Boys and Girls Club of Rochester Celebrates 'Lights on Afterschool' Day

All across the nation after-school programs are celebrating the positive impact they’re making on children’s lives with “Lights on Afterschool” day. Time Warner Cable News reporter Tara Grimes shares what local organizations say that impact is.

ROCHESTER, N.Y. -- Every day after school, Kaliyah Rozier, 12, enjoys coming to the Boys and Girls Club of Rochester.

“There’s art,” Rozier said. “There’s a gym. In the gym we play dodge ball, kickball and football and stuff like that. In the game room there’s a bunch of games. We have an AR room, accelerated reader and you can read any book you want.”

While the kids see it as just fun, organization leaders say research shows the exposure to learning and socializing with other children is doing much more for them than just bringing them excitement.

On Thursday, the Boys and Girls Club of Rochester joined the nation in celebrating “Lights on Afterschool" day. These events recognize the important role after-school programs play in children’s lives.

“Research usually indicates that kids that are in after-school programs tend to do better during the school day, better with their character, they make better decisions,” said Boys and Girls Club of Rochester Executive Director Dwayne Mahoney. “The more kids we can get in after school, the more attention we can get to the issue of getting kids in after-school (programs) is really important for all of us.”

Not only do after-school programs contribute to a child’s development, but they also help to keep them out of trouble. National statistics show from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. juvenile crime escalates and 11.3 million children are left unsupervised.

“Data shows that kids that are involved in after-school programming are not involved in crime, they are actively engaged, they are doing service learning, they are participating in their neighborhoods,” said Christina Dandino, Greater Rochester after-school alliance director.

However, Dandino said she wishes more children could take advantage of these programs. Currently she says funding only allows enough after school program slots for about 30 percent of Rochester’s children.

“I love it when I know that young people are excited about where they are, having the opportunity to develop their social skills, their friendships and having the opportunity to try new things that they might not get to do otherwise,” Dandino said.

Rozier couldn’t agree more.

“A lot of people’s parents work for a long time so if they’re not at a place like the Boys and Girls Club they could be anywhere really,” Rozier said. “So that’s why I think this is a great place.”

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