Leon County Turns Lights on After School

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Thousands of moms and dads work nine to five to support their families, and because they can't get home any earlier many turn to after-school programs for supervision and education.

"Many children go home to an empty home, so this gives our children a place to find academic support, dance, enrichment, the arts," said Phyllis Porter, who coordinates the 21st Century Program.

Natasha Watson says she relies on the program because she can't pick up her daughter in the afternoon.

"It's very convenient and I don't get off until five and I don't have to get her until six. She's actually doing her homework and learning and they go over stuff for the next day, so it helps a lot."

Leon County is one of thousands of districts taking part in a national initiative to bolster support for federally funded after school programs.

In Tallahassee Thursday evening about 1,500 people in the community attended a celebration at Jack McLean Park meant to showcase the children's talents.

"Most of them would be home babysitting other siblings while their mothers or fathers work late," said Alanka Hayes, who coordinates the program at Astoria Park Elementary School. "This gives them a safety net and something to do right after school and it helps a lot of them with academics."

Amarri Anderson is only in third grade, but says the tutoring really helps her.

"When you don't get it right away they'll help you and soon you'll learn how to do it right and then when you get in front of people you'll do it right and you won't mess up."