By Melanie Williamson
Through a grant, the Vermilion Local School District has been able to provide a free afterschool program for students at the elementary and middle schools in cooperation with The Boys & Girls Clubs of Lorain County. The Boys and Girls Clubs of Lorain County started in 1999 and is now the largest youth-serving agency in Northeast Ohio serving over 900 young people.
“The Boys & Girls Clubs of Lorain County is a nonprofit organization providing safe, fun places for the kids who need us most. Our Clubs are open at the times when kids are most vulnerable to getting into trouble — after school, on Saturdays and during the summer. We champion academic success and healthy lifestyles well as character and citizenship. In addition, we offer special initiatives, including a farm program and a workforce development program.”
The afterschool program being offered to Vermilion students is part of their 21st Century Learning Centers Program. According to the organizations website, this is an afterschool literacy-intensive enrichment program. The three main objectives of this program are to provide opportunities to help students meet state academic standards, offer students access to a broad array of services, and to offer adult family members opportunities.
The afterschool program runs everyday school is in session from 2:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. Students are provided with time to get their homework done, as well as structured times for computer activities, games, and programs. They are also provided with a hot meal each day. The program is free to all students, and provides a safe and structured environment.
Many of the students that attend the Boys and Girls afterschool program were more than happy to share what they loved most about the program. Braden Vaugn and Grady Gottfried both expressed how much they enjoyed getting to spend time with their friends after school. Gavin Bruderer and Megan Buffkin both stated that computer time was their favorite part of club because they are given the freedom to play the games they enjoy.
Aiden Lopez stated that his favorite part was going to gym and playing games. Mariah Rico stated that she liked having the opportunity to get her homework done, so she didn’t have to do it at home. Finally, Brogin Seisel shared that she gets to be with her friends and do cool things during club, which makes it fun.
Trish Fenton one of the adult leaders shared that the program, which is in its second year, is running much smoother. She stated that they have a lot more fourth graders than last year, which she sees as a good sign because that meant new kids were joining. She received positive feedback from both parents and students involved in the program, and shared that the summer program also went very well.