The ASAP Story
A fter S chool A ctivities P rogram A Free to all after school program of enrichment for Silver Falls School District students in the middle grades.
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How we Began Back in 2012, in the small community of Silverton, Oregon, four local pastors got together. Their motivation was to enhance the community by enhancing the lives of its children. Their question, “What can we do for the kids in our town?” was answered by decades of research into the needs of students in the middle grades. This crucial time in the life of a child can be a turning point, and all too often, not in a positive direction. Their greatest need? “A place they can be safe, allowed to grow, socialize, and have fun” during the after school hours - from the time the bell rings until family gets home. So, ASAP was born.
About our Kids Similar to the “middle child” in the family, students in the middle grades (6-8) are often left out. They tend to disappear between the elementary age kids, who are still receiving after school care from adults at home or in school sponsored aftercare programs; and the independent high school kids who have a multitude of after school clubs and sports to choose from. Students in the middle, ages 11-14 find themselves with a new independence and an abundance of unsupervised time to fill. These are the kids we take care of through ASAP .
Our Program We offer kids in the Silver Falls School District grades 6-8 a free, non-religious program of enrichment, mentorship, socialization and just plain fun, three days a week from 3:15 to 6:00 pm. Students ride the bus from school to Immanuel Lutheran Church in Silverton where there is plenty of space and the resources needed to fulfill the needs of our kids. The Schedule:
Power Hour - The first hour includes an after school snack and a focused hour of academic assistance provided by volunteers who are mostly retired educators. During this time, students get help with organizational skills and tutoring help with homework. We even have a computer lab for student use during this time. Productivity during Power Hour is rewarded with field trips throughout the school year.
Dinner - Kids are served a warm, freshly prepared (on site by our volunteers), nutritious meal each day at 4:30. Kids this age are always hungry, and many of our participants live in a food insecure situation; so this meal is not only greatly appreciated, but often needed. An additional snack is packed and sent home with kids at the end of the day.
Socialization and activities - During this time, kids are released to “play”. This includes time in our gym where we have sports and exercise equipment, time with professionals from the community who come to share their expertise, time to create through cooking, art, and STEM activities; and time to just hang out and have fun.
Points of Pride:
With the help of a master gardener, our students have planted and cared for their own garden plot.
A local artist worked with students to create a mural in the local middle school gym.
We purchased a 3-D printer with a local grant, allowing our students to explore the world of 3-D engineering.
We have taken students on field trips to the local bowling alley, Bauman Farms pumpkin patch, Get Air Trampoline gym, and Silver Falls State Park.
In the 2019-2020 school year we served 86 local students.
One Success Story (of many): With about six weeks of school remaining, a new student joined ASAP. We were a last resort for this family who was desperate to find a path to success for their middle school son. As is so common with students this age, this boy was lost. He had completely disengaged from his classes and his teachers; and when we met him he was more than 30 assignments behind, failing nearly all of his current classes. This family was desperate.
We immediately got to work! First and foremost we welcomed this student with open arms. We made sure he knew that we believed in him, and that we would be there to support him in his academic, as well as his social-emotional needs. We made a plan: How could we help this student do what he needed to be successful in his classes? And we got busy. As one assignment after another was completed, we watched this student start to glow. For the first time in so long, he felt successful and proud. This pride, along with that of his parents, was the fuel he needed; by the end of the year, all missing assignments were turned in, and he passed every class.
When we said goodbye to this student and his parents for the summer, the expression of gratitude from his parents, and the ear to ear smile on his face was all the confirmation we needed that the work we are doing at ASAP is meaningful and necessary.
Our Need Providing this level of enrichment to kids requires a great deal of time, effort, and of course, money. Participation in ASAP is completely free. We are fully funded through fundraisers, grants and donations from community partners and individuals. Our approximate yearly budget of $70,000 covers the salary of one full time program director and two part time coordinators, as well as all food and supplies needed to run the program.
A breakdown of ASAP costs:
Funding one day of ASAP (staff, food, activities) $676.00
Funding one field trip (up to 15 students) $300.00
Funding food for one day $69.00
Funding food for one student for a week $6.30
Because of the pandemic, there is a much greater need in the community for local resources. This has greatly reduced the amount of help available to ASAP. And while the organization that funds the after school program in our neighboring school district (Salem-Keizer) has dissolved, we are determined to continue providing this valuable resource to the families of Silverton. The pandemic and required physical distancing have also prevented us from holding some of our annual fundraisers, leaving us with fewer ways to bring in the money needed to fund this critical program.
Your donation of any amount will directly benefit children and families, and ultimately the entire community of Silverton, Oregon. Thank you, in advance, for your support.
Free ASAP Gold Star T-shirt - A perk for contributing $100 or more to Be A Star - Help our Kids Shine! by After School Activities Program (ASAP) Estimated Delivery October 2020