Perry’s Academic Cultural and Enrichment Services (PACES) will join more than 8,000 communities and 1 million people Oct. 23-24 in celebrating the importance of afterschool programs during the National Afterschool Alliance’s 20th annual Lights On Afterschool!
The event calls attention to the high cost and great importance of keeping the lights on and the doors open both before and after school for the children of working parents across America, including the roughly 150 Perry-area young people participating in PACES.
The fun begins Oct. 23 from 2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. with the Pledges for PACES fundraiser, as PACES students walk laps at Kaufman Track to raise money for the program. Students will be busy gathering pledges in the days before the event, collecting either for the number of laps walked or for a flat fee.
Pledges for PACES fundraising sheets area available in the PACES office at the Perry Elementary School, in the offices of both the middle school and high school, the Perry Public Library, Perry Chamber of Commerce and McCreary Community Building.
The fun will continue Oct. 24 at the annual Lights On Afterschool rally program from 5-6 p.m. at the Perry Elementary School multi-purpose room. The celebration will promote how PACES works at keeping kids safe, improving their academic achievement, building character, providing fitness and nutrition education and aiding working families.
The rally will include a proclamation from Perry Mayor John Andorf, and PCSD Superintendent Clark Wicks will also speak. Perry School Board members and PACES Partners and Alumni will also be on hand to share the fun.
A talent show will be held and student awards given, with a beef burger supper culminating the evening, the meal being served and provided in cooperation with PACES partner Blank Children’s Hospital Outreach Department.
Now in its 20th year, PACES is a self-supporting program. Perry’s afterschool resource began in 2000, when it landed a 21st Century Community Learning Center Federal Grant. Public schools not only instruct children but also care about ensuring a safe and educational place for students of working families is available before and after school.
PACES has provided that safe place for more than 10,000 students since it began and has offered some 200 different academic and enrichment programs to students along with running the daily elementary learning center. PACES students show improved grades and a higher attendance rate.