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Contact(s):Truman Tolefree
501-371-4770

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE :
Thursday, October 18, 2007

MAYOR STODOLA, LITTLE ROCK PARKS HOST RALLY TO PROMOTE AFTERSCHOOL PROGRAMS

(Little Rock, AR – October 23, 2007) Little Rock City Hall was filled with cheers as children and community leaders joined today at a Lights On Afterschool rally – one of 7,500 such events across the nation. These events emphasize the importance of keeping the lights on and the doors open for afterschool programs.

Little Rock Lights On Afterschool participants saw students cheer, sing, and perform, while Mayor Mark Stodola and Paul Kelly the Chair of the Arkansas Out of School Network, discussed the importance of afterschool programs.

The nationwide events marked the eighth annual Lights On Afterschool, sponsored by the Afterschool Alliance. Among the participants in Thursday’s program were the Stephens Stars cheer squad from Stephens Community Center; poetry reading by Stephanie Smith and Xavier Little from the East Little Rock Community Center; and music performed by Michael Grimes Jr., of the Dunbar Community Center.

“Lights On Afterschool celebrates the remarkable work being done by students who attend our afterschool programs,” Mayor Stodola told the crowd. “It is a powerful reminder that afterschool programs keep children safe and help them learn, while relieving working parents of worries about how their children spend their afternoons.

“We are all so proud of our afterschool students,” said City Manager Bruce T. Moore. “There's no reason that learning should stop at 3 pm, particularly if the alternative is unsupervised time in front of a television set, or any of the dangerous or unhealthy behaviors that can ensnare children in the afternoons.

Lights On Afterschool is a nationwide event to recognize the critical importance of quality afterschool programs in the lives of children, their families and communities. It is a project of the Afterschool Alliance – a nonprofit public awareness and advocacy organization working to ensuring that all children have access to quality afterschool programs. More information on the Alliance and Lights On Afterschool is available at www.afterschoolalliance.org.

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