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YMCA announces after-school program

By JOYANNA LOVE/ Managing Editor

The YMCA of Chilton County will be offering an after-school program at three locations this coming school year.

This new program “Healthy Kids After-School Alliance” will be open to kindergarten through sixth grade and will meet at the YMCA and two partner sites — Liberty Hill Baptist Church and Lomax Assembly of God. The program will be offered from 3-6:30 p.m.

“We have partnered with the two churches to be able to try to serve more students within the county,” James Robert Parnell, chief volunteer officer on the YMCA board, said.

He said community members wanted more areas to be served.

“I talked with church leadership, and we decided that this was something we would love to partner with,” Liberty Hill Pastor Kent Dodson said.

Dodson said the church saw the partnership as a way to help meet a need and help the community by allowing the program to use the Family Life Center, soccer field and classrooms.

Lomax has offered use of its MAX Center student building, basketball courts and playground area.

Pastor Erron Price said the church has “always loved being involved in the community and helping out.” This has included work days at area schools.

After meetings and discussions and a tour of the facility, the Y saw Lomax as a good fit.

“We are thankful for what the Y has done in our community,” Price said, commenting on what they have offered for families and needs they have tried to meet.

The same academic focus and extracurricular activities will be offered at each site.

Each extracurricular activity will be offered at each of the sites on a rotating basis. For example, the unicycle class would be offered for four weeks at one location and then be offered at another location for the next four weeks.

“There will be staff on-hand at each location,” Parnell said. “It will be the same programs. All of the same things will be offered at each location (at different times).”

Extracurriculars will include arts and crafts, soccer, basketball, music, unicycling, trampoline and more.

Dinner will be served as an extension of the Y’s Lunch Box Rocks meal program. Meals will be prepared in the Y’s commercial grade kitchen and transported to each site.

“We are really excited and looking forward to the upcoming year,” Parnell said.

Parnell said there will be about 70 spots available at each location, so 210 total.

Y board member Ali Patterson said the program “is important because it gives the children of Chilton County somewhere safe to go after school” rather than being home alone.

Cost for the program is $30 a week. However, scholarships are available based on need. Scholarship applications will be available at the YMCA on Ollie Avenue.

Registration for the program should be available by mid-August. Students will be registered for a specific site and will pick up their children from there.

A request has been made for the Chilton County Board of Education to consider allowing use of a school bus to pick up students from Jemison Elementary, Jemison Intermediate, Chilton Christian Academy and Thorsby High and transporting them to the Lomax Assembly or YMCA locations. The board is expected to consider the request at the next school board meeting. The next scheduled meeting of the board is Aug. 18. School is set to start on Sept. 8.

Parnell said those who would benefit from having this transportation available should contact the board to express their support.

A previous agreement that offered an after-school program through a partnership with Chilton County Schools was dissolved in May.