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Morningside School’s POWER program showed their moves through their dance production performed during the 2019 Lights On event held at Pioneer School.

Distance learning will not stop the lights from shining on after-school programs as the Delano Union School District’s Powerful Outcomes in Wellness, Education, and Recreation (POWER) program will host its annual Lights On Afterschool event virtually on Thursday, Nov. 19.

The event, held from 3 to 6 p.m., helps to showcase the talents seen in the after-school programs of the district. More than 3,000 people attended the 2019 district event at Pioneer School. This is the 21st year of this national event, in which the Delano POWER program is hosting its ninth annual gathering.

According to district Director of Physical Education and After School Programs Kenneth Dyar, the gathering here in Delano is one of the largest in the area because it involves all 11 of the district’s POWER program expanded learning sites. The program will offer a virtual showcase of its sites, including learning a dance, a cooking class, meeting staff members and a message from each school’s principal.

“We are expecting as many as 3,500 people to attend,” Dyar said.

The event brings together students, parents, educators, policy makers, community members and others to show their support for after-school programs. Joining the Delano event will be representatives from the Delano Police Department, Adventist Health Delano, Delano City Council, and Kern County Library’s Delano branch.

Online activities planned from the various DUSD POWER sites include dance tutorials, games, lesson presentations, cooking demonstrations, highlights of the tutoring that takes place in the program and gardening.

The only nationwide rally for after-school programs, Lights On Afterschool is being held virtually and in person across the United States this year. Many Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics activities are being included in the events.

In America today, a total of 11.3 million children are alone and unsupervised after school, according to the national Afterschool Alliance. Afterschool programs keep kids safe, help working families and inspire learning. Programs provide opportunities to help young people develop into successful adults.

The Afterschool Alliance organizes Lights On Afterschool to focus attention on the urgent need to invest in after-school programs. Opportunities include providing science, technology, engineering and math activities, homework help, mentoring, sports and fitness, healthy snacks and meals, art and dance, job- and college-readiness, and opportunities for hands-on, team-based learning.

The POWER program offers services after school at 11 DUSD schools including targeted academic intervention, multiple and varied enrichment opportunities, hands-on science, fun and fitness-based physical activities, and a nutritious snack and dinner.

Organizations interested in participating in the event are asked to contact Angie Magallanez at 721-5000, ext. 00175.