DETROIT -

Michigan Technical Academy's 21st Century Community Learning Center (21st CCLC) will host hundreds of children, parents, and community leaders during the 14th Annual Lights On Afterschool rally on Thursday, October 17, 2013  from 5-7:30 p.m. 

The free event, held at 19940 Mansfield St. in Detroit, celebrates the achievement of afterschool students and draws attention to the need for more afterschool programs to serve millions of at-risk children who are unsupervised each weekday afternoon. 

The Lights On Afterschool rally will include: guest speakers, youth service organizations, activities, food, t-shirts, decorating stations, prizes, and much more.  Attendees will also participate in a walk in support of afterschool programs.  The event will conclude with a fireworks display.

Tight budgets are endangering afterschool programs throughout Michigan and around the country, forcing many service organizations to cut back programs or even close their doors.  This year's rally will be one of 7,500 events across the nation emphasizing the importance of keeping the lights on and the doors open for afterschool programs. 

"It is imperative that we continue to fight for programs and initiatives that provide educational resources to our children and youth," says Neefesha Foster, MTA's 21st CCLC Program Director. "They must be properly engaged during hours where they are likely to get into trouble."

The 21st Century Community Learning Centers provides free youth development and academic enrichment activities.  Programs currently offered to youth include: drug and violence prevention, dance, music and art.  Michigan Technical Academy (MTA) is the recipient of a $1.5 million 21st CCLC grant for high-priority schools.  Through the federal grant, the school provides expanded academic enrichment opportunities Monday through Thursday from 3-6 p.m. (middle school) and 4-6:30 p.m.  (elementary school). 

Each October, 1 million Americans and thousands of communities nationwide celebrate Lights On Afterschool to shine a light on the afterschool programs that keep kids safe, inspire them to learn and help working families.  The initiative is sponsored by the Afterschool Alliance.

For more information on the Lights On Afterschool rally, visit mtacademy.us