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She's there for the kids

Salvation Army begins after-school program

Salvation Army begins after-school program

August 24, 2007|By MARLO BARNHART

Diane Rowe was hanging out in the playground behind The Salvation Army the other day when a young boy approached her, holding up his bare foot to show her a cut and asking for a bandage.

Rowe took care of the boy's need - and realized he probably would never have approached her had he not associated her with The Salvation Army and the activities he had attended over the summer.

It is that very feeling of familiarity, caring and safety that Rowe hopes will continue with other neighborhood youth now that school has started and the agency's new after-school program is getting under way.

Monday through Friday from 3 to 6 p.m., children in kindergarten through 6th grade will be able to do their homework, be tutored, use the computer lab as well as have nutritious snacks and play inside and outside on the playground in the 500 block of George Street, Rowe said.

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"We are reaching out to the children and neighbors in a two-block radius," Rowe said.

The after-school program will cost families $15 a week for each child they send, which works out to $1 an hour, Rowe said. There are scholarships for children in need and discounts for families with more than one child.

"We want this after-school program to lead to other ventures ... wherever we see the needs," she said.

A back-page advertisement Aug. 22 was coupled with a flyer that was to go home with every student at nearby Winter Street School on the first day of school.

"I've been out in the neighborhood talking it up, too," Rowe said.

Eventually, there will be several computers for children to use, as well as safe and supervised access to the Internet.

She foresees field trips on The Salvation Army's two buses, cooking classes and, perhaps, parenting and budgeting classes for parents.

Rowe, 44, is married to Daryl Rowe who works at maintenance at The Salvation Army in Hagerstown. There are three children, two grandchildren and one more grandchild on the way, Rowe said.

She came to the Hagerstown branch in May as the youth development coordinator. She had worked at the Frederick, Md., branch for the past seven years.

"I was a general manager at a McDonald's Restaurant before," she said. "My husband and I met at that fast food chain - over an order of Chicken McNuggets."

A member of The Salvation Army Church for 15 years, Rowe said she was called to work with children and now, has fulfilled her quest.

For more information on the after-school program, call 301-733-2440.

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