OKLAHOMA CITY (October 21, 2022)— A one-of-a-kind nationwide celebration took place at the Boys & Girls Club of Oklahoma County’s (BGCOKC) Memorial Park location, helping spark students’ interest in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) careers.
In partnership with Oklahoma Gas & Electric (OG&E) and the Afterschool Alliance, BGCOKC hosted Lights on Afterschool, an annual event on October 20 to highlight how afterschool programs introduce students to new skills and prepare them for long-term success.
“We’re committed to supporting our Club members in discovering their passions and developing a lifelong love of learning,” said BGCOKC President & CEO Teena Belcik. “OG&E and the Afterschool Alliance demonstrated incredible community leadership by helping shine a spotlight on the importance of afterschool programs.”
For this year’s event, the Afterschool Alliance teamed up with Energy Superheroes to pique children’s interest in the energy sector. OG&E donated copies of Everyday Superheroes: Women in Energy Careers to BGCOKC for use throughout the year.
Lindsay Laird, manager of community outreach and engagement for OG&E, said the book’s inclusion of two OG&E employees – real-life women who are trailblazing the energy industry – has the potential to spark youth’s interest of the opportunities available within STEM.
“OG&E is proud to invest in our local communities, inspiring the next generation of STEM leaders to dream big and follow their natural curiosities,” Laird said. “Energy is an important part of STEM education, and afterschool programs are a natural space to provide engaging scientific learning.”
Energy Superheroes and trailblazers — including Michelle Rodriguez-Pico and Jennifer Hill from OG&E — were also on-site to sign donated books, build wind turbines with students and conduct drone demonstrations.
“Afterschool programs are an ideal setting for students to explore STEM through hands-on, team-based activities,” said Afterschool Alliance Executive Director Jodi Grant. “Whether they’re building robots, testing soil samples, shadowing health care professionals, or writing code, in afterschool programs across the country students are learning STEM by doing STEM. We’re thrilled that so many Lights on Afterschool events this year are shining a light on the unique ways afterschool programs engage students in STEM activities. As the pandemic continues, it is more important than ever to ensure students have access to quality afterschool programs, which build students’ interest in learning and help them forge successful futures.”
Organized by the Afterschool Alliance and launched in October 2000, Lights on Afterschool is the only nationwide event celebrating afterschool programs and their important role in the lives of children, families and communities. The effort has become a hallmark of the afterschool movement and generates media coverage across the country each year. Thousands of afterschool programs across the nation will celebrate Lights on Afterschool on or around October 20, with open houses, rallies, parades, and more. BellXcel, Capital One, and Clear Channel Outdoor are generous sponsors of Lights on Afterschool this year.