BINGHAMTON, NY – As the days get darker, a new initiative is keeping the lights on longer.

Lights on After School is a new nationwide program dedicated to insuring kids have a place to go at the end of the day.

The local program, funded by the United Way of Broome County, will offer more activities after school at the Lee Barta Community Center in Binghamton.

The goals are to support working families, keep kids safe and promote academic growth.

Broome County Deputy Executive Kevin McManus says that 1 in 5 kids are left unsupervised after the final bell rings.

“We have eleven million children across the nation who don’t have a place to go after school. That’s troubling. That’s troubling from a county perspective, state perspective, country’s perspective. To have a place after school where kids can call their own, where they can feel safe, enables working families to feel comfortable,” says McManus.

Mayor Rich David says that while other programs have suffered, Binghamton afterschool programs are doing very well.

“We need to do whatever possible to invest in and support youth programs in our community. We’ve seen outside of the city of Binghamton, in Endicott for example, youth programs shut down. That is a negative and a determent to our regional community. And in Binghamton, we are doing the opposite,” says David.

The Binghamton event was one of 8 thousand Lights on After School events that happened across the country in the month of October.