Each October, afterschool programs around the country celebrate Lights On Afterschool. The nationwide rally is a yearly tradition coordinated by the Afterschool Alliance, a national nonprofit that aims to expand support for quality afterschool programs.
“We participate in Lights on Afterschool each October to raise awareness of the importance of our program to Flint students,” says Dr. Kimberly Leverette, who leads Flint & Genesee Education & Talent, a division of Flint & Genesee Group that administers YouthQuest. “We are proud of the impact we have on the community we serve.”
YouthQuest impacts students in a variety of ways. Some students are excited to learn beyond school hours, whereas others enjoy going on field trips and experiencing things they may not have otherwise experienced.
For Caleb Nichols, freshman at Southwestern Classical Academy, he says he’s just happy to go somewhere where he can see his friends and find staff with open ears.
“Sometimes you need to get things off your mind when you’re having a rough day,” says Nichols. “And YouthQuest is a program that is open to this. You can talk about your problems there, and the staff listens.”
Students at Nichols’ site participate in open discussions with other students and staff to work through issues they may have at school or at home in a productive way. Activities like this are part of social and emotional learning (SEL) techniques that are implemented at all YouthQuest sites.
Students served by YouthQuest range from kindergarten through high school at 12 sites throughout Flint. Sites cover Flint Community Schools, International Academy of Flint, and Flint Cultural Center Academy.
During the month of October, each site is hosting a Lights On Afterschool event to bring awareness to the benefits of the program and engage the community. For a listing of Lights On Afterschool events open to the public, click here.
YouthQuest is made possible through the generous support of the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation and 21st Century Community Learning Centers.
Editor’s note: This article was updated on Oct. 11, 2022 to reflect a correction in the event dates.