Youth Success -- After School Program

Rachel Brunsting
We Rock the Spectrum Orange City
Orange City, IA
An inclusive after school program for students with exceptionalities 3rd - 8th grade. We want to offer the opportunity for youth to have their individual needs met with researched based learning while providing youth enrichment.
We Rock the Spectrum Kid’s Gym was founded to provide a place for children of all ability levels to play and grow together. As the only kid’s gym that offers an all-inclusive philosophy we have found all children can benefit from our uniquely designed sensory equipment that is specifically designed to aid children with sensory processing disorders. However, in our experience, all children are able to benefit greatly from this equipment and by allowing children of all ability levels to play together they are able to learn a great deal from each other and become the best motivation for success on every level.
We offer Open Play (free play), birthday parties, private play dates, classes, and events. An after school program would be an additional tool to support families and meet the needs of the youth. This will strengthen the community through collaboration of local high school and college students, giving the opportunity to invest in the lives of youth. We plan to charge a fee as a commitment to this program. In addition, we plan to seek opportunities and partnerships to keep the program costs low for families and to sustain the program.
We are the only kids gym in our county. Our region continues to show positive growth in jobs, population, and income. In 2016 the middle school population was 598 students with 35 students on IEPs and potentially more receiving other accommodations for learning and attention deficits. According to the After School Alliance, 33% of students would participate if there was a program. Children who participate in high-quality after school programs regularly have significant gains in standardized test scores and work habits as well as reduced behavior problems.
I am continually looking to fulfill the unmet needs of the youth in our county. I want to expand the opportunities for youth in our area by being a resource for parents and youth to provide out of school activities, day camps, recreation, special events, and a place for youth to gather. We would provide a safe, structured, and fun environment with researched based learning while providing youth enrichment. I would use the funds as a foundation to implement an after school program for children 3rd-8th grade with exceptionalities (learning or attention deficits). We would secure curriculum, learning materials and equipment, and a transportation plan. Funds will be used to engage youth and to recruit/train staff and the community as needed.

This investment will support working families and student success, develop and build critical workforce skills, positive mental and physical health skills, and provide positive relationships. We will leverage community resources through partnerships and college/high school volunteers with a four fold return on investment. We will allow youth to explore STEM and literacy in different ways by giving them the tools to succeed.

Current Rank

4

Number of Votes

925
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