LANCASTER – The City of Lancaster currently partners with local entities to provide a diverse array of activities for local youth, including Children’s Academic and Recreation Enrichment Success (CARES), After School Enrichment Centers and Neighborhood Impact Home programs.
“These programs reflect on our commitment as a City to our next generation of citizens,” said Mayor R. Rex Parris. “There is no doubt in my mind that the efforts of all those involved in each of our programs have already made a substantial contribution to the success and growth of young people in the Antelope Valley.”
The CARES program has been operating as a partnership between the Lancaster School District and the City for 12 years and features a successful combination of free tutoring programs, exposure to physical activities and the arts, educational assemblies, crafts, and a math club. During the time CARES has operated, the program has provided effective academic support to more than 12,000 Lancaster students.
The program has a tremendous track record. In fact, during the 2011 – 2012 school year, a large percentage of CARES program participants demonstrated academic improvement from the previous year. In addition, a majority of participants have achieved a daily attendance rate of 95% or greater.
CARES sites include Desert View, Mariposa, Sierra, Sunnydale, Joshua, Linda Verde, El Dorado, and Jack Northrop elementary schools. The program is offered at no cost to participants through funding provided by an After School Education and Safety (ASES) grant secured by the Lancaster School District and the City.
In addition to CARES, the City’s Parks, Recreation and Arts Department offers After School Enrichment Centers at both West Wind and Valley View elementary schools to provide supplementary academic assistance and recreation. These Enrichment Centers are also very popular; both school sites currently have a waitlist of more than 30 students.
More recently, the City has partnered with local churches through the Neighborhood Impact Home program to provide after school activities for students. Upwards of 200 students attend the programs at eight locations in Lancaster. Currently underway are signups for a basketball league that has been organized among the homes, with games to be played at Antelope Valley High School.
Pastor Rob Dietzel of Grace Chapel Church oversees the Neighborhood Impact Ministry for four of the homes in Lancaster.
“These homes are a remarkable aid to the children of the neighborhoods in which they serve. They come to us and build relationships with each other. They see the value of these locations and begin to take pride in their neighborhood,” said Dietzel. “Basically, Jesus Christ said to love our neighbor as ourselves. That’s what we do here.”
“Through each of these programs, the youth of Lancaster are provided with opportunities to constructively use their time after school to grow academically, physically, and socially,” concluded Mayor R. Rex Parris.
(Information via press release from the city of Lancaster.)