'Together, we can do more'

After-school programs consider merging to help children

Statistics show that the majority of teen pregnancy and vandalism occur between 3 and 6 p.m. on weekdays, a time when children often are left home alone because their parents are at work.

The Boys & Girls Club of Craig and the Recreational After-School Door--way programs have been working separately to solve the problem of school-aged children having nothing to do with their afternoons. Those separate efforts could soon come to an end.

The organizations are considering uniting operations to better accomplish their similar goals.

BGCC President Dave DeRose is optimistic the organizations will have concrete plans in place by mid-summer and collaborative programming ready to begin by the start of the 2006-07 school year, according to a press release.

Don Davidson, principal of Craig Intermediate School and a RAD board member, said members of RAD were excited to join with BGCC.

"Our missions are similar -- helping children after school," Davidson said. "Together, we can do more."

RAD, which has existed for six years, offers educational and instructional activities for fifth- and sixth-grade students. The group typically serves 60 or more students a day, during the school year.

Since June 2004, BGCC has offered year-round, out-of-sch--ool programs for youths ages 6 to 18. With a typical daily attendance of 100 or more, the club has served as many as 800 youths in a single month.

Activities at the BGCC run through the summer; this week is science week. Activities include a balloon-rocket project and a tree-planting class.

Because RAD and the BGCC have similar goals in mind, it made sense for them to join forces, said Jonathan Godes, executive director for the BGCC.

"Our two organizations have enjoyed a good relationship the past two years, and we've both benefited from some collaborative efforts during that time," Godes said.

Godes added that based on past experiences, the leaders of both groups think working together can better fulfill the goals of the groups.

Elisa Shackelton, director of the Moffat County Extension Service, was instrumental in getting RAD off the ground. She served as the program's grant writer.

"RAD is designed to be a program that exposes kids to different activities," Shackelton said. "It helps them develop hobbies and expose them to career opportunities they wouldn't normally get."

Shackelton said she is happy the two programs are going to merge.

"So much more will get done when we aren't working alone," she added.

Godes said that with the two programs joining, duplication of costs could decrease.

BGCC has a facility with an art room, a computer lab, a game room and a full-sized gymnasium.

RAD runs its program from Craig Intermediate School. Godes said RAD might be able to use BGCC's facility.

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