After School more than just after, school

September 22, 2011 | Chicago, IL

By Stephenie Lazarus

Erie’s After School program offers a safe place for Erie kids to socialize, relax , learn and grow. As one staff member says, “After School gives kids a place to get away from the stresses in life and just be kids.”

For those not familiar with After School, here is how a typical day looks for a student. It is 2 o’clock and you are walking out of school. You look left and then right and there they are, an Erie staff member waiting to pick you and your classmates up. A couple of minutes later you hop out the van with your dreams and your backpack and head into Towne Hall. You say hello to your friends from other schools and settle down for a healthy snack inspired by the Super H program. After you finish your hummus, you head up to the stage and check out today’s schedule. Do you want to go to the gym, painting club, or Zumba? Then you remember that science homework you have to finish! Looks like your first stop will be the homework room; the talent show will have to wait. Next thing you know, you and your friend are playing “Sorry!” with your favorite Erie staff member when Mom walks in. It’s time to go home?! No worries though, there is always tomorrow at Erie!

Erie’s After School program extends beyond the gap between school and home. Earlier, spring another group was able to get up close and personal with Sue the T-Rex when they slept over at the Field Museum as a part of “Dozin’ with the Dinos.” In early August, After School took 60 children on a weeklong camping trip. Children stayed in cabins and took part in activities like swimming, canoeing, and archery. Recent graduates of After School were able to remember such adventures at their graduation celebration. At the ceremony children sang songs in both Spanish and English, read poems, and received flowers and plaques before sharing cake and refreshments with family and friends.

While After School serves as a safe place for children to engage in a variety of enrichment activities outside of school, the program is much more. After School serves as a link for children and families to other Erie Neighborhood House programs. That is why it is hosting an Open House on Sept 23rd from 6pm to 7:30pm in the Erie House gymnasium to introduce families to Erie and its programs.


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