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After-school programs still taking signups
August 13, 2019

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With the new school year having kicked off this week, families looking for supervised activities for children to take part in once classes let out for the day still have options available to them.

The Sanibel Recreation Center offers an After School Program for kindergarteners through fifth-graders and a Teen After School Program for youth in sixth through eighth grade. Families still can sign up for the full school year or by trimester, with the fall trimester running from Aug. 12 to Nov. 8.

"There is no deadline," Recreation Director Trish Phillips said of registering.

"We keep is available for all those in need," she added.

Both programs operate Monday through Friday from 2:10 to 5 p.m.

A healthy snack, physical activity, social interaction with friends and more are included.

"We're providing services for after-school care so kids can stay active in programming that we have here at the center while parents are busy at work," Phillips said.

Last year, 62 youths took part in the K-5 fall trimester program, with 62 signed up for the winter trimester and 67 participating in the spring trimester. In last year's teen program, 13 youths took part in the fall trimester, 14 registered for the winter trimester and 14 participated in the spring trimester.

For both programs, the teachers at The Sanibel School - directly connected to the center - walk the participating students over to their counselors, where the youth are checked in and accounted for.

"It's a secured property, so they're escorted over with the teachers and handed off," she said, noting that the youths do not have to be bussed or such. "It provides an opportunity for parents to feel at ease."

Phillips explained that the programs work on a rotating schedule for each day, which is basically broken down into 45-minute sessions. The K-5 participants may spend their first block of time in the gym or playing games. Then, they might rotate into another area for homework time and a snack.

"The third rotation moves into another area, like arts and crafts or the game room," she said.

Phillips noted that homework time does not involve tutoring.

"It's quiet time, providing them an opportunity to start working on their homework," she said.

Before it starts getting cold, the children also spend time at the center's pool.

"We will offer swim time for the kids," Phillips said.

In the teen program, the youths take part in activities on and off the property.

They have enjoyed film series at the Island Cinema, visited the Sanibel Public Library to conduct research for homework assignments and participated in educational island beach days in collaboration with the Sanibel Sea School. Transportation for the off-site activities is provided using a city van.

"One rotation may be the opportunity to go off property, like to Joey's Custards for a treat," she said.

The teens are given use of the center's after-school amenities, such as the game room or gym. There also is an opportunity for them to take part in entry-level conditioning clinics in the weight room.

"We would make arrangements for a staff member to take them through the weight room and educate them on the equipment - on how to use the equipment," Phillips said.

Participants must be 12 or older to use the weight room.

In addition, the teen program offers opportunities for volunteer community service.

"The kids are required to do community service through the schools, so we do provide opportunities for them," she said, citing helping out around the center. "To give them their community service hours."

While the programs run until 5 p.m., parent pick-up operates until 5:30 p.m.

The registration fees for the two programs are as follows:

AFTER SCHOOL PROGRAM

- $1,204 for members (full year)

- $402 for members (fall trimester)

- $1,505 for non-members (full year)

- $502 for non-members (fall trimester)

TEEN AFTER SCHOOL PROGRAM

- $630 for members (full year)

- $211 for members (fall trimester)

- $788 for non-members (full year)

- $263 for non-members (fall trimester)

The trimesters provide families with flexibility in their schedule and on their wallet.

"If they don't need the services for the full year, they can sign up for what they need," Phillips said. "It makes it more affordable."

Every child also receives a one-year complimentary membership to the center.

She explained that as members, children will receive the discounted member rates if they want to participate in other activities offered by the center, like the youth basketball league. In addition, after-school participants are automatically eligible for the Fun Days and Half Fun Days at no extra cost.

"Those not signed up have to pay the daily fee," Phillips said.

Financial assistance is available for qualifying families based upon individual need. The annual household income ranges and sliding scale for available financial assistance are as follows:

- $0 to $33,500: 80 percent

- $33,501 to $43,500: 75 percent

- $43,501 to $53,500: 70 percent

- $53,501 to $63,500: 65 percent

- $63,501 to $73,500: 60 percent

Applicants must provide proof that they live or work on Sanibel or Captiva. Some additional documents that may be required include a pay stub, W-2 and tax return. The "Financial Assistance Application" can be found at mysanibel.com by first clicking on the "Sanibel Fit4Life" logo.

In addition, F.I.S.H. of Sanibel-Captiva is providing financial assistance to families whose children attend after-school programs both on and off the islands through its Youth Scholarship Program.

The opportunity has been made available, in part, through partnerships with program providers, donations from donors and grant funding from the Sanibel-Captiva Kiwanis Foundation.

"Our goal is to help build economic security for families by giving children the opportunity to experience quality care during the after-school hours, when their parent is still at work," F.I.S.H. Program Director Kathy Y. Monroe said. "After-school programs keep children safe and introduces them to new friends and activities. Children are placed in age-appropriate groups and take part in a daily rotation of activities that may include, but is not limited to: homework time, arts and crafts, physical fitness activities, and much more."

Based on need and eligibility, the scholarship amounts may vary depending on a family's financial status and they may only cover a portion of the program's cost. The available funding is limited.

Phillips encouraged families to register for the after-school programs.

"There's lot of activities, the opportunity to be social, some exercise, opportunities to get some homework done," she said. "And it's peace of mind knowing that the kids are close by."

A full schedule is available at the center's front desk.

For additional information, call Dave Defonzo at the center at 239-472-0345.

For more on the Youth Scholarship Program, contact Monroe or Nitza Lopez at 239-472-4775.

The Sanibel Recreation Center is at 3880 Sanibel-Captiva Road.

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