Nazareth Community Youth Development Celebrate Lights On Afterschool, Oct. 26

Published October 25, 2017

NOTE: This letter was written by Nazareth College Community Youth Development (CYD) students to show words of appreciation to local youth workers who continue to provide mentorship to our CYD students through service-learning and internship activities.

On October 26, 2017,  a celebration to recognize the importance of after-school organizations in the lives of millions of youth  will take place across the nation. Lights On Afterschool is celebrated nation-wide to call attention to the importance of afterschool proxgram for  children, families and communities. It is anticipated that more than 1 million Americans will celebrate Lights On Afterschool this year. Nazareth College Community Youth Development students not only celebrate the youth service organizations in Rochester, we honor the youth workers who help us translate and transform  theoretical concepts into professional strategies to care, comfort, and connect with youth. Without the guidance and mentoring of youth workers during our academic service-learning and internship experiences at your agencies, there could not be a true sense of ‘community’ in Community Youth Development.

According to the Afterschool Alliance, afterschool programs make a difference in communities by helping to “keep kids safe, improve academic achievement, and help working families.” You show us the importance of positive youth-adult relationships in order to change behavior and maybe change lives. We watch you use your creative magic to encourage youth to complete their homework and be engaged in learning, and at the same time, we find that you are mentoring us to do the same! Concepts such as ecological theory, implicit bias, resiliency, and trauma are deeply engrained in our classroom discussions and now we are able to connect a professional practice with those academic principles. We admire your ability to keep all youth safe and comforted, particularly the children who maybe experiencing a challenging day. We are in awe as we watch you engage youth in restorative practices so that they can play together peacefully.  And  you seem to have a keen ability to know when we are overwhelmed and stressed as college students and we appreciate your reaching out to us as you ask “ And how is YOUR day going, today?” You offer guidance that may not have been asked for but is welcomed as you encourage us to ‘take one day at a time’ and ‘breathe!”  You have taught us that our own self-awareness is a crucial foundation to being real  and  authentic in our interaction  with youth because youth are able to see through a false persona. You have taught us that the best youth workers have a sense of  themselves and ‘what makes them tick’ in order to be an honest role model for the youth. 

You show us that a  ‘youth worker’ comes in all shapes and sizes and in many forms as a career professional.  Your examples of being ‘kid first’ show us that  youth workers persist quietly with never an expectation to be thanked or shown signs of appreciation. You ‘light up’ when  you see a smile on a young person’s face because you explain that  a child’s smile means more than many people could ever understand.  We are in awe of your passion, your persistence and your sense of purpose for the youth in Rochester--lessons that could not be easily learned from a book or in a classroom.  We honor and thank you for helping us to feel safe, be more engaged in our learning, and helping us to feel like family. 


For More Information

Julie Long | Chief PR Officer | 585-389-2456 or

Lights On Afterschool

Nazareth College’s academic strengths cross an unusually broad spectrum of 60 majors, including education, health and human services, management, the fine arts, music, theater, math and science, foreign languages, and the liberal arts. The coeducational, religiously independent, classic campus in a charming suburb of Rochester, N.Y., challenges and supports 2,200 undergrads and 700 graduate students. Nazareth is recognized nationally for its Fulbright global student scholars and commitment to civic engagement. Rigorous programs, an uncommon arts and sciences core, experiential learning, career skills, and a global focus prepare graduates for not just one job, but for their life’s work.