PACES, Perry’s Academic Cultural and Enrichment Services, Program will be joining more than 8,000 communities and one million Americans on Wednesday, Oct. 17 and Thursday, Oct. 18 in celebrating the importance of afterschool programs by participating in the National Afterschool Alliance’s 19th annual Lights On Afterschool.

This nationwide event calls attention to the importance of afterschool programs and the need for resources required to keep the lights on and the doors open. PACES has participated in all 19 years of this national event.

PACES kicks off the Lights on Afterschool celebration with a fundraiser walk, “PLEDGES FOR PACES,” from 3-5 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 17 at the Perry High School Kaufman Track. Students will walk laps during that time and ask for either your pledge per lap or a flat fee to help support the program.

Pledge sheets are available at the PACES office at Perry Elementary, in the middle school and high school offices, Perry Public Library, Perry Chamber and the McCreary Recreation Center.

The annual celebration will continue from 5-6 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 18 in the elementary multi-purpose room with a Lights On Afterschool rally. It will promote how afterschool programs are keeping kids safe, improving academic achievement, building character, providing fitness and nutrition education and helping working families.

The program will include a Mayoral Proclamation, guest speaker Superintendent Clark Wicks, school board members, student awards and talent show. PACES partners and alumni will be honored as well. The evening will culminate with a beef burger supper in cooperation with partner, Blank Children’s Hospital Outreach Department.

Perry Schools cares about a safe and educational place for students of working families before and after school. That’s why the PACES program was started with a 21st Century Community Learning Center Federal Grant in 2000. The program has continued for the past 19 years to work towards becoming a self-supported one.

PACES has supported over 10,000 students since its beginning in 2000 and it has offered over 200 academic and enrichment programs to students besides the daily elementary learning center. Students involved have improved grades and attendance.

Come and be part of our celebration.