Plenty for youth and families to do
Rebekah Rosen-Gomez's letter to the Press last week makes some good points. As a board member of the Jamestown Education Foundation (JEF), I would like to respond.
JEF was created nearly four years ago to address some of the very needs Ms. Rosen-Gomez cites. In those few years, JEF has worked with Principal Kathy Almanzor to create a wonderful After School Program, which serves almost 75 percent of the local school population. The offerings vary hugely, from cooking to robotics to drama to Spanish instruction to string ensemble to drawing (not to mention the school's cross country, soccer, and other sports available to the students). Almost all of these after-school programs have been free to all students, effectively extending the school day for one hour of cultural, athletic and academic enrichment. Both school buildings buzz with activity long after the bell rings at 2:40.
JEF is active within the larger community as well. We partner with other organizations to bring innovative programs and activities to Jamestown. Among these are our annual Save the Bay Summer Camp and the teen center (Under the superb leadership of Melissa Minto, the teen center dealt with the lack of a permanent home while still offering activities and field trips for local students. Their new home at the community center is long overdue.) JEF has also given support to the Conanicut Island Raptor Project and the Narragansett Bay Coyote Study to give our students a chance to learn about the animals living among us. Data and/or curriculum for both studies have been used in Jamestown classrooms, as well as being available on the web for the general public.
Finally, Ms. Rosen-Gomez asks, "Where are the social events...?" I'd like to invite her and her family to the JEF Sing Along with the Sound of Music Night at the Jane Pickens Theater on Nov. 29, at 6:30 p.m. The classic movie will be shown on the big screen, as the "bouncing ball" helps everyone sing along. This family night at the movies is just $5 per person. Wear a costume and win a prize! We hope to see you there.
Mary Hall Keen Jamestown Education