Westside Center expands after-school offerings – including elementary bus

       The Westside Community Center, 1628 W. Bijou St., wants to become the place to go for local elementary and middle-school students after school.
       Enrollments are being taken for a new elementary program that will include bus transportation from Midland and West schools, as well as for a middle-school program that will be expanded from last year's, according to Dick Siever, center director.
       Both programs will be available when school starts (Aug. 18) - offering homework help, crafts and other activities - and will run all the days District 11 is in session, Siever said.
       “Tuition assistance is available,” he added. “No child will be excluded for financial reasons.”
       Details on each are as follows:
       Elementary - 2:45 to 6 p.m. Cost is $25 a week or $80 a month (prepaid). Open to students up to fifth grade. Includes use of gym, elementary room and playground, with homework help and songs, dance and crafts.
       A recently acquired, 32-passenger bus will provide the transportation. The bus service is limited to Midland and West because other elementaries on the Westside already have after-school enrichment programs through either the YMCA or Boys and Girls Club, Siever said. “Midland's on the other side of the highway,” Siever said. “We felt it was really important to get those kids transported.”
       Middle - 4 to 6 p.m. Cost is $15 a week or $50 a month. Open to all students in grades 6-8. Includes use of the center's crafts area, computer area (for homework and research), fitness studio and gym “We've really revamped the program from last year,” Siever said. “It will be much more active.”
       Both programs will be limited to 24 students.
       Families can also sign up children for the Westside Center's fall preschool classes. Geared for ages 3-5, the classes will continue the Early Learners (tuition $100 a month) and Pre-Kindergarten classes ($150 a month) that have been offered at the center since last spring by the Wilson Christian Pre-school, Siever said.
       For more information on the after-school programs, call the center at 385-7920; on the preschool classes, call Tifiny Pieper at 598-8420.

Westside Pioneer/press release