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Washington Helping Students Keep Lights On Afterschool

Students across Washington will be participating in educational activities as part of Lights on Afterschool day. Credit: School's Out Washington
Students across Washington will be participating in educational activities as part of Lights on Afterschool day. Credit: School's Out Washington
October 22, 2015

LONGVIEW, Wa. - After the final school bell rings today, students from Washington and across the country will still be continuing their educations. That's because many students will be participating in after-school programs.

It's all part of Gov. Jay Inslee's declaration that Oct. 22 is "Lights On Afterschool Day."

Kim Hogue, program director at Youth and Family Link in Longview, says groups such as hers are helping kids who do not have a lot of opportunities.

"I have so many kids who I have taken through programs throughout the years, and now I see them and they're going to college," says Hogue. "And these are kids that when they started the program, had no idea they could ever go to college, because nobody in their family ever did."

Hogue says the majority of her students come from low-income families, and many of those students are considered at-risk. According to School's Out Washington, if these students have access to high-quality after-school and youth-development programs, they're less likely to get involved with drugs, crime or other risky behaviors.

These programs also have been found to help kids with their studies during the regular school day.

Researchers at the Afterschool Alliance found that only about 17 percent of the state's students are enrolled in these programs. But more could be reached if more public funding was made available. Hogue says while after-school activities are helping students, the programs could also use more help themselves.

"For us, the Lights On has really been helping our community become aware of what programs are available for those kids and helping our politicians know that to do that, we need people to be aware that we need to keep these 'lights on' after school," says Hogue.

For today's after-school event, Youth and Family Link invited the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry to help kids brush up on their science and math skills. Students from kindergarten to eighth grade will be participating in 15 hands-on workshops, focused on such topics as basic chemistry, math, health and nutrition.

Brandon Campbell, Public News Service - WA