July 7, 2023

2023 Lights On Afterschool Poster Contest Deadline Approaching

The 2023 Lights On Afterschool poster contest will close on Monday, July 10 and interested individuals must enter their submissions before the midnight deadline.

About the Lights On Afterschool Poster Contest

Sponsored by the Afterschool Alliance, the 2023 Lights On Afterschool poster contest is a great opportunity for an afterschool program to gain national recognition for the opportunities it offers.

With the winning submission printed on more than 50,000 posters, it will be seen at more than 8,000 Lights On Afterschool events around the world. Additionally, the winning artist will be featured on the Afterschool Alliance website and blog, as well as in a national press release, and their afterschool program receive a grand prize of $500.

Closing on July 10, voting will take place July 11-13 on the Afterschool Alliance Facebook and Instagram pages, where followers can vote on the top five submissions.

Rules and Guidelines

  • Submit any artwork that represents the spirit of afterschool programs.
  • Submit either new or existing artwork.
    • If your program has pre-made artwork celebrating afterschool, you can submit it.
    • The artwork does not have to be created specifically for the Lights On Afterschool Poster Contest, but it must represent afterschool.
  • Submit any of many kids of art (e.g. murals, paintings, graphics, etc.)
  • Be creative!
    • Think of the many ways your program has opened the doors to new opportunities for children.
    • Also, look for artwork that can represent how afterschool staff has been an inspiration to children.
  • Portray ideas in abstract or realistic renderings.
    • Additionally, encourage students to use bright, bold markers, or paint to bring life to their images.
  • Submit all physical artwork on 11 x 14 size paper.
  • For digital submissions, make sure the artwork is in PDF format and is no larger than a 2 MB file with a DPI of 350. For higher resolution photos, email and request a link to our file transfer account.


  • Use a specific program name within the submission.
  • If your artists do include the phrase Lights On Afterschool in their designs, make sure “afterschool” is written as one word, consistent with the national branding of the celebration.

Submit a Poster

To submit a poster, simply:

  1. Review the rules and guidelines to verify that you’re submission is eligible for contest entry.
  2. Complete the entry form.
  3. Either:

Mail your completed entry form and physical poster submission to:

Afterschool Alliance, Lights On Afterschool Poster Contest
1101 14th Street NW, Suite 700
Washington, D.C. 20005


Email your completed entry form and digital poster submission to:

Please note: Mailed submissions must be postmarked no later than Monday, July 10. Additionally, artwork sent via email must be in PDF format and no larger than 2 MB with a DPI of 350. For higher resolution photos, email and request a link to our file transfer account. 

Learn More

To learn more, visit the Afterschool Alliance website.


Information for this post was taken directly from the Afterschool Alliance website. Some text may have been added, paraphrased, or adapted for readability and comprehension.

Related Content & Resources


June 19, 2023

PSAYDN Accepting Applications for Afterschool Ambassadors Program

The Pennsylvania Statewide Afterschool Youth Development Network (PSAYDN) is now accepting applications for its 2023-24 Pennsylvania Afterschool Ambassadors Program.

The Pennsylvania Afterschool Ambassadors Program establishes a coalition of leaders who possess the necessary knowledge and experience to champion and advocate for high-quality, out-of-school time (OST) programs.

Applications are due by Friday, July 14.

About Afterschool Ambassadors

Afterschool Ambassadors are part of a larger cohort who will engage with policymakers regarding support for the OST field in Pennsylvania. As ambassadors, participants will establish relationships with policymakers and OST providers statewide, and increase access to regional, state, and national OST experts. Additionally, they will actively contribute to the advancement of the OST field across Pennsylvania, and support and promote OST initiatives.

