Cajun style cuisine, a generous community and Bridges stretch After the Bell's Budget

Posted: Tuesday, March 04, 2003

In an effort to continue the After the Bell programs at area schools through this school year, the After the Bell Board of Directors threw a Cajun dinner and auction last week that brought them very close to meeting their goal.

"We raised $17,282 at the dinner-auction, we also received a $5,000 donation from the Peninsula Sportsman Association, and at the Chamber meeting today we received a $10,000 check from Bridges. So we are getting closer and closer. We need $48,000 to finish the program out from the end of the original grant monies through the end of the school year," said Ginger Steffy, the After the Bell Board Chairman. Steffy is confident that if the Hobo Jim Willey Boat raffle tickets sell out that they will meet their goal. "We think we are going to get there. We're really working at it and we really believe that all the support we are hearing and getting from the community that we will be able to keep the program going," said Steffy.

Soldotna City Councilwoman and Bridges Board member Jane Stein was on hand at Tuesday's Soldotna Chamber of Commerce meeting and presented Steffy with $10,000 for the program that Bridges had raised through the Chambers pull-tab operations. "This was one of our key projects with the money that came from the pull-tab profits. What the After the Bell program is doing for our community is absolutely un-real, the children are safe, the families know it, and the kids have great positive activities that help them get their homework done so they have quality family time at home. We were very glad to be able to help out such a fine program," said Stein.

Ken Meacham has been a principal of various schools for some 27 years and attributes the After the Bell program with great success and is convinced that children are learning more and will be more successful because of it. "I've seen a lot of programs come and go, this is the best, it has come and it shouldn't go. We need to keep it going because it is functional and it's making a difference," said Meacham. "Last Saturday night's dinner-auction benefit tells you something about our community. How can you say enough about that kind of community support? It tells you that there is a very committed group of individuals here that wants to see the best for their kids. This is a cognoscente community that cares about the kids in it, and the result will be kids that understand the sacrifice and will be willing to give back to the community as an adult. It's a cycle that I wish all society had, the community gives and the individual child receives and then as an adult gives back to the community and continues the cycle of service that perpetuates the best of society," said Meacham.

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