Giving a care for aftercare

An exploration into the program that helps those students who after the school day


THE LION AND HIS CUBS: Junior Ben Bailey helps young students with their homework at St. Mark. This is one of his many duties that he has as a St. Mark aftercare worker.

One of the many privileges people above the age of 16 are able to enjoy is the ability to have a driver’s license. Long gone are the days of waiting for mom or dad to pick you up. Or having an older sibling unwillingly come get you because they were forced to. Either way, you were guaranteed to stay after for at least 10 minutes. So where could an unlicensed individual spend those 10 minutes in a fun and healthy way? Why at their school’s aftercare program of course!

Grade school aftercare programs allow students who aren’t able to be picked up right away to have an environment where they can either play or work on homework. They are offered a variety of activities, snacks, and a calm work environment to focus on studying. 

Junior Ben Bailey works for the St. Mark aftercare program almost every day of the week. Many Rebels are able to work at different schools’ aftercare programs for service hours, but Bailey works here as a job. 

“I went to grade school there, so I know the people there really well, and it helps pay for gas,” Bailey said. 

St. Mark offers their Lions a second recess outside, and inside activities involve games like Uno, Guess Who, Checkers, and Connect Four. The workers there act as tutors for the children who need help with their homework. They move to a seperate room so that the students can focus fully.

The director of St. Jude’s aftercare, Mrs. Martha Buckel, has been the head of the department for the last 10 years. She and some of her co-workers stepped up to keep the program going when the last director retired. 

I am able to meet students from all age groups, and I get to see them grow each following year,” Buckel said. 

She says they always start the students off with a healthy snack, which always seems to put them in a good mood. Next students are given the freedom to do whatever they seem fit. If they want to be active, they are provided with toys, coloring sheets, and on a day with good weather, kickball. On select days of the week, students are able to use St. Jude’s library and computers to complete their homework. 

It is a very productive work environment for the Raiders, and a good way to pass the time while they wait for their parents to arrive.

The director of St. Barnabas’ aftercare, Miss Paige Watson, works there while she finishes up grad school. She used to work in an aftercare program in Muncie when she was an undergrad, so this job seemed like a perfect fit for her. 

“I love working aftercare with the kids! They always are saying and doing funny things and I enjoy getting to know each of them,” Watson said.. 

She told the story about a little girl who is in pre-k that always pulls up a chair to sit next to Mrs. Watson (Paige’s mom), who only works on tuesdays. Whenever she is not there, the little girl will not pull up a chair to sit by anyone else. 

At St. Barnabas, they are able to utilize the whole gym for volleyball, basketball, and other sports and activities. If the children aren’t feeling very active, they can play with LEGOS, watch a movie, or color. Of course they are offered snacks and the quiet environment to work on any homework that they may have. 

The Warriors are offered a large area to do whatever they may please, assuring that they’ll be worn out by the time that their parents pick them up.

All three of these aftercare programs offer different opportunities to their students, but they all succeed in giving their students a safe environment to stay while they wait for their parents. It provides relief to busy parents and fun for the students involved in the program. When these students currently in aftercare receive their license, they will reminisce on the care-free days of their after school adventures in aftercare.