Since 1999, the local after school program has provided a place for students to catch up on homework and spend time with peers while parents finish up at work. Lately, there have been a couple of fundraising efforts to help keep the program alive.
The Wellington After School Program is in each of the four elementary schools, along with the Wellington Middle School.
"At The Zone, which is the middle school after school program, we have about 50 kids a night," said Cindy Tracy, Reading and Math Teacher at WMS. "We have snacks first, then we do homework for 30 minutes, and then we have 45 minutes of social time." The program started 14 years ago with Twenty-First Century Grant money.
"We no longer have a grant, I'm trying to write one, but we don't have it yet," Tracy said. Teachers and district para-professionals facilitate the programs in each building. Students must pay a small tuition to attend. For a student with on the regular lunch program, it's six dollars per night, five dollars for students on reduced lunch, and four dollars for those on the free lunch program. That money goes directly back into after school efforts.
"We're barely staying afloat," Tracy said.
The after school program did get a boost in funding recently. On Friday, Feb. 15, the last of two, middle school (formerly the high school) gymnasium scoreboards was auctioned off with the help of United Country Theurer Auction. The first was sold on Feb. 1, during homecoming, it went for $750 to Brady Walker, of Wellington. The second scoreboard was won with a $600 bid from Kip Etter, owner of The Dore in Wellington.
"I just think it's great that the money is going to a good cause, the after school program is obviously a really good thing for the school kids and the community," Etter said. "The scoreboard will be a really good fit for The Dore...we're always real big on tradition and things like that." Tracy was very excited about the $1,350 the scoreboard fundraiser brought in.
"That money will go towards providing snacks and equipment for the kids, tuition assistance; we have some families that just can't afford it," she said. The after school program is also selling bricks that say "Wellington Crusaders," to help raise funds. Tracy said if anyone is interested in buying a brick to contact her at the middle school, 326-4320, or email@example.com.
"They can just contact me and we'll take any donations," Tracy said. "If someone wants to sponsor a child, we have lots out there that can't come because their families don't have money, so there's that opportunity." The money raised so far will go a long ways for local students.
"This is just a dream come true," Tracy said after the second scoreboard auction. "It will really help our kids, but we need a lot more help."