The Youth At Heart Program has partnered with MacArthur Elementary to provide students with several after school programs. Youth At Heart’s mission is to ensure that all kids have the opportunity to succeed.
The program strives to provide students with STEM learning opportunities, community service, enrichment, recreation, social emotional learning (SEL), homework help, tutoring, field trips, and visits from guest speakers.
The program currently has 62 students enrolled and has a goal set to help over 100 students this year. There are no application or admission fees. The program is free to all Cooper students. All families are required to submit an application. If accepted, families will then attend a parent orientation that will detail the program and expectations.
The program began in October 2019 and has sparked significant interest around the MacArthur building. Students talk about their experiences and ask their club teachers throughout the day what the plans are for later.
In fact, Principal Twyla Waterson believes the program may be increasing student attendance. The numbers haven’t come back to confirm it yet, but the staff is seeing a growth in student involvement.
“The kids that are enrolled are here, want to be here to go to their clubs at the end of the day. They do so many fun and innovative things during club times,” said Twyla.
Principal Twyla is excited to have the program at MacArthur and is very grateful for the Youth At Heart organization.
“We are very fortunate that Youth At Heart wrote the grant. They did all of what I would call grunt work to get us this grant. It’s a blessing to have something like this to offer over the next five years,” said Twyla. “A lot of the students involved where latch key kids. They would be home alone for 2 to 3 hours while their parents finished working. This program gives the students a meal, activities, interaction with friends, and help with homework daily.”
Mikal Lewis is the site coordinator for Youth At Heart at MacArthur Elementary. She enjoys her job and has one primary goal for the students.
“Ultimately, I hope that they are achieving academic success as well as understanding I can do this. ‘I can do this. I can achieve at life; I don’t just have to play sports. I can achieve in the school system, outside the school system and in all areas of life,’” said Mikal. “I am excited that they are exited. I am excited that they always want to learn!”
The program currently offers the following clubs: STEM, Book Club-Reading Adventures, Masterminds/ SEL, Garden Club, Art Club, STEM for Girls, Mind Works, Kidzlit, Athletic Club, and Homework Club. The students will have the chance to choose to be involved in 2 clubs in the after school program.
The daily schedule includes a meal from 2:30 p.m. until 3 p.m., homework help for an hour beginning at 3 p.m. At 4:00 p.m., students will participate in the enrichment activity of their choice for an hour. Between 5:00 p.m. and 5:30 p.m., students are dismissed.
MacArthur and the Youth At Heart organization are stoked for what the future holds and the opportunities they will provide for students. These programs will be offered to incoming students from Jones Elementary School as well.
For more information on the Youth At Heart program, please click here.