After-school programs celebrated

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Youth, parents, supporters, business and community leaders came together recently to celebrate the importance of after-school programs.

The rally, held at BUILD headquarters at 5100 W. Harrison, drew attention to the need for more after-school programs to serve the millions of children nationwide who are unsupervised and at risk each weekday afternoon.

The Oct. 22nd gathering was one of more than 9,000 such events across the nation emphasizing the importance of keeping the lights on and the doors open for after-school programs and the need for more funding.

The program included the showing of a short film “For the Love of Mom,” which depicts the heartache and agony two mothers faced as they learn about the tragic and unexpected death of their children. (Here’s more about the 27-minute film.)

Cook County Commissioner Robert Steele, film director Mike Oquendo, parents and students discussed the film and the importance of after-school programs.

This year marked the 14th annual “Lights On Afterschool,” sponsored by the Afterschool Alliance. More than 1 million Americans took part in the nationwide rally to support after-school programs.

“Lights On Afterschool celebrates the remarkable work being done by students who attend after-school programs all across the city,” Dr. Roslind Blasingame-Buford, BUILD’s executive director, told the crowd gathered in South Austin.

In light of these ongoing challenges, BUILD has continued to deliver holistic, best-practices programming that provides a pathway for youth to move from being “at risk” to “at hope.”

Photo 2: BUILD youth hold Banner during Peace March held after event, capping a great evening.

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