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Youth Center hosts "Lights on Afterschool" event

A student smiles at the camera during the Lights on After School open house event, October 26, 2016 at Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho. Lights on Afterschool is a project dedicated to ensuring that all children have access to quality programs.(U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Alaysia Berry/Released)

A student smiles at the camera during the Lights on After School open house event, October 26, 2016 at Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho. Lights on Afterschool is a project dedicated to ensuring that all children have access to quality programs.(U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Alaysia Berry/Released)

A student speaks at the Lights on Afterschool open house event, October 26, 2016 at Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho. The students helped make the event possible by preparing snacks, decorating the facility and making invitations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Alaysia Berry/Released)

A student speaks at the Lights on Afterschool open house event, October 26, 2016 at Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho. The students helped make the event possible by preparing snacks, decorating the facility and making invitations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Alaysia Berry/Released)

The audience watches a video at the Lights on After School open house event, October 26, 2016 at Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho. The video displayed various activities the children typically participate in after school. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Alaysia Berry/Released)

The audience watches a video at the Lights on After School open house event, October 26, 2016 at Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho. The video displayed various activities the children typically participate in after school. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Alaysia Berry/Released)

MOUNTAIN HOME AIR FORCE BASE, Idaho --

The Youth Center held a Lights on Afterschool open house event for members of the community and their families, October 26, 2016 here.

The purpose of this event was to raise awareness for the community on the importance of after-school time and activities and was hosted primarily by the students.

Lights on Afterschool is a nationwide event celebrating after-school programs and their role in keeping kids safe, inspiring them to learn and help working families. More than one million Americans celebrate it every year.

For more information visit www.afterschoolalliance.org

"Academics are very important, but between 3pm and 6pm, so much happens in a child's life. After-school programs give children opportunities they otherwise would not have," said Lisa Hall, school-age coordinator for Mountain Home AFB youth programs.

The students decorated the facility, handmade invitations, prepared the snacks and presented projects to the attendees.

Special guests included the Mission Support Group commander Col. John Blackwell, the Force Support Squadron commander Lt. Col. Nekitha Little, as well as several school and program officials.

"I think it's fantastic," Little said. "I think the most important part is the fact that the kids did it."

The Afterschool Champion award is given to a person who demonstrates outstanding work in developing and supporting after school programs.

At the end of the event, kids presented Retired Senior Master Sgt. Bill Heatter, a former team and analyst coordinator and volunteer for Mountain Home AFB youth programs acknowledging his dedication to the after-school program.

"It's humbling to accept this award," said Mr. Bill Heatter. "It's a great honor, and it's kind of validation for the many, many years I've spent at the youth center."

"I think Mr. Bill was chosen for this award because it had to do with someone willing to give their time, someone willing to go above and beyond," said Lisa Hall.  "He worked here for a really long time, but he keeps coming back to help... He really exemplified what it means to be an after-school champion."

For more information about the Lights on Afterschool program visit www.mhafbfun.com.

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