October 20, 2009

News Release

For Immediate Release

Rally on Thursday Supports Afterschool Programs

The Springfield-Greene County Park Board, Boys & Girls Clubs of Springfield and the Ozarks Regional YMCA will hold a “Lights On Afterschool” rally from 6 – 8 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 22, at McGregor Elementary, 1221 W. Madison St., to highlight significant contributions afterschool programs make in Springfield.

Speakers will call for expanding afterschool opportunities, so that every child in the area who needs a program has access to one, and will also discuss the harm that could result from budget cuts. “The federal government’s 21st Century Community Learning Centers (CCLC) funding sponsors many of the afterschool programs here in Springfield and around the state,” said Schools-Parks Are Reaching Communities Coordinator (SPARC) Sandra Pratt. “Our organizations’ goal is to bring awareness to the need of continued sustainable funding that will provide these afterschool services, which have proven to keep our kids safe.”

The event will highlight three of the significant contributions afterschool programs make to Springfield: keeping kids safe and healthy, helping them to learn, and relieving parents of worries about their children’s activities during the afterschool hours.

Speakers will include: Rosanne Bentley, Greene County Commission; Dr. Peggy Riggs, Springfield Public Schools; Vicki Robinson, JCPenney Afterschool Coach; local business leaders, educators, and other officials.

The rally is one of more than 5,000 such events being held around the nation to mark the 10th annual Lights On Afterschool initiative for afterschool funding. The event is organized by the Afterschool Alliance with support from national presenting sponsor JCPenny Afterschool Fund. Snacks and activities will be made available to attendees. Families with children are encouraged to attend this free event.

JCPenny stores throughout the U.S. will continue their Afterschool Round-Up program through Oct. 25, where customers have the opportunity to “round up” their JCPenney purchases to the nearest whole dollar and donate the difference to afterschool programs in their local communities. Last year, the company contributed more than $300,000 in Missouri to support local afterschool initiatives.

For more information, media contact: Sandra Pratt, SPARC Coordinator, 417-837-5707.