Oct 13 2016 | 05:36:25 PM

Lights On Afterschool pep rally celebrates, raises awareness for afterschool

Greater Houston rallies for afterschool during the Lights On Afterschool! national celebration for out-of-school time on Oct. 20 from 1:30-2 p.m. at the Houston Texans YMCA, 5202 Griggs Road.

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Mayor Sylvester Turner supports the cause as keynote, and several youth give their testimonials about how afterschool has influenced their lives. The event is hosted by the Greater Houston Lights On Alliance and is staged to be a high-energy event complete with cheerleaders and ceremonial fanfare.

“Afterschool programs meet a basic need for a majority of Harris County families, and we recognize and celebrate it,” said Harris County Department of Education’s Center for Afterschool, Summer and Enrichment for Kids Director Lisa Thompson-Caruthers.  “The city of Houston is an ongoing supporter of afterschool education, and we’re thankful for that support.”

City leaders support afterschool by investing funding in each council district to support programs provided by nonprofits. This school year, City Council invested $550,000 into programs.

Members of the Greater Houston Lights On Alliance include the YMCA of Greater Houston, the City of Houston, Texas, Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Houston, South East Texas After-School Association (SETAA), United Way of Greater Houston, Houston Independent School District, HCDE’s CASE for Kids, Harris County Precinct 2, the After-School Achievement Program and the Houston Parks & Recreation Department.

As an afterschool intermediary, CASE for Kids provides resources, trainings and funding for students in grades pre-k through 12 in afterschool programs in schools, child care facilities and community centers. CASE for Kids, a branch of Harris County Department of Education, was founded in 1999 with a goal to keep kids safe, help working families and improve academic achievement.

CASE for Kids plans celebrations with students, families and staff at three afterschool locations Oct. 20:

Alief Independent School District, Best Elementary, 10000 Centre Parkway, Houston, 77036, 5 p.m.
Description: Stations will be set up in different areas on campus including making healthy snacks, creating/writing stories, and discovering healthy lifestyles with exercise.
Aldine Independent School District, Francis Elementary, 14815 Lee Road, Houston, 77032, 5 p.m.
Description: Living light bulb to celebrate Lights On Afterschool! with humans outlining the shape.

Sheldon Independent School District, Null Middle School, 12117 Garrett Rd., Houston, 77044, 6-7 p.m. Description: Five schools join in to participate in glow-in-the-dark Zumba sessions and goal-writing sessions with goals being launched in balloons.

About the Center for Afterschool, Summer and Enrichment for Kids or CASE for Kids: CASE for Kids, formerly the Cooperative for After-School Enrichment, was launched by Harris County Department of Education in 1999. CASE for Kids is an after-school intermediary which leverages community resources and strengthens the capacity of the out-of-school time field. Services benefit approximately 12,000 kids in greater Harris County. CASE for Kids programs happen before and after school, on weekends and during the summer. Go to www.afterschoolzone.org for information.  

About Harris County Department of Education (HCDE): Serving students, teachers, schools and communities throughout Harris County, HCDE is a local governmental organization providing value for school districts while supporting educational opportunity. Partnering with Harris County school districts, HCDE maximizes local resources and responds to the needs of locally elected school boards and education leaders. HCDE services include school-based therapy for students, afterschool programs, Head Start, educator training, adult education and programs to promote safe schools. To learn more about how your county department of education can help you: www.hcde-texas.org.