CER offers expanded program

FAIRMONT — Fairmont Community Education and Recreation is offering an expanded “Lights On for Kids” daily after-school program for “latch key kids,” those younger students who are home alone from the end of the school day until a parent gets home from work.

“It is not going to be child care. We do not want to compete with child care providers or any other programs that are out there,” said Roni Dauer, Fairmont CER director. “We know there’s a need to provide after-school enrichment programs, and this is another alternative to the child care shortage in Fairmont.”

Kayleen Fitzloff will supervise the program, with the assistance of Megan Marushin and some student volunteers. They hope to include community volunteers who will come in and share their talents with the students.

“We would love to have that. They can show the kids how to knit or crochet, play cribbage or anything else,” Dauer said.

“Lights On for Kids” has been offered on a limited basis for several years, but the new project encompasses more grades and expanded hours on all full school days. The expanded program is open all students, public and parochial, in grades K-6 and will run from 3-5:30 p.m. in the CER offices. Previously it was held for only two hours three days a week for students in grades 3-6.

Parents must enroll their children in advance and pay when the child or children are registered. Enrollment is on a month-by-month basis. Dauer said it is not feasible to take individual daily registrations.

“We need to be able to cover costs and have enough staff to provide quality service,” she said. “I wish we could provide it for free, but we cannot. Activities cost, and snacks cost.”

Dauer said the cost of $10 per day is needed to cover expenses and is a very reasonable charge for the service provided.

Because the scope of the program is new, plans are still in the embryonic stages and have been somewhat fluid as the project progresses, but one thing is certain. There is a need for amplified after-school programs as indicated by a question in the school registration packet which drew 150 positive responses.

“That’s why we decided to do this,” Dauer said.

She encouraged parents to sign up early because space is limited.

For more information, call the CER office at (507) 235-3141. Teachers also will have additional information available during elementary back-to-school conferences Sept. 3-4.


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