Family & Children’s Counseling Services has received a five-year $1.3 million dollar grant to expand after-school programming at the Union Endicott School District.
Family & Children’s Counseling Services, their subsidiary The Family & Children’s Society, and the Union-Endicott Central School District worked collaboratively to develop the proposal which has been funded by the New York State Office of Children and Family Services under the Advantage After School Program.
For the past eleven years, Family & Children’s Society and Union-Endicott have collaborated to offer “Oasis,” their Advantage After School Program for high school youth enrolled in the district; the program has been held on site in recent years.
That experience and lessons learned helped inform this new proposal, including expansion of the program to Union-Endicott’s Jennie F. Snapp Middle School.
The Union-Endicott school administrators are strong advocates for the existing after-school program at the high school and helped determine that expansion to the middle school would be desirable and have positive outcomes for their younger students.
“Union-Endicott is excited to partner with the Oasis Advantage After School Program to provide programming for over 100 of our middle and high school students. This program ensures that students will have access to academic support, social support, skill-building activities, nutritious meals, and other key items after the school day ends. We have hosted this program at our high school for three years and are proud to expand it to our middle school. It is partnerships such as this that help Union-Endicott grow as a Community School and provide wrap-around services for our students,” said Dr. Larry Dake, Assistant Superintendent for Personnel and Secondary Education.
With expansion of the after-school program into the middle school, there is an opportunity to engage students sooner and strengthen protective factors at a time when youth are more malleable to change.
Research shows that providing quality after-school programming to the younger students will improve school attendance and academic achievement, and lower youth involvement in risky behaviors during after-school hours.
Family & Children’s Society has hired new staff to support the expansion of services into the middle school, including Drew Osterhout, the new Program Director who will oversee the Oasis after school programs at the middle and high school buildings.
“As a graduate of Union-Endicott, I understand the needs of the community and this is a great opportunity to enrich students’ lives by helping them mature academically, socially, and personally. We’re excited to provide students a safe and supportive environment where they can develop lifelong skills,” stated Oasis Program Director, Drew Osterhout.
The school-based program provides a valuable service for all Union-Endicott families seeking after-school care. Of particular note, Union-Endicott serves a high percentage of economically disadvantaged youth (55%) and 3% of district students are homeless.
Given these situations, the availability of free, high quality after-school programming is essential for district families who might otherwise not access after-school care that incorporates evidence-based prevention programming to benefit at-risk youth.
The program will also identify disengaged students who are not participating in any formal after school activity and seek to engage them and their families in the Oasis Advantage After School Program.
In addition, community agencies have long-standing relationships and participation in the after-school programming throughout the school year.
Special activities include the Reality Check Tobacco Free program from the Broome County Health Department, Stay Healthy Kids Wellness Program from United Health Services, Social Safety programs from the Crime Victims Assistance Center, Compeer mentoring program from Mental Health Association of the Southern Tier, and Life Skills education from Mothers and Babies Perinatal Network.
The after-school program receives substantial benefit from their collaboration with Binghamton University and SUNY Broome Community College.
Each of these academic institutions assigns student interns who help engage youth in program activities, and serve as tutors and mentors for individual students.
Enrollment is now open and families can contact Program Director of the Oasis Advantage After School Program, Drew Osterhout, at email@example.com or (607) 757-5655 for more information or to register their children in the middle and high school sessions that will begin January 2nd following the holiday break.