Angela Mamun is a Renaissance woman–or at least she’s learning to be. And she’s found the right afterschool program to help her grow her talents.
“I think to be a good student you have to be good in everything, or at least know how to do everything,” said the 11th grade student at Youth Policy Institute (YPI). The winner of the 2017 Lights On Afterschool poster contest was describing an educational philosophy, but the theory applies to her poster design as well.
“The prompt asked for us to focus on one aspect of the afterschool program, but I thought that I could not focus on just one,” Angela explained. “Every aspect of YPI ties in together, so I felt it was important to incorporate everything. As for the lamp, that would be the lights-on part, and the book and the tree represent that YPI is a place where young minds can grow.”
After reviewing hundreds of applications and posters from across the country, Angela’s design cinched the public’s vote in May, with a final count of 466 Facebook likes and other reactions. The design will be printed on more than 50,000 posers and sent to more than 8,000 programs nationwide—and for the first time ever, the contest winner’s program received a $500 cash prize.
Angela had been at Youth Policy Institute for six months when she entered the Lights On Afterschool poster contest. In addition to providing homework help, tutoring in a range of schoolwork and non-schoolwork subjects, and a safe place for students to go afterschool, YPI offers a STEM club, an arts club, and a club that focuses on volunteering and supporting local immigrant families. All of the clubs are student-led, providing opportunities for students to define their interests and take the lead on making change in their community.
“There are a lot of clubs that students are involved in,” Angela explained. “Every single YPI club was started because a student wanted to start it—not because of the teachers. We also volunteer at different places, like hospitals and clinics, and have a wide range of internships for students who are interested in every field.”
Angela is active in the program’s immigrant family outreach club, Colores Unidos, and the arts program. “Basically, we help with issues about immigration. A lot of students at Camino Nuevo are second-generation immigrants, so we support them with legal issues. And I also like the arts program we have. An artist named Rocky Rojas is the one who gave me the flyer for the poster contest. Every Thursday and Friday he teaches us art. Sometimes we go on field trips to museums for exhibits like Kerry James Marshall’s ‘Mastry’ at MOCA. We go on field trips a lot and we’re about to start a mural, too.”
She described her experience of the program’s art club as an opportunity to learn in a different way than how she learns during the school day. “I wouldn’t have these kinds of opportunities or experiences at school — it’s different from most other classes. For example, the instructor recently taught us to do ink prints with a linoleum surface. We used chisels to carve out bits and parts to create designs, and we learned about negative space and positive space that way.”
The opportunity to explore new experiences and try different walks of life fits in well with Angela’s plans to graduate high school, head to college, and then enter medical school.
“I won’t choose to major in art, but it will still be a hobby. And that doesn’t mean that I can’t be a doctor,” she said.
YPI offers Angela an opportunity to look beyond schoolwork as the defining factor of her day. Any student or parent can testify that high school has a demanding course load, but having an afterschool program with non-academic programming offers a chance for Angela and her peers to focus on more than homework. YPI helps its students strike a healthy balance by providing help with schoolwork, instead of one more lesson.
“If I weren’t in YPI, I would just go home and hit the books,” Angela says. “There’s a lot of homework and reading. At my old school, on the days they offered afterschool tutoring, I would be home by 8 and I would have to stay up all night to get my work done. Here, it’s much easier because they offer tutoring but they actually work with you to get your schoolwork done.”
About Lights On Afterschool
It’s officially Lights On Afterschool season! Visit the Lights On Afterschool website to search for event ideas, learn strategies to engage the media, and download graphics and artwork to make your event shine.
And don’t forget to register your event to get 10 copies of the 2017 Lights On Afterschool in your program’s mailbox!
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