Digital Billboards Across Nation Will Shine a Light on the Many Ways Afterschool Programs Support Students, Families, Schools, and Communities

Now in its 24th year, Lights On Afterschool is the only national rally for afterschool programs. Throughout October, and on October 26 when the official Lights On Afterschool rally will take place, programs across the country are holding events focused on academics, science and technology, arts and music, sports and fitness, community service, and more. The events send the message that demand for afterschool programs is high, too many students are without programs, and the pandemic exacerbated both staff and funding shortages.

Some 24.7 million U.S. children not in an afterschool program would be enrolled, if a program were available to them, according to a survey of 1,500 parents commissioned by the Afterschool Alliance and conducted by Edge Research in 2022. That is the highest number ever recorded. Unmet demand for afterschool programs is significantly higher among Latino and Black children (at 60% and 54% respectively) than among children overall (49%). Cost is the top barrier to enroll, cited by 57% of parents as a reason for not enrolling their child. Ninety percent of parents rate the quality of the program their child attends as excellent (51%) or very good (39%).

Lights On Afterschool serves as a reminder that a large body of evidence demonstrates improvements in grades, school attendance, behavior, and more among children who participate in afterschool programs. Researchers have also found that students in afterschool programs are more engaged in school and excited about learning, and develop critical work and life skills such as problem solving, teamwork, and communications. 

Organized by the Afterschool Alliance, Lights On Afterschool includes events organized by schools, 4-Hs, Boys & Girls Clubs, YMCAs, cities, parks, museums, community centers, and others. Some 8,000 events this year will showcase the skills students gain and the talents they develop in their afterschool programs.

Clear Channel Outdoor is supporting Lights On Afterschool by donating some of its most prominent space to display afterschool messages on digital billboards, bus shelters, and poster spaces in 25 markets around the country throughout the month of October. On October 26, Clear Channel will feature afterschool messages on two jumbo billboards in New York City’s Times Square and will bathe Boston’s South Street Station in blue and yellow in honor of Lights On Afterschool, complementing a similar lighting of the iconic Empire State Building that evening. Supporters also will be lighting up local landmarks and buildings across the country to show their support for afterschool programs.  

“The afterschool movement is tremendously grateful for all Clear Channel Outdoor does to recognize the many ways afterschool programs boost students and families,” said Afterschool Alliance Executive Director Jodi Grant. “Lights On Afterschool celebrates the work these programs do to keep kids safe, inspire them to learn, and give working parents peace of mind that their children are safe and supervised after the school day ends. We are very proud that Clear Channel Outdoor is helping make this event a success again this year.”

“Local elected officials have long recognized the many ways afterschool programming supports young people, their families and communities,” said NLC CEO and Executive Director Clarence E. Anthony. “So at the National League of Cities, we are very proud to celebrate and support Lights On Afterschool again this year. City leaders rely on these programs to feed children, keep them safe and active, provide enrichment and learning opportunities, and support working families. Many cities have invested their own local American Rescue Plan dollars to expand programs to serve more young people. NLC is so pleased to partner with the Afterschool Alliance to encourage mayors to light up their city halls or city landmarks and/or issue proclamations in honor of Lights On Afterschool.”

“The National Summer Learning Association is very pleased to join with our close partners at the Afterschool Alliance, National League of Cities and Clear Channel to celebrate the importance and impact of afterschool and summer learning on the lives of millions of children and families across the United States. Thousands of local Lights On Afterschool celebration events in all 50 states shows policymakers, education, and civic Leaders the increasing, universal and bi-partisan need and support for continued investment in these programs and all our kids,” said Aaron Philip Dworkin, CEO of the National Summer Learning Association.

“We’re proud to stand with our partners in celebrating Lights On Afterschool to spotlight the essential role afterschool programs play in the lives of young people, working families and local communities across America,” said Dan Levi, EVP & CMO, Clear Channel Outdoor. “As unmet demand for afterschool programs continues to skyrocket, these powerful messages on our digital billboards will illuminate the need for greater accessibility to high-quality afterschool learning and enrichment opportunities for our nation’s youth.”

The Afterschool Alliance 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

SOURCE Clear Channel Outdoor

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