Home National news Metro Parks’ Community Center Kids shine ‘Light on After-School programs

Metro Parks’ Community Center Kids shine ‘Light on After-School programs

by PRIDE Newsdesk
Coleman Park

Four Metro Parks community centers will conduct a coordinated in-person and online discussion on the importance of after-school programming on Thursday, October 20, 6:15–7:15 pm. The event honors ‘Light on After-School,’ a nationwide movement celebrating after-school programs and their role in the lives of children, families, and communities. In America today, 7.6 million children are alone and unsupervised after school. After-school programs keep kids safe, help working families and inspire learning. They provide opportunities to help young people develop into successful adults.

During the gathering on October 20, school-age students at Coleman, Smith Springs, Hartman, and Old Hickory community centers will engage in frank conversations on the merits of the after-school programming at their community center. They will exchange views with their counterparts at the other community centers via Zoom. Light refreshments will be served.

“We are thrilled to celebrate ‘Lights on After-School’ as an affirmation of our love and appreciation for the many youths that we are able to positively impact in our programs,” said Leslie Martinez-Garcia, Metro Parks NAZA program director. “Our goal is to help youth find their inner light, motivation, purpose, and focus. By offering new learning opportunities through STEAM, life skills, teaching kitchens, and sports and recreation, we hope that students can find their spark. I am confident that each student we proudly serve at each Community Center, and on a national level, has the potential to dream, and in turn, reach all of their dreams with our love, compassion, and determined support!”

The four selected community centers are approved Metro Parks NAZA (Nashville After Zone Alliance) sites. NAZA’s mission is to provide high-quality learning opportunities that prepare Nashville’s public school students to succeed in middle school and beyond. The participants will share experiences and highlight their favorite aspects of the after-school programming during the event. The students will also discuss ways to improve the programs and make them more efficient and impactful. Besides after-school programs students, an invitation to participate in the event has been extended to their family members, school staff, the NAZA team, and Metro Parks employees.

Twenty-five hundred youth are enrolled in Metro Parks’ after-school programs at 26 community centers. One of the highest priorities for the participating centers is offering quality programs for school-aged children. Each center provides after-school programs for children from six to 14 years of age. Select centers also offer the Nashville After-School Zone (NAZA) program for middle school students. Youth may also participate in a drop-in program that focuses on active recreation while supporting healthy social and academic development. The programs run daily (Monday-Friday) during the school year, and qualified educational staffers assist students.

(Metro Park’s 27 community centers play an essential role in community recreation, sports, cultural and educational activities in Nashville. Activities are offered for all ages and abilities and include group fitness classes, youth and adult sports, dance classes, senior recreational/social programs, art classes, aquatics programs, free play, and youth out-of-school programs.)

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