As students return to school this month, Escambia County is starting up two free after school programs. The programs offer youth a place to go during the window of time between when school let’s out and the time many parents might be home from work.
One program, based at the Ebonwood Community Center, began this week. Another, operated out of the Marie K. Young/Wedgewood Community Center, starts up Aug. 24.
Each runs until 5:30 p.m., and is open to students in kindergarten through 12th grade.
The after school programs, being offered for the third year, are designed to provide a safe, productive environment, according to Tonya Gant, Escambia County director of Neighborhood Services.
“Commissioner May thought that the county should be more proactive in offering programs for the youth to detour illicit behavior,” Gant explained. “Giving the youth a positive, safe and nurturing environment, assisting with stumbling blocks to education by offering homework assistance.”
In addition to assistance with their school work, students will also have the opportunity to participate in sports activities, as well as arts and crafts and cultural activities. There will be nutritional programs, guest speakers and supervised computer use. Students will also be able to take advantage of job readiness training and learn leadership skills.
In addition to partnering with organizations within the community, Escambia County funds these after school programs with Local Option Sales Tax money. It costs approximately $65,000 annually.
The Ebonwood program operates from 2:30 to 5:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, from now until the end of next May. It is located at the Ebonwood Community Center, 3511 W. Scott St., in Pensacola. For more information, call 850.426.1156.
The Wedgewood program runs from 3 to 5:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, also throughout the school year. It is located at 6405 Wagner Road. For more information, call 850.426.1234.