Sunday, January 09, 2011

After School Scholarship Program Helps Struggling Families

The holidays may be over, but the gift of giving is still going strong.

Many Fayette County students and their families are in need of help for after school care so that they will have a safe place to stay until their parents can get home from work.

A scholarship fund set up in the name of a long-time advocate and retired employee of the Fayette County School System’s After School Program is aimed at providing temporary assistance to struggling families by providing scholarships for after school tuition.

The Lois Woodward After School Scholarship Fund is named in honor of Lois Woodward, who retired from the school system in October 2010 as a field supervisor of the after school program. She worked for the school system for 25 years, first as a paraprofessional before heading up the first after school program at Kedron Elementary and later at Cleveland Elementary before becoming the program’s field supervisor.

During her years with the program, Woodward worked diligently to make it a safe haven and a place to belong for every child. She disguised learning as exploration and fun, and included families as part of the after school community. Woodward created many activities that are used in the program today such as “Share Your Talent Day,” “High Five Club for Fifth Graders, “and” Family Day.”

On the day of her retirement celebration, the after school program had raised over $1,700 for the scholarship fund, part of the donations came from children and parents at Kedron Elementary who now benefit from what Woodward started.

Woodward recently visited the students in the after school program at Kedron to thank them for their donations and read out loud a copy of Shel Silverstein’s book, “The Giving Tree.”

Woodward hopes the community will remember the following when deciding to make a donation to the fund: “I want the after school program to always be something kids want to do. We had a child once who asked for the program for his birthday present. The scholarship is our present to children and families. It takes all of us to make it better.”

Donations are tax-deductible and can be made in honor of individuals. Contribution checks should be made payable to the FCBOE/Lois Woodward ASP Scholarship Fund, Attention Jane Gough, Fayette County After School Programs, LaFayette Educational Center, 205 LaFayette Avenue, Fayetteville, GA 30214.

More information about the fund can be obtained by calling Jane Gough in the after school program, 770-460-3990, ext. 255.

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