Lights On After School Published Sept. 27, 2006 By Staff Sgt. Kristine Dreyer 22nd Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs MCCONNELL AIR FORCE BASE, Kan. -- The McConnell School Age Program celebrated Lights On After School Oct. 20 at the SAP building here. "Lights On After School is a nationwide event to keep kids off the streets after school by getting them involved in programs," said Lori Paulsen, SAP assistant. "After school programs give children an opportunity to find out who they are and what they are capable of." More than 7,500 communities participated in the nationwide event, organized by the After School Alliance, a nonprofit organization dedicated to raising the awareness of the importance of after school activities. Getting the children involved is important, so the SAP staff encouraged the children to plan the main event of the evening. "Last year, we held an Art Show, but this year we asked the kids if they wanted to have a talent show, and they were really excited," said Ms. Paulsen. From Tae Kwon Do demonstrations to musical performances, the children showcased their talents to McConnell parents while demonstrating why after school programs are important. "The talent show was really good," said Rindy, wife of Tech. Sgt. Douglas Boedeker, 22nd Logistics Readiness Squadron, and mother of Ananda, 7. "I thought (participating) took a lot of courage and this will help the children get use to talking and performing in front of people." The event also gave McConnell families an opportunity to get an idea about programs such as Boy Scouts and 4-H club that McConnell children can participate in. "Any kind of youth activity program is good for children to get involved with," said Ms. Paulsen. "It can even be just an hour as long as it gets the kids involved in the community and activities they are interested in." For more information on youth activities offered at McConnell, contact the SAP at 683-9251 or the youth center at ext. 4070.