Event puts spotlight on after-school programs

By Ashley Lee: PNT Staff Writer

The second annual Lights on After School celebration in Portales is being held Thursday at the Portales Recreation Center.

The national event is being co-sponsored locally by the Youth Opportunity Center and the Portales Recreation Center.
The national event was started in 2000 with over 1,000 communities and in 2005 there were 7,500 communities participating. This event is celebrated to call attention to the importance of after school programs, according to a YOC press release.

“We want to bring nationwide attention to the importance of after school programming,” said John Ledbetter, director of the Portales Recreation Center.

“The Youth Opportunity Center is a regional partner with New Forum for Youth in Albuquerque to promote positive youth programs, they found out about the National Lights on After School event and talked to partners and asked them to participate,” said Janine S. Elder, career coordinator for the Youth Opportunity Center.

More than 200 people attended last year’s event, according to Elder, and she’s hoping for a bigger turnout this year.

The event is from 5-7 p.m. and consists of games, contests and a closing ceremony. This year, children will be able to decorate light bulbs to hang around the center. There will also be pool and fooseball contests, she said.

Elder can be reached at 356-5631 or e-mail at yoc.yucca.net.