PRESQUE ISLE, Maine (WAGM) — An afterschool program in Houlton is fun for students and beneficial for area parents. For this week’s Aroostook Community Matters, News Source 8 reporter Isaac Potter sat down with Adopt-A-Block from Aroostook’s Choices After School program.
School is back and so is the Choices After School program at Aroostook’s Adopt-A-Block. The Choices After School program began 12 years ago when Houlton High School was going to send its children home early for teacher personal development days. Tammy Goetsch, director of Adopt-A-Block Aroostook and MSAD 29 school board member, wanted to find a way to help parents.
Tammy Goetsch, Director of Aroostook’s Adopt-A-Block: Not sure what they’re doing now. So we came and talked to the board and talked to our volunteers and told them what if we started our own after-school program called it’s all about choice. And we had a few people who had taught for many years who were our directors, and it took off. The school brings them to our establishment on Tuesdays. Every Tuesday, school is in session, the children come. All children in grades 1-8 can attend our after school and we have been doing this for about 12 years now.
There are 52 children enrolled in the program this year according to Goetsch. The program includes fun events for children, such as healthy snacks, creative games, homework help and enrichment programs. She adds that the program would not exist without the grant money.
Tammy Goetsch: “Things like the Aaron and Marie Putnam Trust, we get funding through that. Machias Savings Bank last year we had a grant there. So it’s the grant that helps us get food and provide the resources that the children need. It’s all volunteer-based, except for our director who is Bethany Crone, and she’s on staff here at Church on the Hill, which is one of our partners. They let us use their facilities, we rent the space from them, it’s just a great partnership, and we’re really happy about that.
Goetsch says the program has a need as they head into winter.
Tammy Goetsch: “Before, we could get the local ski and snowshoe trailer, and that’s no longer an option to bring to our site, and it’s too difficult for us to bus the kids there. We are therefore looking to find a way to do so through a grant or donations from individuals to obtain snowshoes and cross-country skis. They love being outside in the snow and they love sliding around, so we just want to add to that. So they can stay healthy, exercise, and not stay indoors all the time.
Goetsch says volunteers are what make this program work.
Tammy Goetsch: “It’s not just something we do to get a paycheck, if that makes sense. The people who come do volunteer work, because they have the heart of children and they want to serve our community. And when you do that, the kids know it. They get it.
For more information about the program, visit Aroostook’s Adopt-A-Block Facebook page.
Source of information from Isaac Potter 8.
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