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Monday, Dec 22, 2014

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Kids on Campus shines Lights On Afterschool this week


Think back to elementary and middle school—class periods, school bells, hallways, buses. While some children count down the minutes until their parent arrives in the school pickup line, anxious to get home and snack on freshly prepared brownies, other students are less eager.

According to the America After 3PM report, across the United States, 15.1 million children – more than a quarter of America's children – are alone and unsupervised after school every day.

The report found that the parents of 18 million children would enroll their students in an afterschool program, if only one were available.

Kids on Campus strives to do just that. To celebrate and promote worldwide afterschool programs, the organization is participating in the national event Lights On Afterschool, which is organized by Afterschool Alliance. Kids on Campus is partnering with Ohio Afterschool Network (OAN) Tuesday, Oct. 16 and Thursday, Oct. 18 to shine a light on the benefits of afterschool programming.

Studies show that engaging students afterschool leads to better school attendance and academic achievement, keeps children safe and advances nutrition.

"After school programs improve children's social skills, behavior within the classroom and at home as well as their math and reading skills as a whole," said Kids on Campus Manager Timarie Francis. "It reaches the student as a whole, helping our underserved population."

Kids on Campus was established as a summer feeding program on the Ohio University Athens campus in 1996 by the College of Health Sciences and Professions when Ann Teske, a professor interested in childhood nutrition, noticed that children returning from summer break often weighed less. She realized that many students in Appalachian Ohio depended on their school's free lunch program and were not being adequately fed during the summer months when lunch programs were not available.

In response, she created a six-week summer camp around nutrition, providing children with a healthy breakfast, lunch and snack five days a week. Since then, Kids on Campus has expanded to include an afterschool program at multiple Athens County elementary, middle and high school locations.

"There is a large nutritional element to Kids on Campus to make sure the children get a snack everyday, but there is also homework help, math and reading intervention and hands-on enrichment activities," said Francis.

The Lights On Afterschool open house will give community members, parents and children an opportunity to recognize the support and empowerment Kids on Campus provides for local children.

"Lights On Afterschool will feature fantastic activities for the kids – a small hands-on craft that incorporates a light bulb, our "mascot," and a tour of the site for the parents to see where their children are spending time during the program," said Francis.

To attend the Lights On Afterschool open house, visit Coolville Elementary on Tuesday, Oct. 16 at 4:30 p.m. On Thursday, Oct. 18, you can visit Trimble Elementary at 3:45 p.m. or Amesville Elementary at 4:30 p.m. To learn more about volunteering with Kids on Campus, click here.