OGDEN -- After-school programs designed to keep kids safe and help them academically will be the focus of a celebration Wednesday.
Mayor Matthew Godfrey will kick off festivities with a proclamation in support of after-school programs at a rally at 3 p.m. at the Municipal Building, 2549 Washington Blvd.
Activities continue with a large family fun night running from 4 to 8 p.m. at Fat Cats Family Fun Center at 23rd Street and Washington Boulevard.
YMCA is sponsoring the events to showcase its 14 after-school programs in the Ogden/Weber school districts. The programs have grown this year as community schools join. YMCA is working with community schools at Mount Ogden and Mound Fort junior highs as well as Madison Elementary to give families and parents resources.
YMCA marketing and events coordinator Adrienne Shaw said the YMCA has noticed that families quickly see the importance of after-school programs. As they get involved and see the change it makes in their families, they keep coming back each year.
The event Wednesday is designed to bring even more publicity to the program. The mayor's proclamation is part of the national event "Lights On After School" to bring awareness to the importance of after-school programs to keep kids safe and out of trouble. During the school year, 146,788 Utah youngsters take care of themselves after school, Shaw said.
Godfrey was quick to agree to the proclamation.
"It was not hard to get him to jump on that bandwagon. He fully supports after-school programs in this area," Shaw said.
"This is all about community events and building awareness that after-school programs are important," Shaw said. Students who take part often see their grades improve because that is a real focus of activities, she said.
The family fun night will have staff members on hand to meet families and talk about the offerings. Families can bowl or play mini golf for $2 per person and use the bumper cars for $1. "We wanted to make it very affordable for our families," Shaw said. Families do not have to participate in the YMCA programs to come to the family fun night, but they will be able to learn more about the programs there.
YMCA does about three family events per year, but this is one of the first times to hold it at such a big venue, Shaw said. The individual after-school sites usually hold family events for their particular groups monthly.