TOPEKA – Afterschool programs help thousands of Kansas children receive much-needed guidance and support to succeed in school and later in life. Among these programs, is the Kansas Reading Roadmap (KRR), an afterschool reading initiative, funded by the Kansas Department for Children and Families’ (DCF), through the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families block grant. On Friday, Oct. 20, KRR participants will join other afterschool programs in Topeka to celebrate the annual observance of Lights on Afterschool.
Kansas Enrichment Network (KEN), a DCF community partner, is hosting a Lights on Afterschool-Celebration Fair from 1-3 p.m., Friday, Oct. 20, on the State Capitol Building lawn. During the event, more than 100 students in local afterschool programs will participate in activities, including a tour of the Statehouse, scavenger hunts and a kickball game.
Lights on Afterschool, a campaign launched in October 2000, is a nationwide event that recognizes afterschool programs.
KRR is an initiative that focuses on improving reading proficiency among Kansas grade school students, as a poverty-prevention effort. It was commissioned by Governor Sam Brownback. KRR’s whole-school approach to improving reading proficiency includes classroom instruction, in-school interventions, summer programs, family engagement and afterschool programs. In partnership, KRR and DCF are dedicated to promoting early literacy, ensuring a brighter future for kids across the state of Kansas. KRR third-graders reading at benchmark is 57 percent, compared to the state average of 35 percent.
Governor Brownback signed a proclamation on Friday, Sept. 22, declaring Oct. 26, as Lights on Afterschool Day. Among those at the signing ceremony were Logan Hickey, a third grader from Council Grove, and Nevaeh Neal, a sixth grader from Topeka. They participate in afterschool programs.
“I am so grateful that the Governor is highlighting the importance of afterschool programs,” said Council Grove KRR Program Coordinator Christy Buchman. “KRR is working to ensure that all children in Kansas gain the skills they need to be successful.”
KRR is offered at more than 59 different sites. In addition, there are currently six Boys & Girls Clubs across Kansas that employ KRR strategies. Boys & Girls Club is also a contracted partner of DCF to prevent poverty. More than 4,500 children benefit from the KRR program.
(From left to right: Logan Hickey, third grader from Council Grove, and Nevaeh Neal, sixth grader from Topeka, talk with Governor Sam Brownback after he signed a proclamation declaring Oct. 26 as Lights on Afterschool Day.)