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What a Difference a Grant Can Make!

Naples, FL – What a difference a grant can make! When Mike Davis Elementary School opened three years ago, only 30 families enrolled their children in the school’s aftercare program, for which they had to pay.  But the program providers – After School Programs, Inc. (ASP), a childcare educational services company accredited by The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools – had a much more ambitious goal in mind: to serve hundreds more children in Collier County.

“Not only does an educational aftercare program benefit the children academically, it helps financially distressed families in these uncertain economic times,” said Alan Wolnek, ASP CEO.

So his company applied for and received a highly competitive Florida Department of Education Mentoring and Student Assistance Initiatives grant to provide free educational aftercare programs to schools in Collier County. Wolnek said the grant amount of $693,860 enables ASP to provide educational aftercare services to 400 children through July 30, 2011. Two schools in the county – Mike Davis Elementary and Golden Terrace Elementary – have taken advantage of the opportunity to provide these programs to their students, and are thrilled with the results.

According to Principals Robert Spano, Mike Davis Elementary, and Kimberly Lonergan, Golden Terrace Elementary, their schools are now able to provide free educational aftercare programs to 200 children each. “The parents are very excited,” Spano said. “They jumped at the chance. In the first month, nearly all 200 seats were filled.” “Likewise,” Lonergan said. “We love it. We appreciate it. We want it to stay forever.” Spano said the educational aftercare program includes mentoring in reading, math, science and technology – namely, computer skills. “There’s even scheduled time for homework,” he said. “We fully expect to see significant improvements in students’ performance when the state assessments are made in the spring.”

Lonergan added that students also engage in science experiments, handwriting skill development, and physical fitness activities. “The program offers an extended day of learning,” Lonergan said. “And our children need it. We are a Title 1 school with more than ninety percent at-risk children,” Lonergan said. “The grant also includes free bus transportation,” Wolnek said. “In the summer, when summer school sessions are scheduled from noon to six-thirty, we can provide dinner for the children, funded by the federal government.

“The educational aftercare program certainly makes life easier for working parents,” Wolnek added. “But most importantly, the goal for the children and the schools is to raise the students’ math and reading scores and prepare them to succeed in their future academic years.”

Since it was established in 1991, ASP has delivered educational enrichment programs for children in South and Central Florida, Georgia and North Carolina. The company, which also offers extensive tutoring services, has earned a reputation for improving the academic performance of at-risk children so that they can confidently continue their education through high school and even go on to college.

ASP is a not-for-profit company developed to provide safe, educational, quality childcare services for after school and summer programs. ASP currently provides after school care and tutoring services for thousands of children in three states. The company is also noted for its philanthropic efforts. It offers a food pantry for at-risk children and their families; provides free scholarships for Haitian children uprooted by the earthquake disaster in Haiti; and partners with Junior Achievement on special programming and the Toys for Tots campaign for the holiday season.

For additional information, please contact the ASP corporate offices at: 1520 S. Powerline Road, Deerfield Beach, FL 33442; tel: 954-596-9000; web: www.aspkids.com

 
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