Vermillion schools receive out-of-school time grant

Vermillion schools receive out-of-school time grant Gov. Bill Janklow is helping communities make room to help 1,000 more children through activity programs before and after school while their parents are working.

He said Monday that $1.2 million in new grants have been awarded to 38 out-of-school time (OST) programs throughout South Dakota.

The Vermillion School District is the recipient of a first-year OST grant of $41,100.

"We are really excited about being able to provide a lot of different after-school educational activities for students," said Kathy Prasek, who co-wrote the grant request with Ginnie Talley. "This also gives us an opportunity to work with other entities all over the community. It will be beneficial to everyone."

Janklow's latest expansion of the grant program raises the number of out-of-school time slots available for students by 1,040. Since the start of his statewide initiative three years ago, more than 68 projects have been funded including 121 program sites with approximately 5,000 slots for K-8 students.

"Out-of-school time programs are important because they provide structure and encouragement to young people who would otherwise be alone at home or out on the streets after school," Janklow said. "Within these programs, children can catch up on their homework, learn computer and other skills, or do other activities in a safe environment."

Thirty-eight programs were either partially or fully funded for their first, second or third year of funding in the latest round of grants. Priority was given to programs that show strong community support, are located in school facilities, offer organized enrichment activities and show a solid plan for sustainability. After programs have operated for a few years they are expected to become self-supporting through community assistance and program fees, so grant funds are reduced each year.

"This is intended as seed money, to help get a program up and running while the base of support gets built in the local community," Janklow said. "At my request the Legislature gave us an extra $1 million for this year to really jump-start what's already a pretty successful program. I'd like to go back again next session and ask again to really build on this momentum."

Twenty of the OST projects to receive grants are new programs and will be funded as a result of the extra money.

"Kids do better when they have some guidance and constructive activity rather than being left unsupervised before and after school," he said. "It's a win-win for the students, the parents and the community."

Grants awarded to projects receiving second- or third-year funding will assist communities or school districts to develop or expand their programs.

"National statistics show, and I am convinced, that children who participate in these types of programs fare much better than those left unsupervised after school," Janklow said. "These students are safe, receive a nutritious snack, get their homework done, and are able to socialize and participate in learning activities that are fun.

"Schools are finding out that these same kids do better in school and are less likely to participate in at-risk behaviors."

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