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After-school care equals after-school fun

CHESAPEAKE - After schools lost the grant for the Federal After-School Program two years ago, many parents had to find an alternative for their children.

The Chesapeake after-school program at Chesapeake Elementary runs five days a week from 3 p.m. until 5 p.m. Parents pay $5 a day for after school care that includes a "homework haven," a healthy snack and recreation for the students.

"This started from a genuine concern from the community and board of education due to a lack of community child care," program coordinator Dannie Newman said.

Newman said that that they are currently running approximately 25 students in the program and they do allow fifth and sixth graders to come down on a bus from the middle school. There is no transportation available for the program.

Ten-year-old Teauna Fry said that they do a lot during their time at the after-school program. She said that on Monday through Thursday, they do their homework, have a snack and then do recreation - such as go outside, do karaoke or go to the gym.

"I love after school, that's pretty much the reason I keep coming," she said.

Fry said that her favorite part would probably have to be the snack and that she had made many friends in her time at the program. She has attended since the school offered the Federal After-School Mall program, when the school started this program she continued to attend.

"If anyone would want to come to after school mall, it should be their choice," she said.

Sydney Nida started attending the program the middle of last year. Nida said that she enjoys attending the program.

"I like that they let us listen to CD's and give us a snack," she said. "Sometimes we go outside or play in the gym."

On Friday, few of the students had homework, so they were having recreation in the library. Students spent time listening to CD's drawing on the board, reading books and taking turns performing karaoke. Many were laughing and playing as they waited to have their snack.

Chesapeake Elementary and Dawson-Bryant Elementary are the only elementary schools in the county that still offer an after-school program for elementary students.