(Reprinted from the FamilyMatters in West Park Winter 2017 edition)
Enrolling youth in arts, robotics, & more
by Rachel Napolitano
Six locations are buzzing with K-12th graders during the afterschool hours with free programs. Bellaire-Puritas Development Corporation’s (BPDC) organization of the West Park MyCom (My Commitment, My Community) youth development network is keeping four sites busy after school and BPDC provides in-school and afterschool programming at Robinson G. Jones School (R.G. Jones). BPDC’s newest location, Artemus Ward, is a 21st Century Community Learning Center for 6th-8th graders called Partners for Student Success (P4SS).
One West Park MyCom location for 4th-8th graders to delve into fun is at West Preparatory Academy. On Thursdays from 4:30-5:30pm in February and the beginning of March, youth will build and program robots that they make with Lego Mindstorms®. From April through the beginning of May, youth can make their own beats and songs and use music production software during the same time of day as robotics was offered.
GALA School is opening its doors to the community as the second West Park MyCom afterschool site for arts classes for kindergarteners through third graders. A mini-session already started Jan. 9 and new sessions are enrolling for Mondays 4:15-5:30pm. Chinese New Year is the theme from Feb. 6-Mar. 13th and traditional themes will be used. The next session of arts is offered Apr. 3-May 8th. The session is entitled “Fun with Clay” and is bound to be full, as past clay classes coordinated with Art House, Inc. (BPDC’s perennial arts partner) have been popular. The art classes culminates in a Parade the Circle family workshops starting in May at GALA and ending in June at the parade.
Teen Job Club is going strong and could use more teens in 8th-12th grade to drop-in to join any time for access to guest speakers, workshops, job leads, field trips, and leadership opportunities. Skills for success in work, college, career and life are for everyone, so the West Park MyCom club is open to all students in the area and meets Wednesdays at John Marshall Campus in Room 217 from 4-5:30pm.
Fashion Club is for ages 8 and up and meets the first and third Tuesdays at the West Park branch of the Cleveland Public Library from 3:30-5 p.m. This MyCom makers club was popular last school year and new boys and girls are welcome to make fabric craft projects to take home.
The P4SS program is available through a 21st Century Community Learning Center Grant. BPDC provides a comprehensive and intensive academic afterschool program located in the media center of the school. The program is available for all sixth, seventh, and eighth (6, 7, and 8) graders at Artemus Ward, R.G. Jones and in the surrounding community and it runs now until the end of the summer thanks to the Greater Cleveland Neighborhood Centers Association.
Partners for Student Success (P4SS) begins at 3:45pm and ends at 6pm Monday through Friday and provides hands-on teaching, tutoring, mentoring, and academic accountability for our participants. The program accepts new applications all year round and especially is looking for additional 6th grade students to join.
A partnership with Health Professions Affinity Community (HPAC) brings Americorps volunteer staff and project-based learning to the P4SS program, to guide students to seek answers to health issues that affect their community and create solutions that may eradicate health issue(s). America SCORES provides soccer and poetry/spoken word curriculum while Neil Chastain provides drumming lessons and helps each student understand the academics of music and mental ability. Angela Montgomery provides Zumba instruction to gain oxygen and free up intellectual acuity and agility.
BPDC’s Wraparound program at R.G. Jones began as a pilot program in 2013 with a three-year commitment with the United Way and is now funded again by the United Way for a 4th year, the entire 2016-2017 school year. This year the focus is on in-school programming for R.G. Jones students, however America SCORES Cleveland has been a mainstay for afterschool academic and soccer enrichment.
All youth development activities BPDC organizes requires registration, with advanced registration needed for art, robotics, and music classes. Contact BPDC at 216-671-2710 or search www.bpdc.org for more information.