Scranton – Dignitaries from the Scranton Area Foundation recently toured Whittier Elementary School as part of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Northeastern Pennsylvania’s Park It Program. The Foundation award the Club a $10,000 grant to support this program.
“As a community foundation, we are completely in support of the Park It Program. The benefits that Park It is providing to area students in our community cannot be overstated, and I’m thrilled that we were able to see it firsthand,” says Laura Ducceschi, Director & CEO of The Scranton Area Foundation. “In regard to education, supervision, structured activities, and meeting children’s nutritional needs during the summer months, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Northeastern PA is providing critical services to area children and their families.”
Over the years The Boys & Girls Clubs of NEPA has recognized there are no consistent comprehensive summer programs available to children and families who cannot access and afford it. Therefore, in 2003 The Club implemented the Park It Program, which is offered free of charge directly on four different Scranton School District playgrounds. The other three sites are: Northeast Intermediate School, West Scranton High School and Bancroft Elementary.
What makes this program unique to other summer programs is that it is free of charge, and is located in the neighborhoods where the children reside. Therefore, it is very affordable, and lack of transportation is not an issue for families. This program is our way of bringing the Club to neighborhoods and children who need it most.
Through the Park It Program, children become involved in structured programs offered during the summer months, such as playing a variety of sports-related games, entertaining in board games, making arts and crafts, and enjoying a nutritional morning snacks and an afternoon lunch. All of the activities that take place are geared at keeping children busy during the summer months so they are not home alone or wandering the streets possibly getting into trouble.
According to Tricia DiBiasi Thomas, Club executive director, “We feel it is very important to keep our local community children safe, occupied and off the streets during the summer months when school is not in session. With the current economy there is a strong need for a free and easily accessible summer program for children residing in Scranton. Thanks to the generous grant from the Scranton Area Foundation and our other funders, the Park It Program celebrates another successful summer of serving 218 children so far.”
Other funders include: United Way of Lackawanna and Wayne Counties, City of Scranton’s Office of Community and Economic Development, The Kistler Tiffany Foundation and an anonymous donor.
At the Park It Program tour of Whittier Elementary School are (l-r) Erwin Kost Jr, Club president; Laura Ducceschi, Scranton Area Foundation director and CEO; and Club members Courtney Chiorazzi, and Crystal Shields.