rokich-stephanieby Stephanie Rokich
Community Collaborations Director

Recently, Kearns Junior High celebrated the 5th Annual Lights On Afterschool event. This national event, a project of the Afterschool Alliance, aims to draw attention to the power of afterschool programs in helping students achieve and encourage schools to keep the lights on after normal school hours. At Kearns Junior, Salt Lake County Youth Services runs the afterschool program, which serves about 80 students each day. The program offers a tutor lab for students to complete their homework with the help of teachers and aides, group classes to give kids enriching academic support (such as cooking class and chess club), service projects, free dinner, and much more. Salt Lake County, United Way of Salt Lake, and other partners work with the school to align daytime curriculum with the afterschool program to ensure that students are receiving the added supports they need.

Lights On Afterschool was a big hit at Kearns Junior with students, parents, and friends. The Student Body President welcomed everyone to the event, and Principal Kandace Barber thanked all the school’s supporters. Principal Barber also emphasized the importance of students attending school regularly, which is a focus this year at Kearns Junior. She talked about how the afterschool program plays a significant role in keeping kids engaged in school and making sure they are there both during the day and after school.

Following introductions, students in the afterschool program took turns talking about the activities in which they are engaged and why the afterschool program is important to them. One young man talked about the math playground, a fun program that helps kids practice and learn math. A student who participates in Spy Hop talked about projects she has worked on, including film making and creating music. Two young women spoke about the Peer Leadership Team they are a part of, which gives them the chance to do service projects, flex their entrepreneur muscles, and become leaders in the school.

Students concluded the event with a spectacular talent show with singing and dancing while onlookers enjoyed a free dinner and light bulb-shaped cookies.

Thank you, Kearns Jr. High for LIVING UNITED,
engaging kids, and helping change the odds!