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Town, businesses revive after-school program

Chris Patterson

(8/20/2004) Elementary school children in Emmitsburg will once again have a chance to participate in an after-school recreational program, despite the loss of Frederick County funding.

The program, designed for 30 children in grades one through five, will operate during the 2004­2005 school year thanks to a public-private partnership initiated by the Emmitsburg town government.

The after-school program operated for about six years with funding from Frederick County, coordinator Erma Tressler said this week.

After 20 years doing this kind of work with the county, Tressler said she is enthusiastic about starting this year with so much town support for the program.

"The kids will have a place to go to after school and hopefully have some fun. That's what it's all about," she said.

Activities will include homework time, snack time, free play, games and crafts.

Special activities such as guest speakers, trips to local attractions and other events are still being planned.

"Basically it's an organized playtime," Tressler said. "Obviously through play we can also teach our kids a lot and that's what we do."

Town manager Dave Haller and town planner Michael Lucas announced the partnership at a recent meeting of the town's Board of Commissioners and enlisted the support of the town's leaders, who enthusiastically committed $10,000 to the program.

Lucas has been working with local companies to donate money to the effort and several have done so, he said this week.

The donations have increased since the town meeting from $5,000 to $6,000 and are growing, he said.

Sponsor Bollinger Construction Company, owned by local resident Josh Bollinger, is making the largest contribution, Lucas said.

Other local companies making donations to support the program include Emmitsburg Glass, Briggs and Associates Real Estate, Jubilee Foods, The Carriage House Inn and One More Tavern. Their combined donations give the program 60 percent more funding than it had last year, Lucas said.

Lucas said a donor may provide several computers to the program and Tressler is pleased with that.

"Some kids do all their homework on the computer now so that would be wonderful," she said.

The Town of Emmitsburg has always been supportive of the program, Tressler said, but now it is really showing its support by funding the program.

Lucas said the program would also be supported by the Community Agency School Services (CASS).

CASS coordinator Debbie Wivell Swiderski said CASS would continue to support the program and continue its involvement with the parent advisory council. Parents are very involved with the program and provide snacks for the children, she said.

"Now that the Town of Emmitsburg is completely administering the program, it would be a good time for the parents to have even a greater level of involvement," she said.

Students in grades one through five at Emmitsburg Elementary and Mother Seton schools in Emmitsburg will receive handouts on the first day of school announcing the program.

Up to 30 children will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis.

Children will participate in the program on weekday afternoons when school is open, 3:30-5:45 p.m. It will run from Oct. 18 to April 29.

Read other news stories related to the Emmitsburg Town Government