Lights On provides sneak peek at afterschool activities

After school archery instructor Dick Fagnant teaches Dzantik'i Heeni Middle School students how to recognize their dominant eye before using the bow and arrows.

During last year’s B.A.M. program, afterschool archery instructor Dick Fagnant teaches Dzantik’i Heeni Middle School students how to recognize their dominant eye before using the bows and arrows. (Photo by Annie Bartholomew/KTOO)

Middle school students in Juneau get a chance to sample courses in art, music, dance and sports Thursday during Lights On Afterschool. The event celebrates afterschool programs in Juneau as well as highlights the need for more.

Light On takes place at Dzantik’i Heeni Middle School, Floyd Dryden Middle School, and the Zach Gordon Youth Center.

“There’ll be Art Studio, an abstract art course. There’s going to be a Get Rhythm, which is a music course. Students will have an opportunity to try something Yoga-Dojo-Disco and dance fitness,” says Terri Campbell, an afterschool ambassador through the national organization Afterschool Alliance.

Other activities include judo demonstrations and opportunities to connect with adults in a “Her Space” and “Guy Space” activity.

“Our purpose for the Lights On Afterschool event is to engage kids who might not already be involved in afterschool and give them a sampling of some of the afterschool opportunities that they’ll be finding in the coming months at the middle schools,” explains Campbell.

Campbell says afterschool programs provide a safe and supportive environment for middle school students and help working families.

“One of the most dangerous times for our kids is right after school and in Juneau about half of our middle school population is home alone after school.”

The afterschool program for middle school students called B.A.M., or Body and Mind, launched last year and is run by the Juneau Afterschool Coalition. The Coalition formed shortly after federal budget cuts closed the Boys and Girls Club in 2009.

Lights On Afterschool takes place today from 3 to 4:30 p.m. at Dzantik’i Heeni and Floyd Dryden and at the Zach Gordon Youth Center from 3 to 6:30. All middle school students are encouraged to attend.