Empire State Grant awarded to South Country CSD

Empire State Grant awarded to South Country CSD photo
The district, in conjunction with the Economic Opportunity Council of Suffolk, Inc. was awarded an Empire State Afterschool Program grant. Totaling $560,000 a year for four years, the grant will support an afterschool program at Bellport Middle School for 300 students in grades 6-8 and will run three hours a day for five days a week. The opening date of the program is projected for later this fall. In addition, 50 high school students will be provided afterschool programming through the Boys and Girls Club of the Bellport Area. 

“The district appreciates this generous grant, which will provide a much-needed service to students in our community and which will fill a gap for students and their parents who need alternatives for afterschool hours,” Superintendent of Schools Dr. Joseph Giani stated.   

Economic Opportunity Council of Suffolk, Inc. Director of Youth and Adolescent Services Cynthia Amato explained that the grant will provide vocational, recreational and educational preventative programming. As an Economic Opportunity Council of Suffolk, Inc. partner, the Suffolk County Police Department will also provide education on violence prevention and the risks of drug use and addiction.

In addition to a designated homework hour with tutors in core subjects, participants will select from a host of activities, including science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), cooking, dance, music/audio club, music/DJ mix club, special events for students and families, and social-emotional and healthy living activities. Through the Leaders of the Future/STARS (Students Taking an Active Role in Society) clubs, participants will also learn leadership skills and take on community service projects. SAVVY Me program activities will also promote self-discovery and understanding.

“With increased afterschool participation through enrollment, we aim to improve academics and attendance, as well as foster parental involvement,” Amato said.