Dallon Smith, public information office, Cache County School District
From choir clubs to robotics clubs to tutoring, after-school programs make a difference in the lives of students in Cache Valley. These programs allow students to enhance their education by getting involved with activities that interest them, which helps them focus on their college and career goals.
Almost 25 years ago, educators and community members recognized the need for quality after-school programs for Cache Valley students. The Alliance for Youth program was established to fill that need by pooling local expertise and resources.
Over the years, Alliance for Youth has formed partnerships between the Cache County School District, Logan City School District, Logan City Parks and Recreation, Cache County 4-H, USU America Reads, the Logan Family Information Center and the Bear River Health Department. Each organization provides resources according to its own unique focus that offers programs, curriculum materials, training, workers and volunteers, supplies and even family support. Together, these organizations form a collaborative effort that creates opportunities for students.
Todd Milovich, an Education Outreach coordinator at USU, has contributed substantially to the success of these programs. Because of his efforts, every school in Cache County School District has USU students volunteering in their after-school programs. “The Alliance for Youth program allows the community organizations that are involved to work together to provide the best possible programs for our kids,” Todd said. “It benefits everyone to have these working relationships.”
Cache County School District after-school programs are known as REACH (Recreation, Education, Arts, Character and Health). REACH programs emphasize academics with additional classes that provide enrichment opportunities. These after-school offerings are intended to give students a safe place to go after school to extend their learning.
Jeanne Nielsen, Cache County School District’s REACH coordinator, is a strong advocate. She said, “REACH after-school programs are high-quality programs facilitated by teachers and school employees, so homework support and tutoring is an extension of what students are learning during the day.” Jeanne continued, “Our site coordinators are teachers who care about the success of students and work extra hours to ensure that students get the help they need.”
Currently, REACH programs are offered at Lewiston, Park, Nibley, Lincoln, Sunrise and Canyon elementary schools and White Pine, Cedar Ridge, Spring Creek and South Cache middle schools. Parents are invited to check with these schools regarding the activities available.
Governor Gary Herbert recently shared a personalized video recognizing the after-school programs in Cache Valley. He talked about how vital these programs are to the lives of many students. Here are his top nine reasons to celebrate after-school programs in Cache Valley:
- After-school programs provide a safe place for students to be while their parents may be working.
- Students can receive one-on-one tutoring in schoolwork that they might be struggling with.
- Parents can have confidence that their children are having extra learning opportunities they can’t get in the regular school day.
- Teachers can provide hands-on learning projects that help expand student learning.
- Students get to play games that incorporate music, arts and physical activity.
- After-school programs provide opportunities to build self-esteem and practice social skills.
- After-school programs are great places to have Maker Movement Clubs where students build and create things with technology.
- Students can have extra learning time with STEM projects.
- They have great snacks and they’re fun for all ages!