February 14 is the day we tell the people we love why they are so important to us. This year, our Valentine is to our children’s afterschool program, Lewiston 21st Century, because it makes all the difference in the world for us and for our families and, for that matter, it makes life better for countless other parents, grandparents and children in Lewiston.

We love it because it is giving our children the chance to learn cooking and leadership skills and to make new friends.

Cara Moya and family.

Veronica Chadburn and family.

We love it because it has given our children help with homework and more confidence in school. They especially enjoy seeing guest speakers such as Mr. Drew and His Animals every Friday and participating in CIT leadership programs as they get older.

We love Lewiston 21st Century because our children love it. At the 21st Century afterschool program, our children enjoy writing poetry, learning mindfulness strategies and doing hands-on science, technology, engineering and math projects. We have seen our children blossom into young leaders and become more confident in school.

It is hard to be a working parent. You worry about your kids all day long and some of us worry most during the hours between the final school bell and the time we get home from work. Afterschool programs keep our children safe and busy during those hours — hours that can be some of the most dangerous for our children, according to studies, because they can get into trouble or get hurt.

We know we are not alone in our affection for the staff at Lewiston 21st Century.  All across the country, parents like us love their kids’ afterschool programs. And their kids, like ours, love those programs, too.

So, today, as we take the time to share our love with the people in our lives who matter most, we are happy to share our appreciation for the Lewiston 21st Century program, which is making a huge difference for our families by allowing us to work while keeping our kids safe and inspiring them to learn.

Cara Moya and Veronica Chadburn are both residents of Lewiston.

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