Michigan Turns Blue for ‘Lights On Afterschool’ as 'Spirit of Detroit' Shines along with Many Local Landmarks

We’re turning the Mitten blue for Lights On Afterschool in 2019! With a special proclamation from Gov. Gretchen Whitmer recognizing the power of afterschool in our state this October 24th, we’ve added a number of special “blue lightings” across Michigan to our annual list of community- and school-based Lights On events.

Starting in Detroit, we’re lighting up the city’s treasured “Spirit of Detroit” monument blue during a rally at Spirit Plaza, 2 Woodward Ave, in dowtown. Participating with MASP are Detroit-based afterschool providers, students and families. There will be music, artistic expression, tributes from youth and dignitaries about the power of afterschool, fun family events and seasonal cider and doughnuts. The rally is anticipated to attract 200 people, and is the first public event to take place at Spirit Plaza in downtown Detroit, since the plaza reopened following its recent renovation.

MASP is proud to be working with these amazing local afterschool partners: ACCESS, C2 Pipeline/ Wayne State University, the GOAL Line/ Detroit Community Education Commission, the Detroit Youth Development Resource Center, Detroit PAL, the United Way for Southeastern Michigan, and Wayne Metro Community Action Agency. When: 5:30 pm – 7:00 pm, Oct. 24, 2019.

‘Seeing Blue’ at Campus Martius Park: The hip Detroit gathering place downtown known as Campus Martius (‘Latin for ‘field of Mars’) will have visitors seeing blue come October 24th. The first-ever winner of the prestigious, international Urban Land Institute Urban Open Space Award will have its interior lights lit blue in recognition of afterschool’s impact on children and their families, thanks to support from the Downtown Detroit Partnership.

Lansing, the Capitol City: The Board of Water of Light public utility has agreed to turn the lights surrounding its newly opened Central Substation in REO Town blue. MASP is especially pleased that the celebration coincides with a special recognition for BWL employee Alando Chappell, a Boys & Girls Club-Lansing board member. Chappell was named by the utility company as a Local Town Hero (with his imagine appearing on a highly visible billboard in town).

Battle Creek Goes Big: Battle Creek Public School’s 21st Century After-School Program is turning blue in a big way for Lights On! The district will focus blue spotlights on the entrances to the nine school buildings that house its afterschool programs in order to draw attention to the district’s commitment to afterschool learning and exploration. The lighting initiative will coincide with a rally of over 300 students in downtown Battle Creek as they advocate for programs and share their afterschool experiences.

Civic Action in Kalamazoo:  Over 400 youth from the Kalamazoo Youth Development Network (KYDN) are visiting 10 destinations in downtown Kalamazoo to advocate for high-quality afterschool and summer programs. KYDN also spotlighted the importance of youth voice and leadership at a youth-led candidate forum in town. They posed questions on a variety of topics including youth unemployment, over-policing of youth, mental health and support for LBBTQ youth! Contact: Meg Blinkiewicz, meg@kydnet.org

Flint Focus on Afterschool: When asked if they would participate in the lighting challenge for afterschool, operators of the city’s Downtown Development Authority (DDA) came to a quick “yes.” That’s why the original “Vehicle City” will have blue light bulbs installed in the historically inspired Arches over Saginaw Street, the main thoroughfare downtown. Also for Lights On, DDA management agreed to present a recurring “Lights On MI’’ digital image on its downtown information billboard.

Grand Rapids: The ELO (Expanded Learning Opportunities) Network is appearing before the City Commission for a reading of a “Lights On” proclamation by Mayor Rosalynn Bliss. Along with the recognition will be a special celebration at Buchanan School with city and school officials, as well as ELO Network members.

Northern Michigan: Assistant Senate Majority Leader Wayne Schmidt, R-Traverse City, will be the special guest of the SEEDS 21st CCLC Afterschool Program in Fife Lake’s Forest Area School District. He will make welcoming remarks and meet students, families and staff at a Lights On Afterschool family fun night on October 24th.

Lights on Afterschool is celebrated nationwide to call attention to the importance of after-school programs for America's children, families and communities. 

One million Americans and more than 8,000 communities nationwide - including 368 in Michigan last year - celebrated afterschool programs that keep kids safe, inspire them to learn and help working families. 

The Afterschool Alliance salutes the many Lights On Afterschool partners and programs who make this event a success, in particular the After-School All-Stars, Boys & Girls Clubs of America, 4-H Afterschool, Junior Achievement, the 21st Century Community Learning Centers, and the YMCA of the USA.

The Afterschool Alliance has many tools on their Web site for Lights On Afterschool.

Some tools to look out for:

In 2018 more than a million people rallied for after-school programs at ­­­8,300 events - 368 of them in Michigan - nationwide. Check out the list from Afterschool Alliance's Lights On Afterschool, with descriptions of hundreds of events.