MISSION, Texas (KVEO) — The Boys and Girls Club of Mission is working to return a sense of normalcy to children in the community through its after-school program.
Thirty kids from the ages of 5 to 14 from the Sharyland, Mission, and Idea school districts go by after school to do homework, play sports, and interact with one another.
“We do offer after-school guidance, as far as homework,” Director Rick Venencia said. “We offer our SMART Moves through Boys and Girls Club of America, nutrition programs, athletic programs. We try to keep our kids busy, and everything’s been falling into place so far.”
The program reopened to less than 50% capacity at the start of last week. Safety protocols include students having their temperatures checked and answering a list of questions to make sure they have not been exposed to the virus every day when dropped off.
“We still follow CDC guidelines, also guidelines from the state and the city and the county,” Venencia said. “We are doing our best to make sure everybody is safe, but still trying to offer the best quality programming at the same time.”
According to Venencia, spots filled up quickly, as their services were missed by the community.
“As soon as we announced we were going to have our after-school program for the last couple months of the school year, our spots filled up right away,” he said.
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While kids and staff have been excited about the return, he said it’s also providing parents a break for a couple of hours a day.
“We don’t realize how taxing it is to be nonstop (with your child),” he said. “We are one of those programs that allow their parents to know that their kids are in a safe place, to know their kids are learning and being active and developing these skills that they wouldn’t normally develop just being at home.”
This program continues until May 31. Though it’s already at capacity, registration for summer is set to open sometime in mid-May for 175 students across two facilities.
Venencia adds about 75% of children currently in the program have returned to in-person schooling as well, and they’re hoping to be able to reopen the program to full capacity by the Fall.
“We want our parents to know we’re pushing through this, that they’re in our prayers,” he said. “We are going to do everything we can to keep our kids safe and to make sure that not only physically, but mentally and emotionally, they have a place where they can be comfortable and grow together.”
The after school program take place from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday and Friday 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.