MOUNTAIN TOP, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Every October, millions nationwide celebrate programs that keep children safe and continue their learning once they leave school. 28/22 News Reporter Emily Allegrucci spoke with an afterschool program in Mountain Top to tell us how they’re celebrating this week.

October 26 will be dedicated to after-school programs all over the country.

Starry Knights Learning Center in Mountain Top has dedicated this entire week to their program and what they do best; educating and protecting local children.

One day a year in October is set aside to recognize programs that focus on our children every day of the year.

“I would love to stay home and be a stay-at-home mom, but unfortunately, we all have jobs and bills to keep up,” said Mountain Top resident Emely Mercado.

Millions will come together on Thursday for #lightsonafterschool; a nationwide appreciation for the community’s afterschool programs.

Mountain Top’s Starry Knights Learning Center is celebrating all week long.

Their goal is to show government officials how these programs change the lives of children and their families.

“If we don’t have after-school programs, what they would do is go home by themselves. Kids do need this, the kids do need a safe place,” said Owner and President of the Starry Knights Learning Center Melody Glazenski.

Centers like Starry Knight provide an enjoyable and educational environment for kids,

“We were just on the bus, we had a long, long day and it’s just fun to have a nice place to relax and learn,” said Ella Delessio of Mountain Top.

While also keeping them safe.

“I really enjoy the fact that safety it’s in here. I know they will keep them safe, that nothing will happen, and if something comes up, they’d definitely reach out to us immediately,” said Mercado.

A focus during the national week of celebration is spreading awareness on the dangers of smoking and vaping; a message that the Slavinski sisters are ready to share.

“Here we learn like no vaping and stuff no smoking, that’s all very bad,” said Mountain Top resident Rosalee Slavinski.

The goal is to educate young minds before they get exposed to such dangers and to give them a safe space after school without these factors present.

“It’s out in the public, they watch and play video games. It’s out in the video games. This way, they know the importance of not doing it,” said Glazenski.

Starry knights will have informational displays every night this week from 5-7 and they will have a drug van there tomorrow to answer any questions or to offer help if needed.