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta-Strong4Life, GUIDE, Inc., Gwinnett 4-H, Discovery Point, Gwinnett County Public Library, i9 Sports and other government divisions.

Lights On Afterschool is organized by the Afterschool Alliance, a nonprofit public awareness and advocacy organization working to ensure that all children have access to quality afterschool programs. More information on the Afterschool Alliance, Lights On Afterschool and America After 3PM is available at www.afterschoolalliance.org. Collins Hill Park is located at 2225 Collins Hill Road in Lawrenceville.

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