Written by: In Our Schools

Lights On Afterschool

The Showcase was celebrated the 19th annual nationwide Lights On Afterschool Day on Thursday, Oct. 25, 2018

After-School All-Stars South Florida celebrated Lights On Afterschool with a “Spectacular STEM Showcase–presented by Crown Castle.”  The kids enjoyed a hands-on drone program, virtual reality interactive experience from Xennial Digital, the T-Mobile STEM Truck and inspiring words from community leaders and a surprise visit from an artist.

ASAS South Florida, part of the leading national non-profit, helps at-risk youth to succeed in school and in life through innovative and comprehensive afterschool programs. With a focus on inspiring youth in their future careers, ASAS SF Executive Director, Sean Prospect told the crowd about all of the STEM based offerings ASAS offers in 18 middle schools across South Florida, such as its FPL Robotics initiative, drones program, virtual reality and 3-D printing.

As a long-time partner of the Afterschool Alliance, ASAS celebrated Lights On Afterschool–the nationwide event to shine a light on afterschool programs and their important role in the lives of children, families and communities.   About 150 students, faculty, school board leadership, community leaders, corporate sponsors, media and elected officials, attended the event including representation from State Senator Anitere Flores.  Miami-Dade County Commissioner Eileen Higgins, an engineer herself, addressed the students and shared her own passion for science growing up in a family of engineers.

With 8,000 similar events held simultaneously, Lights On drew attention to the many important ways afterschool programs like ASAS support students by offering them opportunities to learn new things—such as science, community service, robotics, dance, soccer and poetry—and to develop skills that will prepare them for the 21st-century workforce.

“The federal funding for afterschool programming is currently on the chopping block and Lights On Afterschool sends a powerful message that funding for these programs matters and that millions more need quality afterschool programs like ASAS to provide a safe place for our children, prepare them as to be future leaders and make our communities stronger and safer,” said Natalia Sol, SVP of Strategic Partnerships of ASAS.

Lonnie Maier, Regional Head of Sales for Crown Castle, said with such a demand for talent in the communications industry, it was “important to invest in programs such as ASAS that inspire kids through technology and build their 21st century skills to prepare them for careers of the future—some which we have not yet discovered!”

The students were surprised by a visit from renowned artist and former master counterfeiter, Arthur J Williams Jr.  Williams who grew up in poverty and crime himself, shared his heartfelt story with the kids about turning his life around and choosing to do good through his art.  Before he left, he presented ASAS with a $10,000 check from the sale of one of his art pieces which was auctioned off last month.

The event was held at one of ASAS’s 18 Title-1 middle schools, Coral Way K-8 Bilingual Center, 1950 SW 13thAve., Miami, FL 33145

Sponsors: Crown Castle, FPL, Miami-Dade County Public Schools, FOX Sports Florida, Florida International University, T-Mobile, MIC Food, The Children’s Trust, 21st CCLC, Xennial Digital  

About After-School All-Stars: Founded in 1992, After-School All-Stars (ASAS) is a leading national provider of year-round, school-based, comprehensive afterschool programs. The organization’s mission is to keep children safe and help them succeed in school and in life. Every school day, students in low-income communities have access to free programs that offer academic support, enrichment opportunities, and health and fitness activities. Over 74,000 children in 19 U.S. cities benefit: Atlanta, Bay Area, Chicago, Cleveland, Columbus, Hawaii, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Newark, New York, North Texas, Orlando, Philadelphia, Puget Sound, San Antonio, South Florida, Tampa, Toledo, and Washington, D.C. For more information, visit www.as-as.org.

About Crown Castle: Since 1994, Crown Castle has worked around the country to build and maintain the infrastructure behind the world’s most revolutionary technologies. This comprehensive portfolio of towers, small cells, and fiber gives people and communities access to essential data, technology and wireless service and opens the door to countless opportunities and possibilities. We continue to work closely with wireless carriers, businesses, technology companies, governments, and communities to make sure these transformative ideas and innovations find their way to the people who rely on them.  For more information go to CrownCastle.com.

PHOTOS: Courtesy Cristina Sullivan

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Tags: , , , Last modified: October 29, 2018