Lights On Afterschool recognizes children affected by Harvey through celebration at Children’s Museum

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October 27, 2017 by HCDE-Texas

CASE Lights On AfterschoolView link to photos (password is hcde1889): http://bit.ly/2iOeHsX

Children affected by Hurricane Harvey were delivered the ultimate Halloween experience through the Greater Houston Lights On Alliance, a collection of local organizations supporting afterschool on Oct. 26. The event held at the Children’s Museum Houston allowed 150 kids enrolled in alliance programs to enjoy the museum, trick-or-treat and participate in a fun science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) experiment.

“Harvey was a traumatic experience for children and our afterschool staff, and we recognized the need today for those children to have fun while the adults talk about meaningful issues surrounding the national Lights On Afterschool initiative and our local concerns,” said director Lisa Thompson-Caruthers, Center for Afterschool, Summer and Enrichment for Kids, or CASE for Kids.

A recent study completed by Harris County Department of Education’s Research and Evaluation Institute circulated to local afterschool communities reported 80 percent of afterschool sites said they expect to see changes in enrollment because of Hurricane Harvey. Over half of the respondents provided afterschool programs and services in Harvey’s aftermath, and many depleted resources and exhausted personnel during the weeks following the storm.  Harvey afterschool relief kits will be distributed to many of the affected sites at the event.

National statistics show that 11.3 million children are alone and unsupervised from 3-6 p.m., and one in five children still don’t have afterschool caregivers. Even though more youth than ever before are in afterschool—10.2 million—for every child in a program, two are waiting to get in.

At the celebration, an initiative called Out 2 Learn network, funded through the Houston Endowment and led through United Way of Greater Houston, announced its launch. Out 2 Learn will work strategically with HCDE’s CASE for Kids and the City of Houston to implement Out 2 Learn key strategies.  The network is aimed at expanding access to high-quality, out of school time services to all families in the greater Houston region through a coordinated, youth-centered approach to professional development, community investment and community awareness of the importance of quality services and youth voice.

20171026_AfterSchool_105Event highlights included remarks by the Texas Partnership for Out of School Time; an afterschool rally; post-Harvey: Afterschool in Houston discussion; and a STEM interactive science experience called “air blaster” provided by museum staff to demonstrate the power of air mass.

The alliance is comprised of the following organizations:

CASE for Kids, Education Foundation of Harris County, Harris County Department of Education, YMCA of Greater Houston, Houston ISD, the City of Houston Parks and Recreation Department After-School Achievement Program (A.S.A.P.), The Mayor’s Office of Education Initiatives, Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Houston, Harris County Precinct 1 Commissioner Rodney Ellis, Harris County Precinct 2 Commissioner Jack Morman, United Way of Greater Houston, Children’s Museum of Houston,  East Texas After-School Association (SETAA), Harris County Precinct 1, and Harris County Precinct 2.

View statistics about afterschool from TXPOST and the Afterschool Alliance: http://www.hcde-texas.org/media/4966/statistics-2017.pdf

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