Lights On Afterschool rally at Farmington Public Library By Leigh Irvin lirvin@daily-times.com Farmington - Celebrating programs that keep kids active and safe after school is the purpose of the 13th annual Lights on Afterschool rally, sponsored by the Afterschool Alliance. Children, parents, business and community leaders will come together from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. Thursday for a rally at the Farmington Public Library, the Bayless Power Library in the Farmington Boys & Girls Club, and the Blended Zine and Shiprock Branch Library. The rally will celebrate the achievements of after-school students and draw attention to the need for more after-school programs, which serve children nationwide who are unsupervised each weekday afternoon. Tight budgets are endangering after-school programs throughout New Mexico and around the country, forcing many to cut back or even close their doors. As with other Lights On Afterschool rallies across the nation, Farmington after-school supporters will urge lawmakers not to cut funding for after-school programs. Thursday's gathering will be one of 7,500 such events across the nation emphasizing the importance of keeping the lights on and the doors open for afterschool programs. "We are all extremely proud of our afterschool students and the incredible work they're doing," Flo Trujillo, Afterschool Alliance's ambassador for New Mexico, said in a news release. "Afterschool programs do an outstanding job of keeping kids safe, inspiring them to learn, and helping working families." There are two afterschool programs funded by the federal 21st Century Community Learning Centers initiative, at Apache and Mesa Verde elementaries. Farmington Public Library also offers bilingual after-school programs during the week. "This includes an online database and live homework help, using your school issued-laptops and the libraries' Kindle Fire, Color Nook and iPad," Norma Chacon, of the Farmington Public Library, said in a news release. "Lights On Afterschool celebrates the skills students learn at our afterschool programs. It is a powerful reminder that after-school programs keep children safe, inspire them to learn, and relieve working parents of worries about how their children spend their afternoons." For more information on Thursday's rally, contact the Farmington Public Library Youth Services at 505-599-1261, or visit www.afterschoolalliance.org for information on the Lights On Afterschool program.