RUMFORD — Western Foothills Kids Association will host a Lights On Afterschool celebration from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday at Mountain Valley Middle School.

Lights On Afterschool celebrations are held nationwide to draw attention to the many ways after-school programs support students, families and communities.

There will be displays of artwork and photographs taken by after-school students; a robotics demonstrations by the after-school Robotics Group; a news video created by the after-school News Team; and activities by the association and its community partners River Valley Rising, Healthy Oxford Hills, 4-H, Boy Scouts and Community Concepts.

There will also be a comical Improv Show on by the after-school Improv Group; snacks by the after-school Cooking Group; and a Food Drive by the after-school Youth Acceptance Group.

As part of the food drive, one raffle ticket will be given for every nonperishable food item and will entered into a drawing for a $50 Walmart gift card.

In 2017, a Market Decision Research evaluation conducted on 21st Century Learning Centers after-school programs in Maine found that low-performing students who regularly attended programs saw improvements in their studies and classroom behavior. The report showed that math assessment scores improved by 71 percent and reading assessment scores improved by 64 percent.

Approximately half also improved their grades in math and English language arts. Additionally, based on reports from surveyed teachers, students involved in 21st Century after-school programming made significant gains in classroom behavior and engagement in learning. When students participate in quality 21st Century after-school programs, they are not only provided help with homework and/or tutoring, but are given the opportunity to learn new things such as science, technology, engineering and math, graphic design, robotics, yoga, coding and  photography.

For more information got to the Western Foothills Kids Association Facebook page or contact Miki Skehan, director of Western Foothills Kids Association, at 207-357-6987.

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