Learning about and becoming aware of the community they live in is a goal for the members of the After the Bell program at Soldotna Elementary School, according to site director Karen Strash. In the coming weeks before Christmas the kids are collecting coins from family members and friends that will be donated to the local Food Bank. "Currently we are working on a coin drive, that we are calling a coin war. The different age groups are competing to see who can collect the most money that will be donated to the Food Bank; the winners get to go swimming. On December 20th, we'll have Peggy Moore from the Food Bank come over and the kids will present her with the money and she'll tell us how the money will help local families," said Strash. The kids are encouraged to ask for coins from family and friends to contribute, but admits that some parents have noticed that spare change isn't left lying around the house anymore, "We ask the kids to be sure to ask their parents first before collecting the change, so I'm hoping that's what's going on in every house, buy I can't insure that," laughed Strash.
About 85 kids participate in the After the Bell program at Soldotna Elementary. In the last 6 months those children have been exposed to a wide variety of learning experiences including fishing and bicycle safety, "Reading about something is quite different from experiencing something, as a director experiential learning is one of the most important things to me. So trying to bring in artists, chefs, musicians, and dancers, from the local area that might spark an interest in an individual or excite them and trigger something in their own life that will make learning exciting for them is one of my goals," said Strash.
The kids will also be walking over to Heritage Place in Soldotna to some Christmas Caroling during the holiday season. There will also be Christmas Break Clubhouse activities. Anyone who would like more information or contribute to the coin war, or volunteer for the real life learning experiences for After the Bell members, can contact Karen Strash at Soldotna Elementary at 262-9796.
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