Share This Page

Connellsville after-school program helps participants to explore possible careers

| Saturday, Jan. 19, 2013, 9:01 p.m.
Nathan Striner, 14, works on an engineering project to build a protective covering for an egg that will then be dropped. MARILYN FORBES I TRIBUNE-REVIEW

Mixing homework help with fun and interesting activities is the formula for a successful program as the Afterschool Enrichment Program celebrates its third and final year in Connellsville Junior High School.

Made possible through a grant acquired by the Private Industry Council from the 21st Century Community Learning Center of the Department of Education, the three-year program was put in place to help students with everything from confidence and self-improvement to homework help and tutoring guidance.

“It was first started to help with PSSA scoring with math and reading,” PIC Youth Specialist Julia Sefcheck said. “Now it's a good way for the students to also get homework help while offering interaction and activities.”

Students are referred by faculty, parents or even themselves to the program that takes place Monday through Thursday throughout the school year.

“We focus on a lot of different things here,” Sefcheck said. “Homework is first, then we work on achievement enrichment, activities, STEM projects and different ways to get the kids to think about what they are doing. They do a lot of hands-on activities where they actually have to create something or solve something.”

The students work on different projects throughout the year, with many team-building and problem-solving activities offered.

“This is something that really helps the kids,” instructor Vince Corrado said. “They learn additional skills here that they might not learn in a regular classroom.”

The program is offered at Connellsville to seventh- and eighth-grade students, but a few ninth-graders have taken part in the program.

“Some of these kids come back year after year,” Corrado said. “No one forces them to come. They come because they enjoy it.”

The program has increased in participation and interest over the three years and is now offered in other districts and schools in Southwestern Pennsylvania.

“We went from five schools to 18,” Sefcheck said. “We have a total of 480 students who take part in the program.”

While the program is winding down in Connellsville, it is just starting in other schools. A summer program also is offered.

“We try to make an impact on these students,” Sefcheck said. “It's not only about study and activities, but also about interaction with each other and socializing.”

Sefcheck said that the program helps the students become aware of potential career choices and future paths that can be explored.

“We talk to them about their interests and we work on character development and then we try to get them to focus on careers or talk to them about going to college.” Sefcheck said. “I really think that this is a great program and we try to help them expand their horizons.”

For information on the program and its availability, call the PIC offices at 724-437-2590 or 724-836-2600

Marilyn Forbes is a freelance writer.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.