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Armstrong of Philadelphia Selected as One of Just 15 Afterschool Ambassadors


Cecelia Armstrong Will Work in Pennsylvania and Across Nation to Make Afterschool and Summer Learning Programs Available to More Students and Families 


Washington, DC – The Afterschool Alliance announced today that it has selected Cecelia Armstrong, Communication and Outreach Coordinator at Sunrise of Philadelphia, to serve as a 2024 Afterschool Ambassador. She is one of just 15 leaders in the country chosen for the honor this year. Afterschool Ambassadors continue working with local afterschool programs while serving a one-year Afterschool Ambassador term, working with community leaders and policy makers, organizing events, and in other ways growing support for the afterschool and summer learning programs families rely on. 

“We are thrilled that Cecelia Armstrong is serving as a 2024 Afterschool Ambassador for the Afterschool Alliance,” said Jodi Grant, Afterschool Alliance executive director. “This is a challenging time for the country’s students and families, and afterschool and summer learning programs are uniquely positioned to help. But there aren’t nearly enough programs to meet the need, and programs are facing significant challenges including funding shortfalls as the pandemic relief tapers off, staff shortages, and more. Now more than ever, we need leaders to spread the word that afterschool programs keep kids safe, inspire them to learn, and give parents peace of mind that their children are safe and supervised after the school day ends. Armstrong is exactly the kind of champion we need.” 

“The opportunity to work with the Afterschool Alliance to increase awareness and support for the power of afterschool and summer learning programs this year is invaluable,” said Armstrong. “I’ve seen firsthand the many ways these programs help students and families overcome adversity. I’m so proud to be part of the afterschool movement and to be a 2024 Afterschool Ambassador.” 

Sunrise of Philadelphia has been providing high-quality afterschool programs and empowering communities since 1999. Sunrise serves 1,500+ students annually at 15 school sites across Philadelphia. The program inspires academic evolution, keeps kids safe, and supports working families. Students get to participate in an extensive selection of activities and receive career exposure and mentorship opportunities. 

Each Ambassador will organize a major event for Lights On Afterschool, the Afterschool Alliance’s annual rally for afterschool. Most of the thousands of local Lights On Afterschool events will be on or around Thursday, October 24, 2024. 

The 2024 Afterschool Ambassadors are: 

  • Colorado, Thornton: Mandi Browning, The PEAK Learning Center 
  • Delaware, Laurel: Tasha Esham, Laurel Boys & Girls Club 
  • Iowa, Des Moines: Linda Phillips, 21CCLC and Metro Kids/ Des Moines Public Schools 
  • Kentucky, Covington: Beth Wiseman, Learning Grove 
  • Louisiana, Baton Rouge: Yashica Newby, Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Louisiana 
  • Louisiana, New Orleans: Aaron Frumin, unCommon Construction 
  • Nebraska, Crete: Joel Bramhall, Cardinal Community Learning Centers, Crete Public Schools 
  • New Mexico, Farmington: Teahonna James-Belin, Navajo Preparatory School 
  • North Dakota, Bismarck: Arin Casavant, North Dakota’s Gateway to Science 
  • Ohio, Columbus: DeAndra Harrison, The Actions that Matter for Youth 
  • Ohio, Cleveland: Kasey Morgan, MyCom 
  • PennsylvaniaPhiladelphia: Cecelia Armstrong, Sunrise of Philadelphia 
  • Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh: Deanna Dugan, Propel Schools 
  • Rhode Island, Providence: Elliot A. Rivera, Youth In Action 
  • Tennessee, Knoxville: Sindy Dawkins-Schade, SHADES of Development 

Some 24.7 million U.S. children not in an afterschool program would be enrolled, if a program were available to them, according to a survey of nearly 1,500 parents commissioned by the Afterschool Alliance and conducted by Edge Research in May and June of 2022. That is the highest number ever recorded. Unmet demand for afterschool programs is significantly higher among Latino and Black children (at 60% and 54% respectively) than among children overall (49%). Cost is the top barrier to enroll, cited by 57% of parents as a reason for not enrolling their child. Ninety percent of parents rate the quality of the program their child attends as excellent (51%) or very good (39%). 

A large and powerful body of evidence demonstrates improvements in grades, school attendance, behavior and more among children who participate in afterschool programs. Researchers have also found that students in afterschool programs are more engaged in school and excited about learning and develop critical work and life skills such as problem solving, teamwork, and communications. 

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The Afterschool Alliance is a nonprofit public awareness and advocacy organization working to ensure that all children and youth have access to quality afterschool programs. More information is available at

Sunrise of Philadelphia is a nonprofit empowering schools and communities through high-quality afterschool programming. More information is available at