NEWTON, GA (WALB) It's a bright start to the school year for dozens of kids in Baker County. The East Baker Historical Society kicked off a new after school program Thursday.
Kicks and punches from Christian Warriors karate group were just one highlight at the after- school program. These activities keep kids off the couch and stimulate their brains.
If you're home in front of the TV, you get zero exercise," said Jaden Martin.
Martin says karate also helps him stay focused in school. That's music to the ears of parents and leaders including Shirley Sherrod who started 5th grade here back in 1957 when there were only army barracks outside.
"This meant so much to us," said Sherrod. "It was the first time we had indoor toilets, hot lunches, and a better atmosphere that made it better for learning."
$1 million in government money allowed the after-school program to offer classrooms for kids 5th to 8th grade. They'll learn about five different parts of the world, including: USA, China, Mexico, Africa, and Australia. Sherrod says these kids are smart and just need a chance to engage.
"We just want to help the school system bring that out in them, along with offering new things like music and exposing them things that they don't normally get to do," Sherrod noted.
Kids can also buy prizes like clothes, shoes, and fresh spices from the kitchen with their attitude.
"Those are some things that will tip the cake over but we want to make sure academics are a strong focus," said David Milliner with the East Baker Historical Society.
Milliner agrees offering after school activities like martial arts, music, and sports will keep their bodies and minds going for a long time.
Organizers hope to expand that program up to12th grade. Roughly 35 kids are enrolled in the free program now. They hope that will grow to 100. It lasts from 3:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m. on weekdays, and matches the same holiday schedule as the Baker County School System.
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