Youth and their Families Celebrate Lights on Afterschool

October 19, 2021

On October 28, the BOOST Network will host a virtual celebration of Lights On Afterschool, a national initiative designed to bring attention to the positive role and impact afterschool programs play in the lives of youth and the wide array of options that parents in the region have when looking for a high-quality one. Click here to learn more.

KVIA anchor Dylan McKim will serve as emcee for the event, which features special guests from the El Paso Chihuahuas and remarks from representatives of YMCA of El Paso and the Boys & Girls Club of Las Cruces, both of which are BOOST Network members. Young people and their families will also join the celebration by displaying projects they had completed at afterschool programs throughout the week and discuss the positive impact these programs have had on their academic, mental, and physical development.

BOOST stands for Borderplex Out-Of-School-Time. The Network, which launched in 2015 is a joint project of the Paso del Norte Health Foundations’ Healthy Kids Initiative and the United Way of El Paso, brings together more than 40 providers of afterschool, weekend, and summer youth programs located in El Paso, Texas; southern New Mexico; and Ciudad Juárez, Mexico.

“Programs like those run by BOOST Network members have been shown to help kids improve their academic and social skills and become more confident, engaged members of their communities,” said Sandra Day, associate program officer, Paso del Norte Health Foundation. “Especially now, as many young people are emerging from a prolonged period of uncertainty and isolation due to the pandemic, the structure and support these programs offer are critical to their healthy development.”

According to the Afterschool Alliance, which first launched Lights On Afterschool in 2000, today 7.6 million children across America are left alone and unsupervised after school. The BOOST Network’s celebration is one of approximately 8,000 events taking place around the country this year to recognize programs that help working families by keeping kids safe and helping them grow when they’re not in school.

Paso del Norte Health Foundation’s Healthy Kids Initiative aims to improve a range of health outcomes by engaging disconnected youth in quality out-of-school programs. Through the BOOST Network, it helps support OST providers across the greater Paso del Norte region and provides a resource for parents seeking quality OST programs for their children. Parents can find dozens of programming options on the BOOST Network website, ranging from athletics to arts and music, to academic support to leadership development, to summer enrichment to STEM-based activities and more.

This was the third year that the BOOST Network has hosted a Lights on Afterschool event.

Earlier this month, representatives of the Paso del Norte Health Foundation and United Way of El Paso received a proclamation by El Paso County Judge Ricardo Samaniego recognizing the positive impact afterschool programs play in the lives of youth in the region. The City of Las Cruces also presented a proclamation to Ashley Echavarria from Boys & Girls Club of Las Cruces and Healthy Kids Manager, Enrique Garcia, honoring the incredible work afterschool programs do year-round to keep youth engaged, learning, and growing.

For more information on the BOOST Network or quality out-of-school programs, visit

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