<!--:es-->Dallas ISD’s Harry Stone Montessori School Launches National Afterschool Traveling Light Bulb Tour<!--:-->

Dallas ISD’s Harry Stone Montessori School Launches National Afterschool Traveling Light Bulb Tour

Tour Serves as Kick-Off to Sixth Annual Lights On Afterschool

Dallas – The Afterschool Alliance’s annual celebration of Lights On Afterschool began in Dallas this afternoon, home of the national rally’s National Presenting Sponsor, the JCPenney Afterschool Fund. Educators and students at Harry Stone Montessori School hosted the first in a series of stops on an unprecedented traveling light bulb tour, featuring a 12’ high inflatable light bulb and light-bulb-themed student artwork. The tour will stop at 13 cities and conclude in Washington, D.C. on Lights On Afterschool Day October 20. Its giant inflatable light bulb symbolizes the need to keep the lights on for children after school.

“Afterschool programs play such a critical role in the lives of Dallas ISD children and their families,” said Dallas ISD Superintendent Michael Hinojosa. “We’re proud to have been selected to launch the first-ever Lights On Afterschool tour, and to join in a national celebration of afterschool programs.”

At the event, students from Harry Stone Montessori created the first in the tour’s series of murals of light-bulb-themed art. The Stone Montessori mural will hang in the national headquarters of JCPenney in Plano through October, and some of the art from the mural will be displayed at a congressional hearing on October 20 – Lights On Afterschool Day – in Washington. Various student groups performed at the event, including the Sarah Zumwalt Middle School band. The event also featured demonstrations of a number of afterschool activities.

Afterschool Alliance Executive Director Jodi Grant traveled to Dallas for the kick-off. “Our oversized inflated light bulb represents the oversized need for more afterschool programs in America today,” Grant said. “More than 14 million children in this country have no adult supervision in the hours immediately following the school day. By expanding and creating more programs like the one at Stone Montessori, we can keep kids safe, help working families, and inspire children to learn.”

Lights On Afterschool began in October 2000 with 1,200 events across the country. Last year, more than half a million people rallied at 7,000 events to show their support for afterschool programs. California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is National Chair of Lights On Afterschool, a position he has held since 2001. Among other stops, the National Lights On Tour will visit Los Angeles, Tucson, Albuquerque, Chicago, Charlotte, Miami and Albany, before reaching Washington, D.C.

The Afterschool Alliance is a nonprofit public awareness and advocacy organization supported by a group of public, private, and nonprofit entities working to ensure that all children have access to afterschool programs by 2010. More information is available at www.afterschoolalliance.org.

The JCPenney Afterschool Fund is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that supports programs designed to keep kids safely and constructively engaged during out-of-school time. The Fund’s contributions allow for the creation and continuance of afterschool programs aimed at the academic, physical, and social development of children throughout the U.S. The JCPenney Afterschool Fund also works to raise awareness of the benefits of afterschool programming, and is committed to ensuring that every child has access to the world of opportunities that awaits them after school.