Teen Center Friday Activities Planned for Lincoln School


Organizers Discuss Potential Programs for Lamar Students

How to fill free time this year for Lamar’s younger school students was discussed by various community representatives meeting at the Project HOPE Teen Center, Monday, July 16.  The new Lamar District school year begins on August 16, and will mark the start of a four day school week for students.  Citizens, parents, educators and civic leaders are concerned that there are not enough affordable, local facilities to look after younger children who may be left alone while their parents are working on Fridays.  

The Lamar RE-2 school board voted to open Lincoln Elementary school to the Teen Center, which sees about 100 students a day during its fall and winter operation, located on East Elm Street.   In light of the Center’s JAG budget cuts and tighter funding, Center director, Lori Hammer, is asking community groups for suggestions on ways to keep younger students occupied and looked after on Fridays. 

The first meeting, which was represented by various health organizations, such as Prowers Medical Center, Parks and Recreation and High Plains Community Health Center, offered programming ideas to interest and educate the students.  Hammer said she is working on a schedule for Friday activities, but has nothing concrete yet, “We’re considering 8am to 11am and from 1pm to 4pm, but that’s not definite yet,” she explained.  Hammer said she has enough funding from a four grant to continue until 2014 and can then re-apply, but she hopes the Center can achieve 501C3 status which opens the door for other revenue sources.   

Some of the curriculum suggestions would not carry through for the entire school year, but would run on a four to six week program.  The need for instruction in nutrition, health and hygiene were stressed during the discussion.    Lori Nieschburg from LiveWell and Lori Gittings from Prowers County Health offered to investigate the Center’s status to qualify for USDA reimbursable student meals.  Suggestions for classroom activities included:  cooking classes, art work, non-sport athletics, tutoring, crafts and blanket- making, involvement with senior citizens, yoga and yo-yo classes, lifeskill instruction, cosmetology visits from LCC, classes about law enforcement and fire department activities, job shadowing and Big Brother and Big Sister programs.  

The next step for the group is how to take the suggestions and develop them into a viable program that will maintain interest on the part of the students and volunteer instructors.  Not all of Lincoln Elementary School would be opened, but enough rooms to accommodate the daily flow of students through a five day week.  It was noted that Lincoln was centrally located in Lamar, so some students would be able to walk to Friday classes from their homes.

By Russ Baldwin

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