Heroes for AfterSchool programming

If you’re not aware of an urgent need in our community, let me tell you about it. In the end 2009, funding for after school programs was on the chopping block. In short time, the ASPIRE program funding was cut. There have been a few articles and blogs offering perspective, opinion and ideas to remedy the conflict.

Local agencies have stepped up their support for funding specific after school projects. The United Way of the Lehigh Valley granted funds to support Broughal Middle School’s new greenhouse. This grant is only part of the story. Lehigh University has invested dollars and academic expertise to also support the potential the greenhouse and other Broughal partnerships that offer  more extensive learning and community engagement opportunities for Broughal students.

It takes both large agencies, and acts of heroism by citizens to bring a sense of purpose to our community youth. I just learned of two such gentlemen who are sharing their expertise with local students through the Hispanic Center in South Bethlehem. Some Lehigh students may know these gentlemen through some of their evening activities. Audio Dynamikz and DJ CapCee will share their extensive knowledge of artfully mixing music for entertainment. Is DJ-ing an art form? That’s not exactly the point of this post.

The point here, is that two citizens found a way to connect to local kids for at least eight sessions of their time. They figured out how to give to the kids in our local community, by working with a local service agency, the Fowler Youth Center. Sounds simple enough, but that didn’t magically happen overnight. There are also a few local administrators who figured out how to work together to make this small step happen. When I share with you the list of agencies that supported this, know that organizing the opportunity for community youth is no small thing. These people do their jobs, day in and day out, with looming budget cuts that can suck the energy out of any noble cause. Yet, they found a way to make it work. My hat is tipped to:

Mark Atkinson (Bethlehem Parks and Recreation), and all the people who had their hand on this project from CACLV, CADCB (Community Action Development Corp of Bethlehem), and Southside Vision 2014. Funding support is from M&T Bank, Lehigh Valley Hospital, Just Born and PP&L. All people behind the scenes need to be recognized. This is the village it takes to raise a child in Bethlehem 2011.

Take a look at this flier created to get the word out to local kids – share it generously.


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