Cumberland Times-News

October 14, 2012

Lights On

Children benefit from after-school programs

Cumberland Times-News

— The positive impact after-school programs can have on students is often overlooked. A nationwide Lights On Afterschool event will be held this Thursday to draw attention to the success of the programs.

After-school programs support working families by ensuring that children are safe and productive when the school day ends. So-called latchkey kids who have no place or parent to go to after school are often times shortchanged both socially and academically.

Two Lights On Afterschool programs will be held in Garrett County Thursday, featuring an open house with food, fun and entertainment. One will be at Accident Elementary School from 5 to 6 p.m. and is for the Partners After School groups from Accident and Grantsville. The other will be held at Southern Middle School in Oakland, also from 5 to 6 p.m., for Partners After School at Oakland.

After-school program advocates said 28 percent of K-12 students in Maryland are responsible for taking care of themselves after school. In West Virginia, 21 percent of those students are alone when returning home after school.

Students and parents who have an after-school program available to them are able to participate in activities such as homework assistance, academic and cultural enrichment activities, youth development activities, and risky behavior prevention efforts. All of this is done through programs that support working families by making sure children are given an opportunity to discover their talents and to grow academically and socially.

Parents can learn more about the Garrett County after-school programs by contacting the Garrett County Local Management Board at 301-334-7445.