Lutheran Social Services of South Dakota


Hilltop Afterschool Program Lights On Event Features Mayor & Business Leaders

The students of the Hilltop Afterschool Program will host a Lights On Afterschool rally on Thursday, October 20 at 4:30 p.m. Location: Hilltop Afterschool and Summer Program, Hilltop United Methodist Church, 1312 S. Bahnson Ave., Sioux Falls. The rally will be one of more than 7,500 such events around the nation that day. It is the 12th annual Lights On Afterschool organized by the Afterschool Alliance.

Hilltop children are inviting their parents, program supporters, community members and city and state officials to help celebrate their special day. After Mayor Mike Huether reads a proclamation, students will demonstrate the learning that can occur in the hours after school. Attendees can view student art, join in science and math or check out the homework and reading zone.

The event will highlight three of the significant contributions that afterschool programs make to Sioux Falls: keeping kids safe and healthy, inspiring them to learn, and relieving working parents of worries about their children's activities during the afternoon hours. Parents, supporters, and community members are expected to attend.

The Hilltop Afterschool Program opened in 2007 with a 21st Century Community Learning Centers grant from the U.S. Department of Education. It now serves 65 children, providing homework assistance, tutoring, sports, recreation, the arts, mathematics, reading, science and dozens of other subjects and activities. Hilltop serves children from Cleveland, Harvey Dunn, Rosa Parks and John Harris Elementary. The program also serves students who have recently arrived in the United States in cooperation with the Sioux Falls Elementary Immersion Center. Grant and other funding sources allow the program to offer a sliding fee scale, ensuring that all families have the option to choose a high quality education experience for their child after school and in the summer. The students spend their after school and summer time at the program learning, doing service projects and having fun. There are field trips, special guests, experiments, projects, and of course homework help and reading.

Studies indicate that students who participate in afterschool programs are less at risk for unsafe or unhealthy behaviors, show academic gains, demonstrate better social skills and make better choices than their peers that are not adequately supervised.

“We are all very proud of our afterschool students,” said program director Heather DeWit. “The hours after school provide a unique opportunity for hands on learning and positive activities. We offer our students a variety of positive choices and they are role models for their peers.” Like so many other afterschool programs around the nation, Hilltop is supported in part funding from the federal 21st Century Community Learning Centers initiative. Since its creation, it has provided funding to allow millions of children to attend afterschool.

Lights On Afterschool is organized by the Afterschool Alliance, a nonprofit public awareness and advocacy organization working to ensuring that all children have access to quality afterschool programs. More information on the Afterschool Alliance and Lights On Afterschool is available at

Parents interested in Lutheran Social Services Childcare and Education Programming can call 605-371-8770 or visit Last year, more than 56,000 lives were touched through a variety of services offered through Lutheran Social Services statewide. In addition to the Childcare and Education Programs, core services offered by LSS include mentoring, adoption, pregnancy counseling, foster care, disaster response, consumer credit counseling, residential services for youth, refugee and immigration services, rural life ministries, affordable housing and mental health counseling. LSS serves people of all ages, races, faiths and economic levels with professional, confidential and affordable services. LSS is licensed by the State of South Dakota and accredited by the Council on Accreditation.

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