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Pennsylvania Capitol Lights Up for National "Lights On Afterschool" Celebrations

PSAYDN recognizes newly established entrepreneurial YouthHubs during the events

HARRISBURG, Pa., Oct. 24, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- The Pennsylvania Statewide Afterschool/Youth Development Network (PSAYDN) announced today that nearly 300 programs across the state will sponsor Lights On Afterschool events on Thursday, October 24, 2019. Leaders in Pennsylvania call for expanding afterschool opportunities so that every child who needs a program has access to one.

The Pennsylvania Capitol will be lit in yellow as a celebration gesture for the event and in coordination with the iconic Empire State Building, which will light up the New York City skyline in support of Lights On Afterschool.

Governor Tom Wolf has proclaimed October 24 as Lights On Afterschool Day in recognition of the important role of afterschool programs in Pennsylvania. In his proclamation, Governor Wolf encourages the expansion of innovative programs and activities to ensure that the lights stay on and the doors stay open for all children after school. Governor Wolf stressed, "Quality afterschool programs provide support of the whole child and their development of social and emotional competencies such as problem solving, critical thinking and interpersonal skills. These programs provide invaluable support to working families by ensuring their children are safe and productive after the regular school day ends."

Lights On Afterschool celebrations included the special announcement of three newly established youth innovation and entrepreneurial hubs, known as Pennsylvania YouthHubs, across the state. With generous funding by the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, PSAYDN recognized Sunrise of Philadelphia, Inc. in Philadelphia County; YouthPlaces, Inc. in Allegheny County and the Central Pennsylvania Institute for Science and Technology, which will oversee an 11-county region in and surrounding Centre County, as the first YouthHubs in the commonwealth. Two of the YouthHubs will host ribbon-cutting events during Lights On celebrations. 

The first of their kind in the state, YouthHubs build a broad-based, coordinated system of entrepreneurial programming for and by youth and serve as a fusion of strategies within workforce development; the arts, culture and design; and community revitalization. Led by the informal learning community and youth, the YouthHubs create a motivational environment where educators, students and community partners can nurture entrepreneurial creativity while learning from each other, making connections, developing new skills and being inspired to reach their full potential.

"PSAYDN is thrilled to announce the development of Pennsylvania YouthHubs. The three awarded Hubs—Sunrise of Philadelphia, Inc., Youthplaces, Inc. and the Central PA Institute for Science and Technology—will lead the state in providing the infrastructure to support increased awareness of youth entrepreneurship and career pathway opportunities, along with increased accessibility and equity opportunities for children, youth and families," said PSAYDN director Laura Saccente

As part of PSAYDN's efforts to prepare students for their next step, each YouthHub will be utilizing the Tallo platform to connect participants with opportunities around the state and country. Students showcase talents and skills on their free Tallo profile so that colleges, companies and scholarship providers can identify and connect with them on the app. Tallo and PSAYDN are working together to tailor the Tallo user experience to the exact needs of the YouthHub students so that they get the best possible results from the platform.

The Lights On events highlight three of the significant contributions that afterschool programs make to Pennsylvania communities: keeping kids safe and healthy, inspiring them to learn, and relieving working parents of worries about their children's activities during the afternoon hours. The day also signifies a call to work with policymakers to ensure more programs and funding for afterschool are available.

Participants in the Lights On Afterschool events include state legislators, mayors, school superintendents, as well as local business leaders, educators, parents and other officials. Attendees will see students conduct science experiments, contribute to family engagement activities, perform athletic events, participate in games, the arts, music and showcases of other talent.

"We thank Governor Wolf and the Pennsylvania legislature for proclaiming their support for afterschool programs across Pennsylvania," Saccente said. "These programs play a vital role in the lives of students and families, and in building stronger communities by helping to provide safe, challenging and engaging learning experiences that youth need to succeed in the classroom and prepare for long-term success."

Lights On Afterschool celebrates the extraordinary work being done by students who attend afterschool programs. "It is a powerful reminder that afterschool programs offer a range of supports to schools, children and families," Saccente added. "Learning does not end at 3 p.m.; but unfortunately, Pennsylvania does not have enough afterschool programs and too many kids are home alone in the afternoons or find themselves in unsafe environments. Let's change that."

Launched in October 2000, Lights On Afterschool is the only nationwide event celebrating afterschool programs. The effort has become a hallmark of the afterschool movement and annually sees more than 1 million Americans participate at more than 8,000 events nationwide. Pennsylvania is ranked sixth nationally in the number of registered Lights On Afterschool celebrations. A complete list of Pennsylvania celebrations is available at www.afterschoolalliance.org/loa

Follow Pennsylvania Lights On Afterschool events on Twitter: @PSAYDN and @Center_Schools #LightsOnAfterschool.

About PSAYDN
PSAYDN promotes sustainable, high-quality out-of-school time youth development programs through advocacy and capacity building to enhance the welfare of Pennsylvania's children, youth and families. PSAYDN is an initiative of Center for Schools and Communities. Learn more at www.psaydn.org.

About Tallo
Tallo is an online platform that connects talent with opportunities. The Tallo app assists students in designing a career pathway, educators in recruiting top talent to their schools, and employers in developing a stable, continuous talent pipeline. Students (age 13+) and professionals showcase their skills and abilities in their online profile, connect directly with companies and colleges looking for the next generation of talent, and match with over $20 billion in scholarships.

Media contact: Aylissa Kiely; 717-903-0219; akiely.tyndale@csc.csiu.org

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SOURCE Pennsylvania Statewide Afterschool/Youth Development Network (PSAYDN)