Problems plague after-school program

March 23, 1993|By Anne Haddad | Anne Haddad,Staff Writer

The only three children who showed up for the first day of the after-school program yesterday are the children of the woman who runs it.

For the revived program at Northwest Middle School, it was only the latest thing to go wrong. The first thing was a hiatus of nearly five months because of problems getting the check for the state grant.

Yesterday, the first day of registration, the fliers that were to have alerted parents about the program still had not been delivered.

School employees mailed the fliers last Tuesday -- a week late, because of the snow, said Anna Rio of Taneytown, the program director.

But the post office still hadn't delivered them by yesterday, said Patricia Amass, who coordinates several grant programs for the schools.

"That sometimes happens with bulk mail," she said. "They'll be hearing from me."

Meanwhile, the program was to be announced on the school's public address system today, and Mrs. Rio will be there all week for any children who show up, Mrs. Amass said.

"We're hoping next week we'll be in full swing," she said.

The program features a different activity or theme for each day of the week. Students may sign up for one day a week, or up to five days a week. The session lasts eight weeks.

Activities and and instructors are: Mondays, physical fitness with Vicki Utz; Tuesdays, drama with Arnie Hayes of September Song; Wednesdays, social club; Thursdays, self-defense with Roberta King; and Fridays, bowling at nearby Thunderhead Lanes.

Mrs. Rio, who has a degree in art education, said the students requested the Wednesday social club as a place to drop in after school and chator listen to music.

She also will have guest speakers on Wednesdays. Topics will include first aid and community service.

A state grant for $25,060 and a sliding fee up to $52 per session pay the director and instructors. Children who attend more than one day a week pay an additional fee. Some scholarships are available, Mrs. Rio said.

A similar program at West Middle School in Westminster, a year older and more established, has 29 children enrolled, Mrs. Amass said. That program restarted March 1.

Although both schools had after- school programs in September, they were stopped in October at Northwest and in November at West because the state checks had not arrived and the tuition wasn't enough to pay the costs, said Jolene Sullivan. She is director of the county Department of Citizen Services, which administers the programs with Carroll County schools.

While they waited for the money to come in, officials lost the directors of the programs, who went on to other jobs.

"This has been a program where if anything can go wrong, it will," Mrs. Amass said.

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