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WHEREAS, residents of the Commonwealth are firmly committed to quality afterschool programs and opportunities; and
WHEREAS, afterschool programs provide safe, challenging, and engaging learning experiences that help children develop social, emotional, physical, and academic skills; and
WHEREAS, afterschool programs support working families by ensuring that children are safe and productive after the regular school day ends; and
WHEREAS, afterschool programs build stronger communities by involving students, parents, business and community leaders, and volunteers in the lives of young people, thereby promoting positive relationships among youth, families, and adults; and
WHEREAS, the Commonwealth has provided significant leadership in the area of community involvement in the education and well-being of our youth, grounded in the principle that quality afterschool programs are key to helping our children become successful adults; and
WHEREAS, Lights On Afterschool, the national celebration of afterschool programs held this year on October 24, 2019, promotes the importance of quality afterschool programs; and
WHEREAS, 19.4 million families report that they would enroll their child in an afterschool program if one were available; and
WHEREAS, many afterschool programs across the country face funding problems;
NOW, THEREFORE, I, Ralph S. Northam, do hereby recognize October 24, 2019, as LIGHTS ON AFTERSCHOOL DAY in our COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA, and I call this observance to the attention of all our citizens.