WHAT: Every year in late October, after-school programs across the country celebrate “Lights On! Afterschool” to highlight the need for high-quality after-school programs to keep kids safe, inspire learning and support working families.

State Sen. Tony Mendoza will join THINK Together staff, students and families at a festive Luau-themed event to make the case for increased state funding for these vital programs. Following the Senator’s remarks, attendees will participate in dance lessons and art projects.

WHEN: Thursday, Oct. 22

4:10 p.m. State Sen. Mendoza remarks

4:30-6 p.m. Dance classes and art projects

WHERE: Laurel Elementary School Cafeteria, 13550 Lambert Road, Whittier

WHY: State-supported After School Education and Safety (ASES) programs in California provide academic and enrichment services for students with high needs and limited resources. On average, 82 percent of students attending participating schools are eligible for school meal subsidies.

Stagnant funding has forced ASES programs to reduce hours and scale back the scope of services. The state currently provides $7.50 per student per day — the same rate since 2006, despite higher costs from minimum wage increases, mandatory sick leave and cost-of-living increases.

ABOUT THINK Together: THINK Together is a nonprofit organization collaborating with communities, parents and other stakeholders to transform and galvanize the K-12 educational system, creating excellence and equity for all kids. THINK Together has grown into the state’s largest provider of Expanded Learning Time programs (early literacy, after-school, summer learning, etc.), currently serving more than 100,000 students at more than 400 locations across 38 school districts in California.