KANNAPOLIS -- Children at Carver Elementary School in Kannapolis have a safe, reliable and supervised place to go after school thanks to the Boys & Girls Club of Cabarrus County.
The 21st Century Learning School Grant was given to fund up to 75 students to be tutored, socialize and have a warm meal.
“What makes this so special is that children get to stay after school,” said Jonathan Helms, who is the unit director at the Boys & Girls Club of Cabarrus County and the director of the 21st Century program. “Some of these children may not have a safe place to go. Between 3 and 7 p.m., juvenile crime rates are at an all-time high. This program keeps them here under supervision of adults, provides them a meal and they get to retain some school knowledge.”
On Mondays through Fridays, the children spend three to four hours receiving extra help with their school work, play in the gym or outside and have a meal catered by K&W Cafeteria.
The first year of the three-year grant started last October and continue until the school year comes to an end.
Helms they hope to start the program for next school year as soon as the doors open in August.
“The 21st Century program is a federally funded grant that we apply for just so we can have better means in serving the youth in the community,” Helms said.
With the grant, each child is fully paid for. Along with education and playtime, teachers and volunteers instruct the students on character building and leadership skills.
“It allows kids to be able to attend the Boys and Girls Club after-school program who otherwise wouldn’t necessarily have a safe place to go after school to get the extra help they need, academically and behaviorally,” said Bailey Schadler, who works with both the Boys & Girls Club and the 21st Century program.
The Boys and Girls Club of Cabarrus County services about 17 schools in Concord.
The 21st Century program is the first after-school program at an elementary school in Kannapolis.
“The majority of the kids in the program come from single-parent households. We are working with the kids’ grade levels up to and above state standards,” Schadler said. “The parents can really tell a difference in the kids’ behavior and their grades, and reading and math skills. We focus mainly on reading and math.”
On Friday, at Carver Elementary School, a celebration event was put on for the Munch Program, a program stemmed off the 21st Century.
“The school nurse has been working with the kids for a few months on a program called ‘Program Munch,’ which is getting the kids involved in healthy choices, healthy eating and nutrition,” Schadler said. “She comes once a week and cooks a meal with them and tells them why it is healthy, what they should be eating and to exercise.”