Keeping the “Lights On”


          “Nothing can dim the light which shines from within.” Maya Angelou, American poet and rights activist.

           Highfields’ Reaching Higher after school program celebrated a special day on October 24th called ‘Lights On.’ It's a nationwide celebration that symbolizes how after-school programs keep the lights on for children after regular school hours.

          From national studies, children not involved in after school programs are three times more likely to skip class, and engage in use of drugs, alcohol or sexual activity. Parents have commented that their children are less stressed, have fewer unscheduled absences and are more productive.

         ‘Lights On’ focuses on bringing awareness to communities, educators and policymakers. The state of Michigan participated by asking several energy companies to light their buildings blue, one of those companies being the Board of Water and Light in Lansing.

        During the ‘Lights On’ event, Reaching Higher students at Attwood school were able to participate in activities like archery, cooking and finding geodes.

        Other locations took field trips to apple orchards, and play board games with parents and family members.

         Cari, Attwood School Reaching Higher coordinator in Lansing, believes in the value after school programs bring to the lives of children.

        “Reaching Higher provides an excellent opportunity for students to remain in a safe place while building skills that will help them later in life,” said Cari.

         Assistant Project Director for Reaching Higher, Kelley Deck, agrees:

         “After school programs give children a chance to experience social interactions they might not engage in during the normal school day.”

         Thanks to programs like Reaching Higher, parents and teachers see changes in attendance, behavior and academic success. Kids like Zanyla, Callin and Natalee, get the chance to discover who they are. After school programs enhance the lives of children and families in so many ways.

         “Our students get skills, support and incredible opportunities that wouldn't be possible without after school programming!” said Cari.

 Highfields offers 8 local Reaching Higher programs in Lansing and Jackson, where students participate in homework help, academic time, cooking, STEM activities, health and fitness, sports, financial literacy, and positive behavior skills.

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