Many working moms struggle to pay for child care. So, when children are old enough to walk home from school and spread peanut butter on their own sandwiches, parents leave them on their own. But that isn't to say, parents don't worry.
For those parents, there's a solution, beginning Jan. 8, 2007.
The SonShine Club After-School Program, a ministry of Payson United Methodist Church, is now enrolling participants ages 5 to 12.
It is open to children with disabilities, but the level of service that can be provided is limited.
The program offers a safe, nurturing, educational center for school-age children who would not otherwise have anywhere to go after school.
The program is not a babysitting service. It is an extension of the school day -- but will incorporate fun.
Brad Bolt is the program director and Nancy Guyon is the assistant director. Bolt has a State of Arizona Elementary Education Teaching Certificate.
"I taught at FES and on the Gila River Indian Reservation before that," he said.
The SonShine Club's staff and volunteers will be fingerprinted and have their backgrounds checked, and all will be trained in first aid and CPR.
The program has been licensed by the state for up to 150 children, but will open with a limited enrollment of 35 -- openings are still available and a waiting list will be provided.
Enrollment will be increased for the summer to accommodate the longer break provided in the new school calendar the Payson Unified School District has adopted.
Children in the program will:
- Receive tutoring, homework help and mentoring
- Use computers to enhance learning
- Participate in music and art activities
- Receive character education (a continuation of the PUSD's "character counts" program)
- Participate in organized recreation
- Receive bus transportation from school to the facility (with faculty on board)
The SonShine Club hours of operation are: 2:30 to 6:30 p.m., after school; noon to 6:30 p.m. on school half days; and 7:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. during all school breaks.
Every Wednesday afternoon will be free and is open to all school-age children in the community, even if they aren't registered in the program. Called "Wacky Wednesday," the afternoon will have a vacation Bible school atmosphere and extend the outreach activities of the church.
The Payson United Methodist Church is at 414 N. Easy St. in Payson.
For more information, call (928) 474-5437 or (928) 474-0485.
Regular after school program: $60 per week
During school breaks: $150 per week
Equalization plan: $85 per week, year-round
Financial assistance is available on a sliding scale through the Arizona DES.