Unique after school program offered at Trinity Episcopal

At Trinity Episcopal Church, a unique after school program is offered for Tyrone Area elementary students every Wednesday during the school year from 3-6 p.m.
High school students volunteer their time to tutor the elementary children with homework, a variety of arts and crafts are available to complete, and a hot meal is offered before the children go home for the evening.
“We have three adults from our parish, and I have four high school kids come in and help tutor, and I have two that aren’t there every week because of extra-curricular activities,” said director of the program Cheryl Weyandt.
The program is in its second year of existence, and Weyandt is the creator of it. She had help from her daughter who works for the Family Resource Center of Blair County to get it started. The high school volunteers are not members of the Trinity Episcopal Church, but they are dedicated individuals willing to give some time to help out with the program.
“It varies from week to week,” Weyandt said of the number of children who participate in the program. “On an average I have 10 kids.”
Weyandt said the way that most children find out about the program is through word of mouth or if somebody comes one week and then brings a friend the next week. Since the program runs until the end of the school year, new faces are welcome. The children should be from first through sixth grade. There is no fee.
“It’s just a safe, fun place for them to come, but because it’s through the school week, we make sure the homework gets done,” said Weyandt. “When the children first come in, they blow off some steam for about 30 minutes, and then we start homework, and that generally takes about an hour to an hour and a half. When they finish their homework, we have arts and crafts for them to do, and then we give them a hot supper.”
The Trinity Episcopal Church donates the crafts materials and the food for the meals, and Weyandt and two others volunteer to cook the meals.
The parent response has been overwhelming, and Weyandt said, “They’ve been very good. I’ve had a very good response to it.”
The program is funded through a grant from the Episcopal Diocese of Central Pennsylvania and from money that the church gives. However, next year, the program may need donations.
“The Episcopal Diocese of Central Pennsylvania helped with a nice grant for us. The grant came last year and carried me into this school year, and the church has also given us money, so that carried me through,” said Weyandt. “But come fall, we’ll maybe need to have some fund raisers to supplement what the church gives us.”
Besides meeting on Wednesday, Weyandt sometimes takes the group out other times during the week for fellowship. She has taken them bowling, skating and out to eat. Last year, she gave the children summer passes for DelGrosso’s Park at their last meeting.
For this school year, Weyandt plans on adding more arts to the program, maybe with a play.
“We hope to at the end of this year, we’re working with one of the members of the church, to come up with some kind of a play or a program that the kids can do,” she said. “We have in the parish hall a stage and a balcony. We’ll invite the parents, and it would be open to the public.”