Syracuse Parks & Rec Centers Participate in 20th Annual National Lights On Afterschool Campaign

Syracuse, N.Y. – The City of Syracuse Department of Parks, Recreation & Youth Programs neighborhood centers will participate in the national Lights On Afterschool campaign.

Lights On Afterschool is a nationwide event celebrating after-school programs and the importance of safe spaces where recreational activities are provided to children once school is out. During this year’s celebration, Parks & Recreation centers will do a Lightbulb Challenge on Thursday, Oct. 24. Children from the eight centers in the City will pose as human lightbulbs, posting their pictures online and encouraging the community to follow the campaign using the #LightsOnAfterschool and #LightBulbChallenge hashtags.

“Our centers offer youth in Syracuse the opportunity to occupy their time with programs that help them succeed in school and at home,” said Jimmy Oliver, deputy commissioner of the Parks department. “Initiatives like Lights On Afterschool bring awareness to the kind of resources youth have access to that can ultimately change the course of their lives for the better.”

Lights On Afterschool is a project of the Afterschool Alliance, a nonprofit organization providing access to quality afterschool programs to children and youth. In honor of 20 years of offering healthy alternatives to children and families, Lights On Afterschool is being sponsored by the Nickelodeon, KIND and Clear Channel. The cable network is also celebrating 20 years of the popular cartoon SpongeBob SquarePants.

Hours immediately after school see an increase in juvenile crime according to a new report from law enforcement representatives from the Fight Crime: Invest in Kids organization.

“I’m very proud of the emphasis our Parks department has put on creating safe spaces and enriching programming for our youth,” said Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh. “From our Police Department to our Fire Department, City employees volunteer and engage in after-school programs regularly to promote youth development and create opportunities for our children.”

The report, “From Risk to Opportunity: Afterschool Programs Keep Kids Safe,” outlines the benefits of programs made available to youth often not under adult supervision during peak times.

On Thursday evening, Oct. 24, City Hall will be lit up blue in support of the movement.