Children, parents and community members will gather for Lights on Afterschool from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday at the Myriad Botanical Gardens.
The event is geared toward drawing awareness to after-school programs in the metro area. More than 20 Oklahoma City after-school programs will participate.
Oklahoma is one of only 14 states that does not provide government funding for after-school programs, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures and the Afterschool Alliance.
Entertainment will be provided by the Nichols Hills Choir, the Star Spencer Brothers of Stomp, the Capitol Hill High School Dancers, the Operation Truth Drill Team and the Bring Back the Music Band.
Food and drinks will be provided by the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma and Jamba Juice. A science demonstration by Mad Science, information about volunteer opportunities and other ways to get involved with after-school programs also will be featured.
“In Oklahoma, 29 percent of our kids are completely on their own after school,” Sheryl Lovelady, executive director of the Oklahoma Afterschool Network, said in a news release. “This impacts our economy, our communities and our future workforce. Students left alone after school are more likely to have lower grades, higher levels of juvenile crime and a higher likelihood of dropping out of school.”