The 18th annual Lights On After School is a nationwide celebration, that started in 2000 to draw attention to the importance of after school programs.

The 18th annual Lights On After School is a nationwide celebration, that started in 2000 to draw attention to the importance of after school programs. In Chillicothe, that program is the North Missouri Center for Youth and Families. NMCYF has been fully enrolled with 50 children and averages about 40 children in daily attendance throughout the week. Executive Director Daniel Savage explains how kids can participate in a number of activities throughout the building. “Most of the time, people think of after school programs as baby sitting, but that’s not the case. We do a lot more here so the kids can be productive. We do a lot of STEM stuff and things that continue learning, while helping to keep parents at work.” Their PowerUp program is a five day-a-week program that focuses on five areas of competency; Academic Enrichment, Health, Fitness and Nutrition, Fine Arts, Character/Citizenship Education and Career Awareness. On Thursday during the Lights On After School event, children of all ages were scattered in different groups, participating in various activities. Immediately as you walk in, there were children playing with remote controlled cars that were Lego built robots programmed to tablets that controlled them. Next, was a computer room where boys were playing similar video games. On this day, there was a board game area where parents were interacting with the children in a game. To the back, there is a learning center where children can receive tutoring with school work. In another area, children were carving and dressing pumpkins, and lastly, there is an eating area where the children can enjoy snacks before their parents pick them up to go home for the evening. Savage expressed a greater need for after school availability. The NMCYF enrollment is completely full, and has been so since very shortly after they first opened. He also expressed a need for space and staff, to be able to improve that enrollment. The North Missouri Center for Youth and Families receives students from the R-2 School District and Bishop Hogan School.