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Bibb County's 'Lights On After School' celebration highlights student achievements

This is a part of a national effort to shine the light on the importance of after-school programs.

MACON, Ga. — Thursday was "Lights on After School" Day, and students, teachers, and parents in the Bibb County School District and all around the world are celebrating.

They're doing this to highlight the achievements of their students and to bring attention to the need for after-school programs.

The school hosted a variety of events Thursday evening, such as African drumming, outdoor gaming, pumpkin carving, and much more. 

This was a part of a national effort to shine the light on the importance of after-school programs.

Christy Freeman has a high-schooler, a middle-schooler, and two elementary-schoolers. 

They're all Bibb County School students. 

"Sometimes it can be a lot," Freeman said.

Freeman says without the help of after-school programs, it'd be almost impossible to keep them all busy. 

Michelle and Anna, the oldest two, play sports..

"They do volleyball this season, and then they do soccer in the spring," Freeman said.

Timothy, Audrey, and Jude, her youngest, participate in ballet and soccer. 

"It would be really expensive to get everyone into sports all year long, so having them at school is very helpful," Freeman said.

Freeman says her youngest children also just started their after-school tutoring programs.

"My third-grader has improved a lot with the after-school program. It's been so helpful. They've been more helpful than I could have been. He's been improving a lot, and he's much more confident because of it," Freeman said.

Freeman says after-school programs have taken a lot of weight off of her shoulders, which is the case for a lot of parents. 

"It is important for the community to pay attention to what's taking place, and what's happening in these after-school programs. That's really where children are learning and growing," Janice Flowers, director of Before and After School, said.

The Bibb County School District is recognizing the importance and need for these programs at their 22nd annual "Lights On After School" celebration. 

Flowers says this event will showcase the work that they do. 

"We're lining to the work of the regular school day, but we're also doing enrichment activities, providing field trip experiences," Flowers said.

Flowers says the goal of this event is to encourage people to put more money into afterschool programs, so that more of them can be opened up. 

"We provide that safe place for children to go. To know that between the hours of 3 and 6 p.m., there are about 240,000 children in Georgia who are alone and unsupervised, so after-school programs will provide a place for them to go," Flowers said. 

Flowers says the Bibb County School District currently offers free after-school programming in 10 of their schools.

They're able to offer these programs to their students because they are funded through 21st Century community service grants.

Their goal is to be able to provide these programs to all of their students.

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