Charleston, WV – The West Virginia State Capitol is joining a host of landmarks and thousands of other businesses and organizations across the nation set to turn blue as part of the national Lights On Afterschool campaign. The campaign, organized locally by the West Virginia University Extension Services’ Statewide Afterschool Network and the Salvation Army’s Boys and Girls Club of Charleston, emphasizes the importance of keeping the lights on and the doors open after school, when too many kids are unsupervised, home alone, and at risk.
“Taking care of our kids is one of my top priorities because they are our future,” Gov. Justice said. “We’ve put a huge emphasis on education in West Virginia, and we’ve made it the centerpiece of what’s important in our state. Afterschool programs are a huge part of a child's education because they support healthy development and promote social engagement. I love this initiative because by bringing awareness to these programs we are making sure people continue to recognize their importance.”
On Oct. 20, 2022, blue lights will shine on the Capitol from 7-10 p.m. to help promote the importance of West Virginia’s afterschool programs and how they help support children’s healthy development, social engagement, and mental health. It will also bring awareness to the need for additional opportunities.
According to the Afterschool Alliance, a study in 2020 found that only 12% of West Virginia youth participate in an afterschool program – yet 46% would participate if a program were available near them.
“Lights on Afterschool celebrates the remarkable services that our afterschool providers continue to offer to ensure the safety, development, and wellbeing of our children,” said Department of Administration Cabinet Secretary Mark D. Scott. “But we know there is much more work to be done. We are joining in the effort to bring awareness and show support to our afterschool programs.”
The Governor also issued a proclamation declaring October 20, 2022, as Lights On Afterschool Day. The proclamation can be viewed here.
Launched in October 2000, Lights On Afterschool has become a hallmark of the afterschool movement and generates media coverage across the country each year.
The Afterschool Alliance, responsible for creating the Lights On Afterschool campaign, is a nonprofit public awareness and advocacy organization working to ensure that all children and youth have access to quality afterschool programs. More information is available at www.afterschoolalliance.org.