Amir Clayton, 11, works on the computer Friday afternoon during the Athletics for Education and Success after-school program in the old Sacred Heart School in Fort Dodge.
-Fort Dodge Messenger
photo by Hans Madsen
words by Jesse Helling
While funding must be found for the Athletics for Education and Success summer day camp to keep the program alive, the after-school program also is in jeopardy from lack of funds.
Charles Clayton, program director, said at least $130,000 is needed to keep both programs afloat for the next year. He continues to write grants looking for support, but said raising funds for summer camp is imperative to its survival.
Still, it's March, school is in session and youngsters attending the BLING after-school program worry about now.
"It's really fun," said 12-year-old Landon Smith. "We get to learn about Black History Month and all the things that happened in history in the past. And we have study time, so I get my homework done."
For 11-year-old Tay Johnson, the bank of computers available at the AFES building helps in her homework. She, too, actually enjoys the educational aspect of the after-school program. "I get a head start on my homework here," she said, as she looked up information on the city of Troy.
Mike Clayton 11, joined the after-school program in January because he "didn't know they had it till my friend told me." And while he likes the help he gets with his homework, he enjoys playing ping pong the best.
All three are sixth-grade students at Fair Oaks Middle School, and all three attended camp last summer. They agree they'd be lost without the after-school program.
"I'd have to go home and tend to my little sister," Tay said.
"And I'd have to walk home and sit down and do nothing," Landon added. "My life would be ruined if I didn't come here."
Although he's been part of the program for just two months, Mike is certain he'd be upset if he didn't have it. "I'd probably be mad because I wouldn't have anything to do after school. It would be boring to sit in the house all day."