Grant funds new Baker after-school program

Published 12:51 pm Tuesday, October 18, 2016

A new program to benefit Baker Intermediate School students starts today after being funded by a $14,500 grant from the Clark County Community Foundation.

Mentors and Meals, run by the Rowan Arts Center inside The Cairn coffee shop on Main Street, will provide homework help, tutoring, STEM and health educational opportunities to fifth- and sixth-grade students after school three days a week.

According to Mentors and Meal Director Joseph Miller, the idea for the program came from a similar program operated in Woodford County by Lisa Johnson, which Miller then adapted for use in Clark County.

“What I like to do is — if I see a great idea — adapt it to our (Clark County’s) context,” Miller said. “If it’s a good idea we should be able to do it.”

The program is in its pilot stages until the end of the current school year, and Miller said he is working with about 20 Baker students for the first group.

During the school year, on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays the participating students will be bused from Baker to The Cairn after school.

When they arrive, the students will be treated to a healthy snack before beginning an hour of homework time, where they will be assisted by students from George Rogers Clark High School and adult mentors from United Way who have volunteered time as tutors.

After the homework hour ends, students will have a choice to either continue working with their mentors on homework or take part in a 30 minute STEM or health education class. The afternoon program ends with a free dinner for the students before they are picked up by their parents at 6 p.m.

“This really could not have been done without working with the school system, especially the assistant Principal at Baker,” Miller said.

He added that, while the program is focussed on assisting the students in intermediate school, there is also a benefit for the high school students, who gain valuable tutoring experience they can put on college applications, and the adult mentors, who can share their real-world experience with students.

“There’s a Greek proverb that says old men in Greece plant trees not so that they can sit in the shade, but so the next generations can,” Miller said.

The Clark County Community Foundation said in a media release that it is proud to support the project supporting Clark County students.

Since 1999, the foundation has awarded more than $4 million to nonprofit organizations in the county.

Contact Seth Littrell at seth.littrell@winchestersun.com.