Neighbors Building Neighborhoods

Courtney WaggleUncategorized

Through her membership and work with the National Afterschool Alliance, a nonprofit organization dedicated to ensuring that all children have access to quality and affordable afterschool programs, Laura Hazen initiated the Dream Team Youth Programs participation in the Lights on Afterschool annual nationwide event. The NAA organizes the Lights on Afterschool event to underscore the need to invest in afterschool programs. This event helps to promote funding “keeping the lights on” and spotlights the need or “shines the light on” after school programming. The 20th Annual Lights on Afterschool event was held in October of 2019, and involved more than a million people at 10,000 events. The Dream Team Youth Programs was one of 35 after school programs across the state of Oklahoma who registered and participated by holding an open house, writing stories to be sent to the state capitol, and encouraging community leaders, businesses, and partners to participate in the “Light Bulb Challenge”. This was a social media campaign to photograph community members doing the “lightbulb pose”. This social media campaign brought forth local awareness highlighting the Dream Team Youth Program aspects and the importance of quality after school time. Local participants included OG&E, ZOMAC School of Music, OSU Extension, Muskogee Public Library, Muskogee Police, EMS, and Fire Departments, American Red Cross, Firstar Bank, Muskogee County Health Department, Morris Moving Company, and several city leaders. Laura plans on continuing participation the national event with the Dream Team Youth Programs and building on the previous year’s successes.