By KATE S. ALEXANDER
December 7, 2011
Memorial Recreation Center Inc. will continue the last of the after-school programs previously run by the city of Hagerstown’s CSAFE Coordinator.
Hagerstown City Council agreed Tuesday to collaborate with Memorial Recreation Center to continue programs for older children in the area.
Hagerstown Police Chief Arthur Smith approached the council in August about finding new partners for CSAFE’s youth programs after Carolyn Brooks left her post as CSAFE coordinator.
Brooks stepped down after 13 years coordinating CSAFE, which stands for Collaborative Supervision and Focused Enforcement.
On Tuesday, Smith told the council that some of the most cost-effective crime-prevention strategies focus on children and youth.
Hagerstown has $17,921 remaining in what it budgeted for CSAFE after-school programs, according to city documents.
Loretta Wright, director of Memorial Recreation Center, said that with funding from the city, Memorial Recreation Center will be able to expand its program to provide numerous activities for students after school that includes:
• Homework assistance
• Tap dance lessons
• Piano lessons
• Abrakadoodle Remarkable Art, a fine-art program funded by the Fletcher Foundation
• Physical exercise in the center’s Martin Luther King Jr. gymnasium
• Community garden activities
• Speakers from the community speakers bureau
• MAN UP, DIVAS. and Girl Up mentoring programs that focus on helping children and teens develop positive self-images
• Videography lessons to teach the basics of storytelling, framing and composition
It also provides nutritious snacks for the children.
Wright said the center has secured a piano teacher, three dance instructors and a video teacher, who works in television, for the program.
Currently, Memorial Recreation Center’s program is limited in its ability to meet the needs of the children it serves, according to city documents.
Children arrive between 2:15 and 5:15 p.m., Wright said, making it difficult to host fields trips without closing the center early.
By collaborating with the city and receiving the funding allocated for the programs that were under CSAFE, Wright said the center can now afford to have another staff member who can be with the children at the center while others are on field trips.
Councilman Martin Brubaker noted that the money was already budgeted by the city for the programs.