Randels hoping to become YouthQuest afterschool site

FLINT TWP. — Randels Elementary is applying to become a YouthQuest site, hoping to join three other Carman-Ainsworth elementaries in the afterschool enrichment program for underserved youth.

“If they are selected, Randels, Dye, Woodland and Rankin would all be YouthQuest sites,’’ said Dave Swierpel, director of professional learning & community services, in a report at last week’s school board meeting.

YouthQuest programs runs Monday through Thursday for three hours after the regular school day and during the summer. A meal and snack is served each day

“ We will see what happens,’’ Swierpel said, adding that all C-A students in grades K-8 would have access to a high-quality afterschool program.

YouthQuest is currently accepting proposals for additional sites to meet a growing demand. All K-8 schools in Flint-Genesee County are eligible to submit proposals. The deadline for submission is October 28. Proposal forms or more information can be found on the YouthQuest site at www.yquest.org.

Headed by the Genesee Regional Chamber (GRCC), YouthQuest currently operates 14 sites in the Carman- Ainsworth, Flint, Mt. Morris and Montrose school districts. Last year, the programs served 2,800 students in elementary and middle schools. The number of participants is limited. It is funded entirely by charitable donations.

In related news, the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation has announced a $3.1 million grant to the Genesee Area Focus Fund – a supporting organization for the GRCC. The grant will support YouthQuest programs during the coming year.

“Afterschool programs help children to develop intellectually, physically, socially and emotionally,” said William S. White, Mott Foundation president and CEO, in a press release.

“ The scope and quality of those educational opportunities, both in and out of the classroom, can open the doors to lifelong learning.”

The Afterschool Alliance a longtime Mott grantee – reports that more than 15 million children in the U.S. are unsupervised at the end of each school day. Polls show most parents would enroll their kids in an afterschool program, if available.

Advocates of afterschool programs concur that participation can lead to better grades, lower rates of truancy, more engagement in school, attainment of higher levels of achievement in college and a reduction in delinquency and contact with the police.

“YouthQuest provides a valuable service to the community,” said Rhetta Hunyady, GRCC vice president of operations and employer education and training. “In addition to academic and enrichment activities, the program keeps kids safe, helps working families and inspires success among youth. We’re thrilled that enrollment continues to grow and are hearing directly from students and their parents about how YouthQuest is positively impacting their lives.”

Tim Herman, CEO of the GRCC, said the Mott Foundation’s support for YouthQuest is greatly appreciated.

“It and other programs for local young people would not be possible without the help of Mott and our other funders,” he said.

Mott’s support for YouthQuest and its predecessor, Bridges to the Future, has totaled $24 million since 2000.

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