The 12th Annual Lights On event to celebrate afterschool programs was held throughout the past week this year at Castleberg Park, with a specific day set aside for each school site to enjoy an afternoon at the park.
The national event is held to highlight the significant contributions that the afterschool programs make within the community including kids’ safety, promoting good health, learning and keeping parents worry free regarding their children’s activities after school.
Project A.C.T.I.O.N. (Afterschool Care Together In Our Neighborhoods) advisors along with Araseli Zamora, Program/Grant Manager hosted four celebrations at Castleberg Park including Mesa Verde Elementary on Monday, Oct. 22; Riverbank Language Academy on Wednesday, Cardozo Middle School on Thursday, and California Avenue Elementary on Friday, Oct. 26.
“Lights On celebrates afterschool programs and their important role in the lives of children, families and communities,” stated Zamora.
She noted the celebration that is usually held at California Avenue Elementary for all school sites on the national celebration day was changed this year to Castleberg Park due to staffing limitations.
“After school programs may celebrate Lights On in many ways, for example, a rally, carnival, science fair, health and wellness, family literacy event, go green, talent show, etc.,” added Zamora. “We are excited to provide something different to our students this year. Program sites will celebrate Lights On at the park on different days because of safety precautions. It is not ideal to have 400-plus students at the park on one day.”
The activities also varied for each school site on the different days and included an obstacle course, sack race, dodge ball, music-based activities, a performance by Riverbank High School cheerleaders, hula hoop, face painting, a donut string contest, pie eating contest, light bulb art, graffiti wall, mini-pumpkin painting and rock painting, all designed to offer some fun and promote mental health in youth.
There were parents, students, district staff, as well as community partners that attended the event and a few that assisted in putting on the celebration.
“Staff and students look forward to a day of outdoor fun,” explained Zamora. “We would like to thank those who were able to donate items, and volunteer on this special day. Furthermore, we would like to thank the community for the ongoing support of our Project A.C.T.I.O.N. after school program.”