Neighborhood Learning Alliance and Bloomfield Garfield Corporation hosted Lights On Afterschool event at Pittsburgh Arsenal. Our event was part of an Allegheny County-wide effort hosted by APOST to showcase, advocate for, and celebrate the importance of afterschool programs for youth. The program was launched in October 2000, and is the only nationwide event celebrating afterschool programs and their important role in the lives of children, families, and communities. We were particularly excited by all of the parents and wonderful friends who joined the celebration.
Our Arsenal Principal, Ruthie Rea, joined our BGC partners Rick Swartz, Executive Director; Rick Flanagan, Youth Development Director; and several NLA board members to welcome our afterschool families and guests.
Guests included our Chief of Police, Scott Schubert; Regina Holley, the PIttsburgh School District Board President; Ron Andro, the CEO of West Penn Hospital; Patrick Boyle, the hospital’s Director of Human Resources; Susie Pushcar, Director of Youth Innovation; and David Conway, Youth Programs Coordinator from Partner4Work; and Kathryn Vargas, the Director of APOST.
Nancy Walker, the amazing Arsenal afterschool coordinator, showcased the many aspects of their afterschool program leading the children, staff, volunteers, and Reading & Tech Warriors through a full afterschool day of learning and fun. During the event kids were divided into reading and STEM groups and everyone had a chance to participate in a wide variety of activities including playing with slime and oobleck to learn how a non-newtonian fluid behaves, reading activities, healthy snacks, and more.
Out-of-School time programs provide youth opportunities to connect with supportive adults, grow positively with peers, and learn to give back to the community. Students who participate in OST programs spend time contributing to community development, lead positive changes in their schools, and have been shown to make significant improvements in behavior and in their academic endeavors. The effort has become a hallmark of the afterschool movement and generates media coverage across the country each year, spreading the message that millions of students need and benefit greatly from quality afterschool programs.
We appreciate APOST, Pittsburgh Public Schools, and all of our parents and partners who came out to support this important work.