Co-Chairman Margo Lion Helps Kick-Off Lights on After SchoolCo-Chairman Margo Lion Helps Kick-Off Lights on After School

President's Committee on the Arts and Humanities (PCAH) Co-Chairman Margo Lion joined Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and other officials in a national kick-off for the Lights On Afterschool annual celebration. With more than 7,500 communities participating from across the nation, Lights On Afterschool is a project of the Afterschool Alliance designed to showcase and draw attention to afterschool programs.

According to survey findings announced at the early October event, more than a quarter of the nation's school children are on their own when the school day ends. This research sponsored by Afterschool Alliance and JC Penney's Afterschool Fund underscored the purpose of this Lights on Afterschool event kickoff—to call attention to the importance of afterschool programs in keeping kids safe and inspiring them to learn. President's Committee Co-Chair Lion's remarks focused on the growth of arts and humanities programs over the last 15 years that provide a structured and safe environment for schoolchildren to discover their own talents, increasing their confidence in their own potential and abilities.

As an example, she highlighted PCAH's Coming Up Taller awards program, which honors the most successful of the nation's afterschool and out of school arts and humanities programs saying, “Coming Up Taller programs provide excellent models of hands-on encounters with visual art, music, literature, dance and other disciplines complimented by homework help, mentoring and job training.”

The 10th annual nationwide celebration of afterschool programs takes place October 22, 2009 and will include student performances, runs and walks, open houses, art and essay contests, art displays, tree lightings, carnivals, and much more. They are organized by afterschool providers –21st Century Community Learning Centers programs, as well as those affiliated with 4-H Afterschool, Boys & Girls Clubs of America, YMCA of the USA, Junior Achievement, The After-School Corporation, Young Rembrandts and others.