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After-school programs turn lights on for families

After-school programs turn lights on for families After-school programs turn lights on for families

By Ginna Young

As part of the nationwide Lights On Afterschool (Oct. 24), the Lake Holcombe and Cornell after-school programs will hold showcases of student achievements.

Lake Holcombe’s event is set for Monday, Oct. 28, at 4:30 p.m., in the elementary IMC, while Cornell’s event takes place Tuesday, Nov. 5, from 4:30-5 p.m., in the elementary IMC.

For parents and community members who have never experienced a Lights On event, they may wonder what it is all about.

“It’s just celebrating and bringing attention to after-school programs across the nation,” said Kathleen Eddy, Lake Holcombe After-School program coordinator.

Launched in October 2000, Lights On is a nationwide event, celebrating after-school programs and their important role in the lives of children, families and communities.

Some may think after-school programs are there simply to provide homework help for children, but Eddy says afterschool is so much more than that.

“We offer STEM activities and other kinds of enrichment… they do lots of crafty things,” said Eddy. “We bring in outside speakers to talk…it’s very much needed.”

Jenny Blaisdell, family education coordinator, agrees and hopes many will attend the two events.

“Cornell After-School program provides a safe place for students, but it’s so much more,” said Blaisdell. “This event is a fun way to evidence the wide variety of hands-on, project- based learning that defines quality after-school programming.”

As part of the Lake Holcombe event, special guests include superintendent Kurt Lindau and members of the school board.

The after-school program in Lake Holcombe currently serves 39 youth, providing learning opportunities and a safe haven, during the hours of 3:30-5:45 p.m., Monday through Thursday.

At the present, Cornell’s After-School has 82 students enrolled, spending time from after the bell rings to 6:15 p.m.

“After-school programs help kids learn and grow, keep them safe and give parents peace of mind,” said Eddy. “We focus on strengthening academic achievement and social growth, in an enjoyable and nurturing environment.”

For Cornell’s event, visitors should use the Fifth Street entrance at the elementary school, as a safe check-in. There, students will show off the things they’ve learned over the past eight weeks.

“Each of the grade groups get a chance to demonstrate in their own way,” said Blaisdell. “With new faces for almost half of our team this year, we’re excited to connect parents and after-school leaders, as they show off some fresh new ideas.”

All community members are invited to attend and those who do, will have a chance to win a $25 KJ’s Fresh Market gift card at each event.

To learn more about the Lights On happenings or to sign up for after-school, contact Eddy at 715-595-4241, ext. 249, and Blaisdell at 715-861-6960.