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Williams Boys and Girls Club seeks skilled community members for WEMS program

WEMS after-school program provides a meal, offers time to complete homework and gives students the ability to participate in a variety of activities. (Wendy Howell/WGCN)

WEMS after-school program provides a meal, offers time to complete homework and gives students the ability to participate in a variety of activities. (Wendy Howell/WGCN)

WILLIAMS, Ariz. — Now in its third month, the Falcon Flyers after-school program is seeking members of the Williams community to help the program grow.

Through a 21st Century grant and generous contributions from Bearizona, the Globe Foundation, St. Mary’s Food Bank and the Boys and Girls Club of America, the program has served up to 90 children per day at Williams Elementary-Middle School, according to organizer and middle school science teacher Trina Siegfried.

Siegfried and Flagstaff Boys and Girls Club CEO Mark Cox updated the Williams City Council at its regular Jan. 9 meeting about the progress of the program and the plans for the future.

“We are new to town, but from our history and what we have to offer, we can do a lot for the city of Williams,” Cox said.

The Boys and Girls Club is not only helping fund the after-school program, but is collaborating with the school to provide fun, enriching activities for the children.

“We help them with their homework and then they go to some type of academic enrichment,” Cox said. “We call it disguised learnings so to the children it looks like something fun.”

The after-school program provides a meal after school, offers time to complete homework and gives students the ability to participate in a variety of activities ranging from physical activities, robotics, engineering, STEM and math, to reading, scrapbooking, technology, health and nutrition.

The program is available Monday through Thursday from 3:30-6 p.m., and on Fridays from 8 a.m.-noon.

Cox said the Boys and Girls Club, working with WEMS, is looking for more opportunities to get involved with the community.

“We are looking for people who would like to partner with us or volunteer,” he said. “We would like for people to share what they are passionate about and what they would like to see the next generation be passionate about.”

Siegfried said Williams High School students have recently become involved with the after-school program.

“Some of our high school kids come down and volunteer after school,” she said. “We are excited about hat because we are tying our high school students into that. That keeps those kids from just hanging around and well, our elementary kids think they are celebrities.”

Cox said his goal is to collaborate more with the community and share ideas.

“Our vision is to serve more kids and branch up, and I leave that up to the community,” he said.

He said the group has been in contact with Coconino Community College to share resources and reach out to older students. He said one goal is to encourage the students to attend the new certificate programs.

“I spoke to their representatives and they think it would be a great idea to help filter the high school students into their programs and get them prepped,” he said.

Siegfried said she hopes parents are understanding the benefits of the program.

“People are starting to realize its OK to leave their kids there, it’s not extended school,” she said. “Kids are running down the hallway they’re bouncing basketballs. It’s fun. Giving kids the ideas it is a fund place and showing then they can have fun in that school building.”

WEMS principal Carissa Morrison said the Falcon Flyers program is beneficial for both the school and community. She said having a safe place where students can go to learn and play every day after the bell rings gives many families a peace of mind.

Anyone interested in helping with the program is encouraged to call Siegfried at Williams Elementary-Middle School at (928)-635-4672.

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