Hinahara: Youth Center keeps growing

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Middleton Youth Center coordinator Gabriella Hinahara provided her annual update on the after-school program, which is housed at CSCS and benefits Kromey students, to the Board of Education at its regular meeting on Monday, May 13.

She said average daily attendance 48 students and there has been a wait list for seven of the past 12 months. That is three times the number of students who attended in 2014. She said the goal is to have a ratio of 10 students for every staff member to help with activities, homework and individual mentoring sessions.

She said 95 students signed up by the end of the first week of the 2018-19 school year and another 13 students from the wait list were enrolled in October and November. There are still 28 students on the wait list. There are also 71 students enrolled for the summer program and eight students on a wait list.

Among the mini-courses offered this year were baking, photography, soccer, radio club, media, exploring Spanish, Minecraft Club and many more, she said.

She reviewed some of the programming changes made to the Youth Center this year. She noted each staff member is matched up with a small group of students and tries to meet with students individually 2-4 times each month. The mentoring focus is on building relationships, goal-setting, behavior planning, self-care and academic accountability.

There are talks about moving the Youth Center to Kromrey next year. Hinahara said it is partly due to challengs related to the high school addition and rebuild, but also because the students go to school at Kromrey. She thinks it would also lead to more collaboration and communication between Youth Center and Kromrey staff. She noted the Youth Center piloted a drop-in basketball program at Kromrey on one day a week this past year.

Board members had lots of questions about getting a similar program going at Glacier Creek. The District allocates funds for the Youth Center and set aside $25,000 for a similar program for students in the west side of MCPASD this past year. Rainey Briggs noted principals met and decided the funds would be best spent helping with after-school activities at West Middleton.