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Lights On Afterschool helps students, families see importance of afterschool programming

Thoreau Park Elementary students participate in Lights on Afterschool


December 3, 2018



Parma City School District Discovery Centers shined a spotlight on afterschool programming during the annual Lights On Afterschool event earlier this fall.


Celebrated on October 25, Lights On Afterschool is a nationwide initiative to show the importance of afterschool programming to families and the community.


Thoreau Park Elementary School hosted the event this year, which had five enrichment activities for all ages to create, explore and learn something new.


“We had face painting, a team building exercise, smoothie-making stations, an art therapy activity where they made aromatherapy bags, and a forensic science activity,” described Jennifer Langtry, program manager and site coordinator at Thoreau Park Discovery Center.


“The Parma Collaborative also came and handed out resources and information to our families.”


About 80 people from all four Discovery Center sites – Thoreau Park, Ridge-Brook, Parma Senior High and Valley Forge, attended the event.


Five Guys and Guy’s Pizza also supported the cause by donating 60 cheeseburgers and four sheet pizzas for families to enjoy.


“This is just a great way to celebrate the importance and benefits of afterschool programming in our schools,” shared Megan Drozda, program manager and site coordinator at Valley Forge Discovery Center. “Students are provided with a safe environment where they are able to complete their homework and participate in fun enrichment activities. This event really highlights the students and helps show the community what we are doing after school.”


The main goals of the Discovery Centers are to focus on academics, especially math and reading, credit recovery, social-emotional health, community outreach, youth development, enrichment opportunities and parent involvement.


“Coming up, we are going to do a community service project where we are going to make holiday crafts and then decorate rooms in local nursing homes,” Langtry said. “We have a lot of support from people in the district, our families and the community.”


At the beginning of this school year, Parma City School District received a $200,000 continuation 21st Century Community Learning Centers Grant for the Discovery Centers at Parma Senior and Valley Forge High Schools.  The district also received an $850,000 21st Century Community Centers Grant over five years to start Discovery Centers at Ridge-Brook and Thoreau Park Elementary Schools.


“Afterschool programming is important because it connects to the school day and assists students in areas that they are struggling in, but it also provides an opportunity for them to participate in extracurricular activities that they may not be exposed to in their everyday life,” Ava Yeager, director of federal programs at the Parma City School District described.



PHOTO CAPTION:  Students and families have some fun together at Lights On Afterschool, held at Thoreau Park Elementary on October 25.  The nationwide program highlights the importance of afterschool programs for families, students and the community.