Afterschool Ambassador Commitments

  • participate in a 10-month training opportunity
  • also participate in an in-person orientation in Harrisburg, PA on August 14-15, 2023
  • participate in the monthly trainings from September 2023 to May 2024
  • correspondingly share experience and knowledge with other Afterschool Ambassadors through presentations, discussions, and a capstone project
  • conduct independent study and research to expand on the issues and pain points revealed in the program
  • eventually participate in the 2023 Empower Conference and 2024 Afterschool Advocacy Day

Afterschool Ambassador Incentives

  • $250 participant stipend
  • $250 travel and lodging stipend (available for participants more than 50 miles from Harrisburg, PA)
  • parking reimbursement for August orientation
  • Act 48 credit for trainings
  • free registration to the 2023 Empower Conference


Interested individuals should apply using the online 2023-24 Pennsylvania Afterschool Ambassadors Program Application.

Applications are due by Friday, July 14.

Learn More

Applications will be reviewed by a selection committee to ensure a diverse cohort, and prospective ambassadors will be notified on or after July 19.

Those who are selected will be asked to sign a letter of agreement committing to fulfill the duties of an ambassador.

To learn more, visit the PSAYDN website.


June 12, 2023

Restaurants Add Books to the Menu with Summer Reading Programs

Millie’s Ice Cream and Pizza Hut are sponsoring summer reading programs to keep children engaged and learning while school is out and to inspire a love of literature by rewarding reading.

Millie’s Sweet Reads Summer Reading Program serves K-12 students, while Pizza Hut’s Camp BOOK IT serves Pre-k-6th grade students (ages 4-12), rewarding each with treats from their menus.

About Millie’s Sweet Reads Summer Reading Program

Sweet Reads is a summer reading program for K-12 students that began in 2021 as a partnership between Millie’s Homemade Ice Cream, the Allegheny County Library Association (ACLA), and White Whale Bookstore. The program aims to support local bookstores and libraries while also serving children.

How does it work?

Participating in Millie’s Sweet Reads Summer Reading Program is easy. Simply:

  1. Obtain a physical bookmark at any Millie’s location or select libraries across the county or print a digital copy from the Millie’s website.
  2. Have your child read five books (or read the books to them). Any book or periodical will do.
  3. Validate the bookmark at your local library. Please note: the library does not have to be a participating Sweet Reads library. Just ask your favorite librarian to sign the dotted line.
  4. Bring your validated bookmark to one of eight eligible Millie’s locations for a free scoop of your child’s choice.

Find a list of participating libraries and eligible Millie’s locations on the Millie’s Ice Cream website.

When will bookmarks be available?

Physical bookmarks will be available at any participating library or Millie’s Ice Cream location during operating hours, all summer long. Digital bookmarks can be printed at any time.

Which Millie’s locations will redeem my free scoop?

You can redeem your free scoop at any of the eight Millie’s brick and mortar shops. Free scoops are not redeemable at the Kennywood location or at any other Millie’s third-party licensed location or seasonal kiosk.

When does the program end?

The program expires Monday, September 4, 2023, so be sure to visit a Millie’s and redeem your child’s free scoop before then!

Can I redeem more than one time?

Millie’s asks that you only redeem one free scoop per summer, but encourages your children to read as many books as they like. The Sweet Reads redemption model operates on the honor system.

What if my child can’t eat ice cream or dairy-free gelato? What if I can’t get to a Millie’s?

You may redeem your bookmark for a free sticker in the store or via snail mail. Just email and Millie’s will be sure to mail you one.

About Pizza Hut’s Camp BOOK IT!

Since 1984, the Pizza Hut BOOK IT! Program has been dedicated to encouraging reading nationwide. Camp BOOK IT! is open to all families with Pre-k – 6th grade students (ages 4-12). The goal of the program is to get children excited about reading and to turn “have to read” into “want to read.”

How does it work?

