Community Partners Urged to Support Afterschool Program

An Appeal from Superintendent Maria Geryk:

I am excited to announce the restructured Amherst Afterschool Program in collaborative partnership with the Amherst Public Schools, Town of Amherst and two non-profit organizations: Capacidad and Marks Meadow Afterschool. This program is designed to meet the needs of all elementary students to ensure equity and accessibility. As you may know, research provides evidence that youth who spend more time in afterschool programs may derive greater academic benefits than youth who spend less time. Perhaps most importantly, evidence shows that academically at risk youth may benefit more from participation in afterschool programs than their higher achieving peers.

Launched last week at Crocker Farm, Fort River and Wildwood Elementary Schools, the Amherst Afterschool Program is poised to serve more children with integrated academic intervention and enrichment opportunities throughout the school year. Activities include visual and performing arts, instrumental lessons, cultural and language activities, outdoor recreation and field trips, health and wellness programs and academic support through the Five Colleges partnership. The Amherst Afterschool Program offers quality after-school child care with experienced directors and staff and is licensed by EEC and accredited by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Office of Child Care Services. All staff receive comprehensive child care training and are certified in Red Cross First Aid and CPR.

As the demographics of our community changes, the number of income-eligible students increases dramatically. This year, 40% of students in our schools qualify for free and reduced services. While this number is staggering, I am committed to providing a quality education for all students. Although free subsidy discounts are provided to those who qualify, there are currently 75 students unable to attend the Amherst Afterschool Program due to cost-prohibitive conditions. We are actively seeking additional funding and grants but there is an immediate and urgent need to provide tuition for these students.

I highly encourage you to consider sponsoring a child in the Amherst Afterschool Program and providing the $2,500 yearly tuition. Checks can be made payable to Amherst Afterschool Program and sent directly to Jim Regan, Out-of-School Time Coordinator, Office of the Superintendent, 170 Chestnut St. Amherst, MA 01002.

Thank you for your support in this dynamic educational endeavor. Please know your kindness and generosity will enable a student to participate in the Amherst Afterschool Program and this experience will make a tremendous difference in that child’s life.

Sincerely,

 
Maria Geryk
Superintendent of Schools
Last updated September 20, 2012
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