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Lights On Afterschool Celebrated at Midtown YWCA

By Caitlin Aldridge, YWCA of Minneapolis Girls and Youth Program Director
October 27, 2014
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On Thursday, October 23, YWCA of Minneapolis Girls and Youth Department celebrated Lights On Afterschool in our lobby at the Midtown location. We talked with more than 100 youth and families about the importance of quality afterschool programming. LOA is a national event, and this year, Minnesota hosted 90 events across the state (beating Wisconsin!). Did you see the 35W or Lowery Avenue Bridges? They were both lit up in gold to honor the event.

Girls and Youth Department’s Youth Mashup leaders Jocelyn Cruz-Mestizo and Giovanni Molina engaged YWCA members in a spin on our interactive game wheel. The wheel had a mix of physical challenges (20 squats, 30 jumping jacks or 10 lunges) and questions about out-of-school time. Try your knowledge (answers at bottom of this post):

  1. Afterschool programs help foster physical, emotional and _______ health in youth.
  2. What is an afterschool program?
  3. Name an afterschool program run by the YWCA’s Girls and Youth Department.
  4. Name one way in which afterschool programs support student success?
  5. True or False: Youth that participate in after school programs have improved school attendance and engagement in learning.
  6. What is one way that afterschool programs prepare youth for the 21st century?
  7. What percentage of youth (k-12) in Minnesota are responsible for taking care of themselves after school?
  8. True or False: Afterschool programs help keep youth safe?
Everyone won a prize (YWCA swag, healthy snacks or a Lights-On-Afterschool flashing light), and each signed a petition we will be sending to Governor Dayton. The petition speaks to how vital afterschool programs are to our community, that these programs provide our youth with enriching opportunities to grow into successful adults and a space to build positive relationships. Additionally, Governor Dayton issued a proclamation declaring the day Lights On Afterschool Day in Minnesota, and many local mayors and city councils followed suit.

Please look for the Girls and Youth Department to host another exciting event next year and join us in the celebration. Thanks to everyone that came out to honor this great night with us: YWCA members, swimmers, youth, staff and our fellow youth advocates.


Want more information? Please see the following documents:

Investing in Minnesota’s Success: The Power of Afterschool

Afterschool: A Path to College & Career Readiness

21st Century Community Learning Centers

A Million People Rally Today to Keep the Lights On After School


  1. Mental (or as one of the youth we talked to added, Sexual Health)
  2. Activities that take place outside the school day or during summer. Offer a range of experiences from tutoring, sports, clubs, etc. They allow youth to experiment and discover their interest in unique learning environments.
  3. Girls Inc., Girls Rap, Strong Fast Fit, Beacons, or Contact Plus
  4. Improve academic performance; or Narrow opportunity gap; or Foster positive youth outcomes (collaboration skills, self-confidence, a sense of urgency, and more).
  5. True!
  6. Provide hands on experiences that ignite passions, or connect interest to college and career opportunities, or develop skills for the new economy.
  7. 32%
  8. True! By providing them with a safe space to go it help keep youth safe, and helps their families.