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Lights On celebrates 21 years of Afterschool programs by Think Together

Think Together, California’s leading nonprofit provider of afterschool, expanded learning and school improvement programs, held its annual Lights on Afterschool event themed Light the Way on Thursday, October 28 on Think Together’s Facebook and YouTube pages.

Think Together Founder and CEO Randy Barth visits with students at Lampson Elementary School in Garden Grove as part of the nonprofit's showcase site celebrations. Courtesy photo.
Think Together Founder and CEO Randy Barth visits with students at Lampson Elementary School in Garden Grove as part of the nonprofit’s showcase site celebrations. Courtesy photo.

The virtual event drew more than 300 live viewers and featured testimonials from educators, parents, students and Think Together staff alongside state legislative appearances from:

  • State Senate President pro Tempore Toni G. Atkins (D-San Diego)
  • Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (D-Lakewood)
  • Assembly Majority Leader Eloise Reyes (D-San Bernardino)
  • State Senator Sydney K. Kamlager (D-Los Angeles)
  • State Senator Anthony Portantino (D-La Cañada Flintridge)

California Gov. Gavin Newsom, who committed a record investment of $5 billion by 2025 for afterschool programs, concluded the virtual broadcast with a special address for Think Together staff and families. This infusion of funds into the afterschool and expanded learning space is in addition to unprecedented increases in the K-12 budget to support educators, students and their families amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

“California is grateful to Think Together for helping our students succeed despite the challenges brought on by the pandemic,” said Gov. Newsom. “With historic overall $123 billion investments in our K-12 systems, we’re reimagining our schools so every child can thrive, regardless of their zip code. We want every student in California to have access to potentially lifechanging afterschool and learning programs, like Think Together’s.”

In addition to the live virtual broadcast, Think Together hosted 372 school site events to celebrate the positive impact that afterschool and expanded learning programs make in the lives of students every day. From Compton to San Jose, Temecula to Orange, students took part in Lights on Afterschool through educational enrichment including STEM, ELA, healthy living, yoga, art, painting, and music activities.

Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Think Together supported their school partners and students with distance learning support, in-person instruction, meal distribution, wellness checks, school improvement support and more. Think Together staffed learning hubs and expanded learning programs in 41 school districts and 25 charter management organizations across the state, reaching nearly 53,000 students last year. Year over year, total impact of all programs reaches nearly 200,000 students.

“We stand at a real transformational moment in education. One in which students who have been traditionally underserved will be given the resources needed to narrow the opportunity gap once and for all,” said Think Together Founder and CEO Randy Barth. “As we continue to face the pandemic’s enduring impacts, we stand ready to serve these students who need high quality support systems to succeed in school, college and career.”

The article and video above were released by Think Together.