Children were scurrying in all directions, headed to their after-school classes at Grover Heights Elementary School in Grover Beach. The Bright Futures After-School program is alive and well at 10 Lucia Mar school sites.
Children, with their parents’ feedback, can select from an array of choices, such as games of the world, soapstone carving, arts and crafts, track and field, cheerleading, dance, logic and debate, music, recycle art, tutoring and more.
Wow! It must be a hard choice. Luckily, if they stay the full three hours after school, they can choose two classes, plus the required homework session between classes.
Rebecca Britton, who doubles as the Boys and Girls Club and Bright Futures coordinator, manages the Bright Futures program at Grover Heights. The program requires 85 children stay three hours after the end of school.
Because the program easily gets that many children and more, some kids stay for just one or two hours and then go home.
The Bright Futures program is the brainchild of the Lucia Mar School District and partners with the South County Boys and Girls Club. It has been in schools for several years and is funded under the state After School Education and Safety Grant.
The program is not based on income or need, so every child is eligible.
Betsy Ehrler, both a regular and after-school teacher at Grover Heights, thinks Bright Futures “is a wonderful program. We’ve had parents who hadn’t signed up their kids and (the kids) were found down at the park.”
Sarah, 10, was recently pulling weeds in Ehrler’s gardening class. “Then we’re gonna plant sunflowers,” she said.
Ehrler, who teaches reading during the school day, has led sessions in math, reading and gardening in Bright Futures for 10 years. In her spare time, she runs the South County People’s Kitchen in Grover Beach.
On our way to the soapstone-carving class, we passed the dance class, where girls were busy executing steps.
Jocelin, 10, was busy in Brian Williams’ soapstone class. “I like coming here ’cause I get to take it home, and you don’t get to do it in other classes,” she said. “I like to make simple things,” she added, as she carved into the soapstone.
The Bright Futures program is funded to the end of the current school year.
“We don’t know that it will be refunded,” Britton said. “We have submitted the application for the new grant,” but won’t know the answer until May.
Britton and Ehrler fervently hope Bright Futures will be supported for the next grant period. Without the classes, the children would be missing the fun of making their own musical instruments, participating in a talent show, and for grades 4-6, learning how to run the snack bar. A healthy snack is provided between classes.
For more information about Bright Futures, contact Susan Kesselring at 474-3700 or go to www.lmusd.org.