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Springfield JCC Out-of-School Program Receives Grant

SPRINGFIELD – The Springfield JCC’s Youth and Family Services department has received a $20,000 grant for Quality Enhancement in After School and Out of School Time.

Issued by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, this grant will expand enrichment opportunities at the Springfield JCC offered to out-of-school program participants and increase education opportunities for staff. The participants of the JCC out-of-school program come from a diverse and vibrant population.  The counselors who work with them enjoy making them smile through opportunities they would not otherwise experience.

“Funds from this grant will help staff acquire skills they need to allow new enrichment options in our out-of-school program,” says Becca Coolong, director of Youth and Family Services at the Springfield JCC.

Children and staff of the JCC’s out-of-school program also participate in other programs, from theater, to swim lessons, to working on projects that make the world a better place. Parents also appreciate the full-day programs available during school vacations, snow days and holidays.

Twenty-five staff members work with more than 200 children in the Springfield JCC Kids Space as well as the CAP satellite program in East Longmeadow. Each day after school, children enjoy a snack, followed by guided free play.  Two activity blocks of time follow. Students can either participate in semester-long enrichment classes, use the enrichment blocks for homework time, or join in daily enrichment zone activities such as cooking, arts and crafts, or games in the gymnasium.

“This program impacts not only the children in our out-of-school program, but also the counselors,” says Rabbi James Greene, assistant executive director.  “We nurture our staff by helping them increase their skill sets, and we do this because they are a part of our J-family.”

For more information about the Springfield JCC, 1160 Dickinson St., visit www.SpringfieldJCC.org.

CAP: Springfield JCC’s Out-of-School program student Anja Berke and counselor Carly Florence.

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