After school and summer program making a difference in Richmond’s east end

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Some Richmond school kids will be spending a lot of time after school this year, but they’re not in trouble.

They are part of an after-school program through the Peter Paul Development Center, a program which helps kids become better students and do well in school.

“Our students are in an extensive after-school program,” says Peter Paul Director Natisha Knight. “Our summer program focuses on education too. We focus on stem, science, technology, engineering, and math.”

Two-hundred low-income kids are a part of the Peter Paul Development Center across Richmond’s east end. The center also helps fill in some of the gaps between home and school where a student might be struggling.

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“We are helping the school system build on what kids are learning in class,” Knight added.

That’s echoed by parents like Tanya Sims.

“They do things to keep them engaged with social activities and educational portion,” Sims said. “It takes children to a higher level.”

Nationwide, ten percent of kids are chronically absent, meaning they miss more than 18 days of school a year.

The Peter Paul Program tracks absences. Last year, 8 percent of kids were chronically absent. This year, leaders will be stepping in to see what can be done to get those kids back at their desks.

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Michael Parsons, Peter Paul’s Information Coordinator says, “the old way was that if it’s excused, it’s OK. But new research shows that missing a day, where it’s a valid reason or not, young people fall behind — especially those who are in poverty.”

Sims has seen the program’s successes first hand. Her son entered with behavioral problems, but thanks to the program, he’s no longer getting in trouble.

Parents can sign their kids up with the start of the new school year. You can read more about the program here:

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