To participate in Camp BOOK IT!, parents utilize a digital dashboard to set goals, track reading, and reward their students. Interested in involving your child in Camp BOOK IT!? Simply:

  1. Enroll your child on the BOOK IT! website. Please note: Only one enrollment per household (for up to five children) will be accepted. Duplicate enrollments will be voided. If a change needs to be made to your enrollment after you have submitted, for example you have moved, please call 800.426.6548.
  2. Have your child read books, magazines, eBooks, and anything else fun.
  3. Enter your child’s reading progress in Pizza Hut’s digital dashboard for June, July, and August.
  4. When your child meets their goal, move the slider all the way over to receive their certificate for a Personal Pan Pizza in your email.
  5. Use the serialized code on your child’s certificate to redeem! You’ll find more instructions about how to redeem on the certificate.

When does the program run?

Camp BOOK IT! runs from June to August. You can enroll your child at any time during these months.

How many reading certificates can my child earn through Camp BOOK IT?

BOOK IT! is a monthly rewards program, so students may earn and/or redeem one Reading Award Certificate per month.

How do I redeem my child’s reading certificates?

Once you receive their certificate in your email, take the printed or digital certificate to a Pizza Hut near you or use the redemption code to order online. The certificate must be used to reward the student who earned it.

How long do I have to redeem my child’s reading certificates?

The summer reading certificates for June, July and August all expire on September 15.

Learn More

To learn more, visit the Millie’s Ice Cream and Camp BOOK IT! websites.


April 5, 2023

The Learning Lamp Offering Free Summer Camp Lesson Plans Through Best Day Ever

The Learning Lamp, a Pennsylvania-based program that aims to give children, families, and schools greater options for improving academic achievement, is offering free preschool and school-age summer camp lesson plans to out-of-school time (OST) and summer camp educators.

Part of the Best Day Ever! curriculum, the lesson plans are designed by and for teachers. They offer a turnkey solution for both preschool and school-age summer camp programs, at no cost to Pennsylvania educators.

About Summer Camp Lesson Plans

The Learning Lamp will offer 24 Best Day Ever! units through August 2023. Each themed unit features high-interest topics, engaging hands-on activities, and opportunities for children to practice concepts in science, technology, engineering, art, and math (STEAM).
Examples of available lessons include:
  • S’mores and More
  • Water World
  • Eager Engineers
  • World Travelers

The Learning Lamp writes and tests all lessons. They are aligned with PA learning standards, and can be adapted to meet the needs and interests of individual students.

Access the Lesson Plans

To access the lesson plans, visit the Learning Lamp’s website and complete the online registration form.

Learn More

The Community Foundation for the Alleghenies and Early Childhood Education Professional Development Organization partially funded the development of Best Day Ever!

For more information about Best Day Ever!, visit the Learning Lamp website.


APOST Relaunches as Independent Nonprofit

After 13 years of support for more than 150 out-of-school time (OST) organizations in Allegheny County, Allegheny Partners for Out-of-School Time (APOST) has relaunched as an independent nonprofit organization.


APOST is an intermediary, convener, and champion of the out-of-school community in Allegheny County. OST programs, which typically take place during afterschool hours and summer months, provide youth access to enrichment activities.

Enrolling Children in OST Programs

OST programs provide safe and supervised spaces for children and youth to engage in academic and enrichment programming when they would otherwise be unsupervised or unengaged.

Enrollment for OST programs is now open throughout Allegheny County. Please use the Allegheny County Child Care tool at to find more information about programs in your neighborhood.

Inaugural Executive Director and Board Leadership

As an independent nonprofit, Executive Director Dr. Karen Dreyer will manage APOST.

Dreyer has focused her career on increasing access to opportunities for learning and healthy development for young people. Most recently, she served as the Director of Child Nutrition Programs at Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank.

An inaugural Board of Directors will join Dreyer in her leadership. Kathryn Vargas, the director of the City of Pittsburgh Department of Parks and Recreation, will chair the board. Find the full list of board members on the APOST website.

Learn More

To learn more, visit the APOST website.


February 1, 2023

Robots in Your Out-of-School-Time Programs? Yes! Your Learners Won’t Want to Leave.

Considering bringing robotics into your out-of-school-time (OST) programs? Join Kinderlab Robotics for this webinar on enhancing after school learning with robotics.

Session Details

Thursday, February 16 | 2 – 3 p.m.

