National Billboard Campaign from Clear Channel Outdoor Will Support the 23rd Annual Lights On Afterschool
Washington, D.C., September 29, 2022 – The Afterschool Alliance, the National League of Cities, and the National Summer Learning Association are joining Clear Channel Outdoor (NYSE: CCO) for a broad-based visibility campaign across nearly 2,000 digital billboards nationwide for this year’s Lights On Afterschool rally. The ads recognize the remarkable work afterschool programs are doing to support youth and families, from addressing children’s social and mental health needs, to keeping students safe and learning when schools are closed, to providing meals and other supports to those in need.
Now in its 23rd year, Lights On Afterschool is the only national rally for afterschool programs. Throughout October, and on October 20, when the official Lights On Afterschool rally will take place, programs across the country are holding events focused on academics, science and technology, arts and music, sports and fitness, community service, and more. The events send the message that demand for afterschool programs is high, too many students are without programs, and the pandemic has exacerbated staff and funding shortages.
Some 24.7 million U.S. children not in an afterschool program would be enrolled, if a program were available to them, according to a survey of 1,500 parents commissioned by the Afterschool Alliance and conducted by Edge Research in May and June of 2022. That is the highest number ever recorded. Unmet demand for afterschool programs is significantly higher among Latino and Black children (at 60% and 54% respectively) than among children overall (49%). Cost is the top barrier to enroll, cited by 57% of parents as a reason for not enrolling their child. Ninety percent of parents rate the quality of the program their child attends as excellent (51%) or very good (39%).
Lights On Afterschool serves as a reminder that a large and powerful body of evidence demonstrates improvements in grades, school attendance, behavior, and more among children who participate in afterschool programs. Researchers have also found that students in afterschool programs are more engaged in school and excited about learning, and develop critical work and life skills such as problem solving, teamwork, and communications.
Organized by the Afterschool Alliance, Lights On Afterschool includes events organized by schools, 4-Hs, Boys & Girls Clubs, YMCAs, cities, parks, museums, community centers, and others. Events this year will showcase the skills students gain and the talents they develop in their afterschool programs, which provide help with homework; skilled mentors; art, dance and music; healthy snacks and meals; computer programming; opportunities to think critically, collaborate and communicate with peers and adults; job and college readiness; sports and fitness activities; robotics; and opportunities for hands-on, team-based learning.
Clear Channel Outdoor is supporting Lights On Afterschool by donating some of its most prominent space to display afterschool messages on digital billboards, bus shelters, and poster spaces in 25 markets around the country throughout the month of October. On October 20, Clear Channel will feature afterschool messages on two jumbo billboards in New York City’s Times Square and will bathe Boston’s South Street Station in blue and yellow on October 20 in honor of Lights On Afterschool, complementing a similar lighting of the iconic Empire State Building that evening. Supporters also will be lighting up local landmarks and buildings across the country to show their support for afterschool programs.
“Clear Channel Outdoor’s support for afterschool is extraordinary, and the afterschool movement is grateful for all the company does to recognize the tremendous work afterschool programs are doing to boost kids and families during these tough times,” said Afterschool Alliance Executive Director Jodi Grant. “Lights On Afterschool celebrates the essential work afterschool programs do to keep kids safe, inspire them to learn, and give working parents peace of mind that their children are safe and supervised after the school day ends. We are proud to have Clear Channel Outdoor helping make this event a success again this year.”
“The National League of Cities is proud to celebrate and uplift Lights On Afterschool. Local elected officials have long been champions of afterschool programming and the positive impact these programs have on young people, their families and communities every day,” said NLC CEO and Executive Director Clarence E. Anthony. “Over the course of the pandemic, city leaders have deeply relied on these programs to feed children, keep them safe and active, provide learning and enrichment opportunities, and support working families. Many cities have invested their own local American Rescue Plan dollars to expand programs and serve more young people. NLC is excited to partner with the Afterschool Alliance to encourage mayors to light up their city halls or city landmarks or issue a proclamation in honor of Lights On Afterschool.”
“National Summer Learning Association is proud to join with Afterschool Alliance and so many other inspiring organizations to celebrate the importance of providing afterschool and summer learning programs to every child in America. Now is the time for all adults to step up and meet the growing needs of all children bouncing back from the Covid pandemic. Celebrating Lights On Afterschool reminds America we should continue to invest in kids not just in times of emergency but in all years to come,” said Aaron Philip Dworkin, CEO, National Summer Learning Association.
“Afterschool programs play a vital role in keeping young people safe, engaged and inspired during school, after school and beyond, while providing them with opportunities for success. However, unmet demand for these programs continues to soar,” said Dan Levi, EVP & CMO, Clear Channel Outdoor. “We’re proud to join our partners in celebrating Lights On Afterschool to deliver the message that, now more than ever, America’s youth needs access to high-quality afterschool programs.”