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Afterschool programs combine to better serve students and families in Warm Springs.

DESIREE BERGSTROM/MADRAS PIONEER - In the foreground, Keadyn Jensen, left, plays a dice game with JoeRay Stwyer during one of the hourlong sessions of the new partnered afterschool program at WSK8. In the background, Orrin Cortazar and Phillip Winishut-Boise also play the dice game. One of the session choices for students on Monday was board games with teacher, Andrew Jackson.The Warm Springs Boys and Girls Club and the 21st Century Learning Program at Warm Springs K-8 Academy began a new partnership on Monday, to fill some needs in both programs and ultimately better serve kids and families.

"It's a nice partnership," said Ken Parshall, Jefferson County School District 509-J superintendent, who was involved in the process of making this happen.

With the new partnership, the Boys and Girls Club helps out with the 21st Century afterschool program, which runs Monday-Thursday. On Fridays, when the 21st Century program doesn't run, the club does, filling a gap of the grant-driven afterschool program.

The Boys and Girls Club also runs on nonschool days while the other program does not. Together, through the partnership, the two programs are able to provide more consistent and collaborative opportunities for kids in nonschool hours.

"It's a win, win," said Parshall.

Before the partnership, the Warm Springs Boys and Girls Club was operating out of the old school building in Warm Springs, and as is the case with all older buildings, that created some problems, one of which being the old pipes. The club, as a precaution, was having to provide bottled water to kids as a precaution in case there was lead contamination in the pipes.

Also, students were getting out of school and having to be bussed down to the other building, despite the fact that there was already another afterschool program going on at the school.

Now, with the new partnership, the club gets to use a newer facility, all students receive an afterschool meal through the 21st Century program and the Boys and Girls Club students don't have to be bussed to a different building. The program also provides bus-rides home after the program finishes at 6 p.m.

WSK8 Principal Bambi Van Dyke said, "I think it's a big support to families." She added that any time a program can provide things to do and an extra meal, it benefits the kids.

With the new structure of the program, students can participate Monday-Thursday for no cost and then for Fridays and nonschool days, there is fee, somewhere around $25 a year, to join Boys and Girls Club. DESIREE BERGSTROM/MADRAS PIONEER - Teacher Brian Gallagher helps student Declan Parton problem solve an issue on his computer, while Luis Tellez watches. The computer class is a part of the afterschool program.

The program is just getting going and there are definitely some kinks to work out, according to Kim Hogan, the 21st Century program administrator for the Warm Springs school, but he said, "I think the partnership is going to be really good."

"I don't think you should ever feel like you are done developing a program," Hogan said.

"As we go along, we will develop a pretty rich partnership with Boys and Girls Club," he said, adding that over time they are looking forward to collaborating on the programing with the Boys and Girls Club and seeing them continue some of what they were doing when they were on their own throughout the week, and not just on Fridays.

"It's kind of exciting to think about. We will be able to serve more students together," he said. "I think the Boys and Girls Club and 21st Century goals are pretty similar.DESIREE BERGSTROM/MADRAS PIONEER - Teacher Andrew Jackson instructs a group of afterschool program students on how to play the popular card game 'UNO.'

Many of the kids will become dual enrolled in both programs as the partnership continues and works out the kinks. Hogan said that is most likely the best way to make the transition smoother.

He said that for the next few week specifically things will change as they figure out what works and what doesn't, but right now, Monday-Thursday students receive a meal right after school, in the cafeteria, and then from 4-6 p.m., the students participate in two-1-hour sessions. Some students do art, others play board games, get help on academics, or participate in things like gardening and other activities.

"We have a pretty broad variety; some are school-related some are culture-and language-related and some are activities related," he said.

The overall goal for the partnership and programs is to enhance education in different ways and provide space for kids to be supervised, have fun and learn after school.

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