Summer SAFE BASE a no-go

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The Iola Register

Area students won’t be able to take part in an educational summer program this year because of a lack of grant funding.

SAFE BASE, an afterschool program in its 19th year, will not offer summer programs, assistant director Eileen Wille said. The program is funded entirely by state and federal grants, and no grants could be found for the summer program.

“It’s really disappointing for us. We love our summer programs,” Wille said. “There’s just not money out there for it.”

This is the second consecutive year SAFE BASE has suspended its summer programs because of a lack of funds. The regular after-school program is funded by two grants from 21st Century Community Learning Centers, a U.S. Dept. of Education program, and will continue as usual in the fall. One grant expires next year; the other has secured two more years of funding. 

Last year, about 220 students participated in the SAFE BASE after-school program. Typically, summer programs draw anywhere from 80 to more than 120 students. 

Summer programs are important because they provide activities to local children at a time when parents may be working or otherwise occupied, Wille said. 

“There just aren’t a lot of opportunities for kids in the summer,” she said. 

In previous years, SAFE BASE summer programs would provide local activities as well as field trips. Depending on available funding, trips might be regional- or state-based, like to the Discovery Place in Wichita. Some years, participants traveled to places like Hannibal, Mo.; Colorado and South Dakota. 

 

SUMMER activity still continues for SAFE BASE, though. The group has planted vegetables and flowers at the Wayne Garrett’s Children’s Garden, giving the traditional pumpkin patch a break on the advice of an Extension agent. 

Produce and flowers grown from the garden soon will be offered for sale at the Allen County Farmers Market. Proceeds will go to buy supplies for the next school year. 

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