Sumter Count celebrates after school programs - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Sumter Count celebrates after school programs

October 9, 2006

Americus--Sumter County school leaders say helping kids after regular school hours is an important job.

Today, the district kicked off the "Lights on After School" campaign.  It's a nationwide event that celebrates the need for after school programs.

As a school band plays an energetic beat, revved up students demonstrate their support for after school programs.

"I love the program," says Scyjuana Rollen.  She is one of the many students enjoying this evening's fun activities.

"This is our first one right here, but we're going to have more in the future," she says.

And while she and others look forward to having a blast, there's more to after school programs than just the events.

After school programs serve as an extension of what's already being taught in the classroom. Students can help on a particular subject, or further develop their social skills by taking part in events.

"You get to meet new people," she says.

Rollen takes part in Sumter County's P.A.S.S program. She meets new people but also receives additional help in her classes.

"If you need help with high school, it's best for you to get in the P.A.S.S program because they can help you catch up with your credits," she says.

"We're very fortunate here to have reading, math, science, health tutorials, we also provide enrichment activities," says Mark Dunaway, the director of Extension Programs.  He says these programs build more than just knowledge.

"It gives them that support after hours to learn themselves, to learn more about them, and who are they are, as well as their friends," says Dunaway.

 It also keeps students away from trouble.

"It helps keep them off drugs and the streets, it's best for children to be in the after school programs," says Rollen.

The tenth grader plans to stay involved in her program for quite some time.

"As long as I'm in high school," she says.  And while she's in school, the district promises to make after school learning fun long after the last bell.

Parents of children in Sumter County's after school program can also take advantage of the services offered. They can receive GED help as well as help searching for a job.

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