Kids Zone celebrates a great year of serving youth!
Kids Zone, Neighbors For Kids’ signature afterschool program, continues to offer exciting educational and recreational opportunities for Lincoln County youth! Since the beginning of this year, NFK has developed and expanded its youth programs, extending its services to dozens of local youth during the out-of-school-time hours.
An array of new programs have been offered in 2013 as part of the innovative 3-year Program Expansion Project, which has helped NFK serve youth with academic support, health education, visual arts, music lessons, science and computer technology. These efforts not only support their educational needs, but help youth learn skills needed to enter the challenging and technology-driven American workforce.
To provide the new weekly classes and activities, in early 2013 NFK hired several new contracted teaching staff. Now more than 50 youth per day from grades K-12 have taken part in the classes after school and during the summer months. Each cohort of students, divided by grade levels (K-1, 2-3, 4-6, and 7-12), rotates through various classes each day. On any given day, all participants receive a healthy USDA meal, academic tutoring, and other educational enrichment as determined by the creative schedule in place. Kids Zone is surely a high-energy environment where adult mentors and teachers interact with local youth, creating a positive, productive experience for all.
NFK’s Kids Zone site is also proud to be a 21st Century Community Learning Center, one of several locations across Lincoln County which are implementing the OCEAN project (Oregon Coast Educational Afterschool Network), in partnership with the Lincoln County School District. This important partnership has enabled NFK to expand academic tutoring, offer STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art & Math) Programming and also new Family Literacy Night activities, which provide parents, children and staff an evening of food, learning and fun.
The Academic Excellence & Achievement Program (AXAP) continues to act as an “extension of the classroom” for LCSD students after school, providing reading and math tutoring sessions and homework assistance.
Science Education classes have included STEAM, ocean literacy, marine biology, environmental education, forest ecology, geology, seismology, and physics. Instructor Jenny Green provides learning opportunities for her students that allow them to experience hands-on science. Green also teaches computer technology. She provides age-appropriate computer literacy skills, from keyboarding through desktop publishing. The monthly newsletter her students produce “gives them the chance to improve writing skills, make decisions on stories, and learn the technology, all identified as necessary 21st century skills,” said Jenny Green.
Through a collaboration with Let There Be Arts!, the Visual Arts & Crafts classes encourage students to be creative, while learning the fundamentals of design and color. Art Instructor Linda Livingston feels it is important for young people to have a variety of creative experiences, so she teaches a number of art classes, using different media. “I have the kids work with watercolor, tempura, oils, pastels – and do some print making,” she said. “The children use pencils, crayons, watercolors – they get to choose what they’ll work with,” said Livingston.
Music Lessons include a variety of culturally-diverse instruments, ranging from acoustic, electric and bass guitars to mandolin, percussions, ukulele, didgeridoo, flute and piano. Each child is given the option to choose what instrument(s) they would like to learn and then receive group and individual lessons based on skill levels. NFK is very blessed to have three “real-life” musicians and music teachers, Diane Robertson, Melody Jackson and Tony Kaltenberg, who share their talents and passion for music all year long.
NFK’s Program Expansion Project has been generously supported by MJ Murdock Charitable Trust, The Collins Foundation, Fred W. Fields Fund of The Oregon Community Foundation, Herbert A. Templeton Foundation, Charlotte Y. Martin Foundation, Autzen Foundation, The Safeway Foundation and individual donations from the community.
To learn more about Neighbors For Kids programs, to sign up as a volunteer or to make a charitable contribution, please visit the organization’s website www.neighborsforkids.org or feel free to call the office phone number at 541-765-8990.