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A Petition, 'Making a Difference,' and Lights On

There's plenty going on in the after-school world these days—so much so that I'm having trouble keeping up. Here are a few highlights:

The Afterschool Alliance has just organized an online petition to keep funding for the federal 21st Century Community Learning Centers program targeted to after-school initiatives: "Please, support children and working families by increasing funding for after-school programs and by making sure that after-school funding goes only to after school, before school, and summer learning programs," the petition states in part. (As readers of this blog know, a Senate spending bill would allow the 21st Century program to support longer school days, as well, and that has stirred controversy.)

Speaking of a longer school day ... One of the organizations that does support the expansion of 21st Century funding was recently featured on the NBC Nightly News. Citizen Schools, a Boston-based nonprofit that puts volunteers into select schools to work with students, was featured in this "Making a Difference" piece. It's worth checking out.

Meanwhile, my colleague, Erik Robelen, blogged yesterday about the White House Science Fair. While not explicitly about after school, the event is one of several that President Obama has hosted to boost students' interest in science, math, and technology. Read through the full White House press release, and you'll see a range of amazing student projects, many of which must have involved after-school effort.

And, of course, don't forget that "Lights On Afterschool" takes place Thursday. The 11th annual Lights On is designed to draw attention to the need for high-quality after-school programs nationwide; this year, some 7,500 Lights-On events are planned nationwide, the Afterschool Alliance reports. Even the Empire State Building will take part—lighting up in yellow on Thursday evening in honor of Lights On.

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