Making staying after school fun


Photo by Sue Suchyta
Edwin Ross (fourth from left) of Exotic Zoo, an educational wildlife program based in Farmington Hills, visits the Lincoln Park Middle School Action Institute Oct 22 with a black throat monitor lizard during a family open house event for the after school program.

By SUE SUCHYTA
Sunday Times Newspapers

LINCOLN PARK – At Lincoln Park Middle School, students enjoy staying after school – at least when they take part in the Action Institute’s after-school program.

The program, launched Sept. 24, provides academic enrichment activities, tutoring and dinner.

It developed through a partnership with the Lincoln Park School District and nonprofit Wayne Metropolitan Community Action Agency.

The LPMS program meets Monday, Wednesday and Thursday from 3:10 p.m. to 6:10 p.m., and Tuesday from 2:10 p.m. to 5:10 p.m. in the school cafeteria.

When students arrive after school, they have 20 minutes to unwind and sign up for activities later in the afternoon. After a half-hour for dinner, they spend an hour on homework and tutoring. They then have an hour for enrichment activities. The last 10 minutes of the three-hour block is for activity and goal review, clean-up and a snack.

Site manager Karen Hickmott said there are 21 students enrolled, with 14 to 15 students attending most after-school sessions.

In addition to Hickmott, there is an adult group leader and two tutors, with a third tutor soon-to-be hired. She said the program has room for about 20 more students.

For more information, call (734) 955-6752, Ext. 224 or go to www.waynemetro.org. Parent packets are available in the school office.

Hickmott said the program seeks to provide the students with a safe environment, homework tutoring and assistance,
prevention programming, health and nutrition programs, field trips and activities.

One prevention program, which begins a 10-week run on Nov. 5, includes a presenter coming in to teach the students how to deal with issues like peer pressure and bullying.

At the Oct. 22 after school open house for parents and siblings of attendees, the staff announced the on-site student winners of an Edgar Allan Poe book-cover design contest. The activities are part of The Big Read, a National Endowment for the Arts project, which this year focuses on the stories and poems of Edgar Allan Poe.

Three 12-year-old seventh-grade girls had the top three entries. Nataly Camarena took first place for her cover featuring Poe’s “The Masque of Red Death,” while Mikaela Brown took second place for her cover depicting “The Purloined Letter.” Wendy Duran earned third place for her cover featuring “The Cask of Amontillado.”

After a pizza dinner, the students shared a visit from the Exotic Zoo based in Farmington Hills.

Hickmott said the program will feature monthly off-site field trips, voted upon by the students, and the six-week summer program will have weekly field trips.

Eighth-grader Myranda Sanfilippo, 13, said the after- school program is a lot of fun. She said she gets her homework done more quickly and at the program reliably than at home.

Her mother, Lisa Sanfilippo, is glad that her daughter has help with her homework after school, and has activities at the after school program to substitute for television watching at home.

“This is an awesome program,” Sanfilippo said. “I like it a lot; it helps her out a lot.”

Math teacher Gail Bawal said that the program creates a sense of community among the students.

She said it also helps parents who may be working multiple part time jobs because of the economy and need someone to make sure their children are safe after school.

Seventh-grader Nataly Camarena, 12, said that she is glad to go to the after-school program and get help with her homework. Because her father speaks Spanish, he cannot always help her with her homework.

She said the program lets her have fun, meet more people and have more friends.

“I guess I like everything about this,” Camarena said, “because you can finish your homework and not worry about it anymore and that’s the best part.”

Susan Jones said the after school program has helped her eighth-grade son John Busha, 14, with his schoolwork, and she said he does not have time to get into trouble after school.

“It’s a lot easier – we don’t have to fight to do the homework,” Jones said. “It’s a lot more peaceful.”