Registration open for local after-school programs

Published 10:38 am Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Hundreds of children in Chilton County returned to school Wednesday for a new academic year.

The start of school also signifies the start of local after-school programs held for students that need a place to go until their parents can pick them up.

Currently, after-school programs are available at Clanton Elementary School and the YMCA of Chilton County.

Clanton Elementary School will operate a fee-based after-school program from 3–5:30 p.m. every school day.

The program will serve children in pre-K through sixth grade.

Children must attend Clanton Elementary, Clanton Intermediate or sixth grade at Clanton Middle schools to be eligible for the program.

CIS and CMS students can ride the school bus to CES for the program.

The cost is $60 per child each month.

CES Principal Rebecca Threlkeld said the fee-based program would operate in the same format as the school’s grant-funded after-school program Tiger Trails did previously.

The Chilton County Board of Education did not approve for CES to seek renewal of the grant for Tiger Trails at CES this year but granted permission for a fee-based program to operate at the school instead.

Chilton County Schools Superintendent Dave Hayden said issues related to the grant’s funding were at the core of the board’s decision.

“The structure of the program really wasn’t the issue,” Hayden said. “The grant issues were a problem.”

The fee-based program will also be called Tiger Trails and will offer homework assistance, fitness activities and enrichment activities every day, Threlkeld said.

Students will also receive a healthy snack.

“In my opinion, it’s a very valuable program,” Threlkeld said. “One of our main goals of our program is academic assistance, but also to combat childhood obesity, and that’s why we have a fitness rotation. We feel very strongly that that’s important with the number of students that are overweight.”

Co-directors of the program are Andrea Abbott and Sheila Speaks, and Threlkeld serves as supervisor.

Program workers are certified teachers and high school student workers.

Greg Wilkins has had three children participate in Tiger Trails and appreciates the homework assistance students receive from program workers.

“They will sit down with them and help with their homework and have different activities that sometimes kids are not exposed to if you ask me,” Wilkins said. “It’s not a babysitting service because of what all they do down there.”

Wilkins said the program often gives his kids time to finish their homework, which in turn frees up more time in the evenings for them to eat dinner and go to bed at a reasonable time.

“With working parents, there’s not enough time in the day,” Wilkins said. “It’s helped us as a family to continue to do it.”

Wilkins said his kids have enjoyed various activities the program offers, including bicycling and archery.

Two of Wilkins’ children, Caden and Morgan, will participate in the program again this year.

Wilkins said his son Jim, a former participant, would assist with the program.

“We’ve had good experience with it and glad we’re able to continue this year,” Wilkins said.

Threlkeld said the program has room for more students to enroll.

“We can expand our staff to meet the enrollment of the program,” she said.

To enroll a student in the Tiger Trails after-school program, call CES at (205) 280-2730.

The YMCA of Chilton County’s annual after-school program will be held Aug. 13 through May 22 every school day from 3–6 p.m.

The program is open to children in kindergarten through sixth grade.

The cost is $20 per week for YMCA members and $45 per week for non-members.

Payments for the program are due each Monday.

A $25 non-refundable registration fee per family is required.

The YMCA bus will pick up students from Jemison, Thorsby and Chilton Christian Academy, along with Clanton Elementary, Intermediate and Middle schools.

The program includes homework, P.E. activities, arts and crafts and snacks.

YMCA of Chilton County Executive Director Angie Wright said the program is held every day school is in session, even when school dismisses early.

The after-school program is open to any child in the county, and spots are still available.

“We will take as many [participants] as we can get,” Wright said.

For more information, call the YMCA of Chilton County at (205) 755-2382.