More Information

During this webinar, panelists from museum, community outreach, and enrichment centers will:

  • Share how they’ve used innovative STEAM robotics in OST settings.d
  • Provide real examples of how robotics can be successfully implemented in diverse settings, including, out-of-school, afterschool, community events, and summer programs.
  • Share how educators and caregivers can adapt those experiences for their own learning environment.
  • Review the research and discuss the benefits of using robotics for your youngest learners.


August 31, 2020

Virtual Community of Practice Meetings

Are you interested in discussing topics of interest and current trends with fellow professionals in the early childhood field? Join ELRC Region 5 for their virtual Community of Practice sessions!


Community of Practice sessions provide early learning professionals with opportunities to discuss topics of interest, current trends in the early childhood field, and offer insight and inspiration to their fellow professionals.

In September, these virtual sessions will discuss the most current school-age care updates, information, trends, resources, and professional development opportunities. Participants will connect with out-of-school-time partners and professionals, and they will receive support as new or existing school-age care programs. The session will also focus on supporting virtual learning, daily schedules, and keeping the children engaged.

Available Sessions

More Information

For questions, contact ELRC Region 5 at or 412.350.3577.

Share this flyer with your network.


August 19, 2020

Virtual Back to Out-of-School-Time Conference

Join Allegheny Partners for Out-of-School-Time (APOST) from August 24–September 10, 2020 for their Virtual Back to Out-of-School-Time Conference!


Over a period of three weeks, the Virtual Back to Out-of-School-Time Conference will offer relevant workshops to assist professionals in continuing to provide high-quality programming for youth during this challenging time. This Conference is open to any youth practitioner who desires to increase their skills in working with youth in out-of-school-time programs or mentoring relationships.

If there is a workshop that you would like to attend but are not able to due to schedule conflicts, recordings and resources for all workshop offerings will be available for at least one month after all of the workshops have concluded.

Available Workshops


To view all workshop descriptions and register, visit the full Conference Agenda. Registration links will be included at the bottom of each event description.

More Information

For questions, contact Jaron Paul via email at


July 17, 2020

Antiracist Dialogues for Action: Antiracist Out-of-School Time Programs

Are you interested in learning, sharing knowledge, and working together with fellow changemakers to dismantle racism and injustice? Join ELIE Circle on August 12 for “Antiracist Dialogues for Action: Antiracist Out-of-School Time Programs.”


On August 12, ELIE Circle will hold the second virtual meeting of the Antiracist Dialogues for Action – convenings for out-of-school time educators (e.g., afterschool staff, librarians, teaching artists, researchers) to learn, share knowledge, and work together to dismantle racism and injustice.

The dialogues consist of the following:

    • a 30-minute presentation providing context, research, and historical perspectives on main dialogue topics;
    • a 45-minute small group dialogue on a related subtopic for participants to a) share collective knowledge and b) work with other educators to determine goals and next steps; and
    • a 15-minute closing and larger group share out.

All dialogues are designed for educators which includes those that are working directly with young people in any capacity and those at out-of-school-time organizations without direct contact. These dialogues are categorized in two categories: Educators and Youth Work.


To register and learn more, visit the event webpage.


November 12, 2018

PSAYDN Annual Partners’ Retreat

Focusing on policy development, coordination of quality initiatives, and sustainability, the PSAYDN Annual Partners’ Retreat provides professional development opportunities for OST professionals, school administrators, teachers, nonprofits, policymakers, and more. Register here to attend.

PSAYDN Retreat and PENN SACCA Conference

For the first time, the PSAYDN Retreat and PENN SACCA Conference will run consecutively to provide additional opportunities for OST advocates and professionals to receive professional development and participate in networking activities.

National and State Experts Will Discuss:

  • STEM and Advocacy
  • Career Pathways
  • Social-Emotional Learning
  • Behavioral Development
  • Substance Abuse Prevention
  • Sustainability and Partnerships
  • Leadership Development

Act 48 credits available.