By JOHN WYATT – STAFF WRITER
Centre College students pride themselves on giving back to the Danville community. Organizations like CARE and Alpha Phi Omega, as well as the various Greek organizations, are constantly going out into the community and giving back through service. Centre’s After School Program has recently been recognized as an official campus organization and is receiving funding from SGA.
“We are a program that serves K-12 students who speak English as a second language or whose parents speak English as a second language,” senior Emily Lindon said. The organization grew out of a growing problem in Danville’s community. “We saw a problem here in Danville with students speaking a different language or whose parents spoke a different language,” senior Kendra Montejos said. “We saw that they were struggling academically, and in some cases socially.”
The program helps kids in whatever academic area they are struggling with, having some fun times as well. “Students play with them for around 30 minutes, and then there’s an hour dedicated to homework or anything academic. Then the last 15 minutes or so, we play together as a group,” Montejos said. “We work with all of the local schools to get students involved.”
Previously, the program had to rely on grants for money, but will now receive consistent funding. “In the past we’ve always had our funding from various grants, and even right now we’re in this awkward in between grant phase,” junior Anne-Ward Arbegust said. “We’re just really thankful for their [SGA] help right now. And, every tutor there is a Centre student, so I think it goes to show that we should be recognized as a student organization.”
Montejos cited the funding as a big boost to their mission. “Becoming a student organization gives us more opportunities to publicize on campus. It helps a lot with funding, which can bring more opportunities to our students,” Montejos said.
According to Montejos, the program also looks to expand the types of students it attracts. “We’re trying to make sure that we get more high school students,” Montejos said. “We’re having Saturday clinics where we would work with them on ACT prep, as well as helping them research colleges, because many of these parents or students don’t know the college application process here. We’re also trying to get scholarships to help towards these application fees.”
Students involved also have their own personal goals that they would like to see the program achieve in the near future.
“Since the beginning of the program, my dream has been for it to stand on its own and for the students who pour their hearts and souls into it to be recognized,” Lindon said.
“In the short run, I really want to bring other organizations in to have them involved in the program,” sophomore Elizabeth Penn said. “In the past we’ve had sororities come in and the kids had a really good time. If we can bring in more groups I think we can spread our influence and really make this program a part of the Centre community.”
Montejos also shares an ambitious goal for the future, but believes that the future is bright for the organization.
“Who knows, maybe in five years the After School Program that Centre students started could become its own non-profit. I think it would be incredible to say that Centre students created their own non-profit,” Montejos said. “This new funding can help us get to that level.”
Organizations or students wishing to get involved with the After School Program should not be scared away by the potential language barrier. Most of the students that are involved in the program speak fluent English, and those that can’t receive special tutors.
The After School Program seeks to tutor and mentor local youths for whom English is not a primary language. The program works with kids of all ages, including high school.