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Boys and Girls Club keeps kids safe and focused after school

December 13, 2007|By MARLO BARNHART

HANCOCK - Now that the Boys and Girls Club site in Hancock is open five days a week, both the staff and the kids are happy.

"I like coming here after school," said Jarvis Handy. A sixth grader, Jarvis said he usually stays at the Hancock Middle/Senior High School site until closing. "There is someone here to help me with my homework."

Jordan Appel is a program assistant who works when she is not in classes at Hood College in Frederick, Md.

"I'm studying child and adolescent psychology at Hood," Appel said. She previously worked at Brook Lane Health Services, but is happy to be working a little closer to her home in Hancock.

"This area really needs this," Appel said.

The program was introduced for just one day a week last school year, according to Buck Browning, director of development at the Boys and Girls Club of Washington County.

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Participating elementary students are walked over to the high school after dismissal at 2:30 p.m. The middle and senior students just stay on after school is over.

The doors close at 7 p.m., with parents picking up their children at a time that suits their schedules.

The cost for the entire school year is $200 per child. Browning stressed that scholarships are available and there is also a sliding scale so no child will be turned away for lack of funds.

There's another satellite site in Cascade, according to Matt Krantz, rural outreach director for the Boys and Girls Club of Washington County.

"We have gotten good feedback from parents," Krantz said, because not only are the children safe, they are having a good time and getting their homework done.

A list is kept of who may or may not pick up children.

Flyers went home to parents when the program began. The rest of the publicity has been word of mouth, Krantz said.

Each day starts with Power Hour - a designated time for homework and help with school projects. Work sheets provided by teachers are available in a variety of subjects. Teachers also let the club staff know which students need what kind of help. "The teachers like that they are getting their homework done," Krantz said.

There are also physical activities, snacks and even access to the library and computer labs. Cooking is also taught once a week with an eye toward safety.

Currently the Hancock site can accomodate 30 youngsters. "Seeing it grow has been exciting," Krantz said.

Jamie Hill is program director at the Hancock site.

The outreach to Hancock and Cascade is underwritten by the Washington County Partnership for Children and Families via a grant from Rural Outreach Initiatives.

For more information on the after school programs, call 301-733-5422.

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