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Local after school programs filling up in Maple Ridge

Popular after-school programs have more than doubled in participation
Students at Harry Hooge Elementary learn about yoga during after school programming

After school programs in Maple Ridge have been a hit with parents and their children, and more funding is needed to continue expansion.

Drea Owen, the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows School District's community school coordinator, said the programs have been expanded from four to six elementary schools, and the numbers are up at each school.

The programs are also becoming increasingly popular, showing there is an appetite for more activities for kids. So far there have been three sessions. The first fall session had 120 kids enrolled, and this spring there are approximately 280 taking art classes, guitar, martial arts, hip hop dancing and more.

The classes are generally kept to nominal fees of $5 to $10 per session, and happen for an hour or 90 minutes, right after school is out.

"Everything is going good, but it's almost at capacity," said Owen."The community is really responding."

It is obvious that kids are enjoying the programs, both by their enthusiasm in the class, and the fact that the same children will often sign up for the next intake of popular programs, such as guitar.

The programs started in the schools in the eastern areas of the district, and Owen said she has already heard from parents at elementary schools such as Hammond and Alouette, asking when it is their turn.

The programs are offered through a partnership between the school district and United Way. Owen gets local community groups and instructors to deliver the programming. She said there are grant applications to secure more funding pending, and there could be more expansion by September.

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Neil Corbett

About the Author: Neil Corbett

Neil Corbett has been a journalist for more than 30 years, the past decade with the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows News.
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