BY ANDREAS BUTLER
Youngsters at Campbell Middle and Westside Elementary schools in Daytona Beach are getting a rich educational experience through the Night Alive program.
Night Alive is an after-school program funded through a federal grant through 21st Century Community Learning Center (CLC).
The program focuses on math, science, reading and writing. Additionally, it stresses athletics, team sports, fitness, health and wellness, character education, technology and educational arts. It also aims to provide a safe haven for kids after school.
“Unfortunately, a lot of parents are working and cannot afford daycare or babysitters, which leaves kids unsupervised at home. Statistics also show that higher crime rates happen for kids in this age group. This also provides a safe haven which keeps kids off the streets and involved in educational and physical activities to expand their knowledge,” said Lisa Zavota, facilitator of Florida’s 21st Century Community Learning Center.
The local program was started at Westside Elementary through Principal Judy Winch.
“Six years ago, she wanted to make the community safe for kids after school. She looked for ways to fund an after-school program. She applied for the grant and it was awarded to her,” stated Zavota.
Expanded to Campbell
When the grant was reapplied for, it was awarded again in October 2011 with the conditions of expansion, which led to the program being implemented at Campbell.
“Normally, the grant is given to community centers and YMCAs, etc., but not academic institutions. One of the parameters of the new grant was to expand what is covered and it was expanded to Campbell,” said Zavota.
Children have been attending the summer portion since June 18. Campbell’s program ends July 13 while Westside’s will run through July 26.
Westside’s program runs daily from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. focusing on academics in the morning and physical fitness in the afternoon while Campbell runs from 8 a.m. to noon.
Space exploration, parks and rocketry
The summer program adds another twist as the kids learn about rocketry.
“We got an additional grant this summer where seven teachers from both schools combined went to the Kennedy Space Center and was trained on rocketry by NASA scientists. They have implemented these lessons to the students. The training is hands-on in two-hour blocks. The kids learn about proportion and aerodynamics. They built and test actual rockets,” explained Zavota.
The kids say they have enjoyed learning about rocketry.
Ten-year-old Aniyah King from Westside commented, “We had fun and got education at the same time. We learned about national parks and how to make rockets. We used rulers to find the sizes of materials that we needed to construct them. The math games were fun too, which taught us multiplication facts. We used math to make and shoot off our rockets.”
Leavitis Golphin, 11, at Campbell, agreed, “It was pretty good. I learned drama and how to make rockets. I also learned that you make things fly that don’t look like they will.”
Corey McLeod, 10, at Westside, echoed, “It was a fun experience, especially learning about rockets and science. I liked learning about Newton’s laws of physics and motion. I was surprised how you can make things fly that don’t look like they can if you build them correctly.”
Campbell student Kmabia Williams, 12, added, “I enjoyed the experience and had fun. I especially liked the science part with building rockets. The balloon rockets were nice and easy to make.”