A free opportunity for middle school youth to participate in enrichment activities through the support of individuals, community organizations, businesses, Merrill Area Public Schools and UW-Madison Division of Extension Lincoln County.
(Please note the start date for the 2021-22 program originally set for October 4, 2021 has been delayed. The new start date will be announced as soon as it is set. Thank you for your patience.)
Many young people find themselves without supervision on weekdays between the hours of 3 and 6 p.m. Afterschool programs not only keep kids safe, they also help improve students’ academic performance, school attendance, behavior and health, and support working families. Overall, the research shows that children who are supervised and engaged in structured activities are less likely to participate in high risk activities. For middle school students, being supervised after-school reduces by half the risk that they will smoke, drink, or abuse drugs. At a time when families and communities are struggling financially and kids are falling behind academically, afterschool programs are needed now more than ever.
This is why the “After the Bell” program was created and has provided over 675 different youth a place to go during the after school hours for sixteen years. Many of the youth who have participated have come to the program for all three years they attended the middle school. Past participants have indicated that the “After the Bell” program provides them with a safe place to go after school where they felt a sense of belonging, provided them with opportunities to learn new skills, develop more independence, and allowed them to participate in service opportunities. Youth indicate they have fun while learning new things to do.
The “After the Bell” program will return during the 2021-22 school year in a new location on the third floor at the Prairie River Middle School. This free program available for all middle school students from right after school ends to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday on days school is in session. The program offers participants a safe, easily accessible place to go after school where they have the opportunity to participate in positive enrichment activities and learn new skills. Participants are supervised by an adult supervisor along with community volunteers and high school students as needed and available. Each day the program offers students a place to choose to participate in enrichment activities, do their homework, play board games, visit with friends and/or have a snack. Students do not need to attend the program every day but can choose which days they wish to attend.
If students are interested in participating, information and required forms will be available in early September at the Prairie River Middle School office, T.B. Scott Library, the UW-Madison Division of Extension Lincoln County office or the first day they attend the program. Completed forms must be turned in the second time you attend the program.
Program Information and Forms:
Note: 2021-22 forms and more information will be posted once a new start date is set.
Interested in Supporting the Program:
Volunteer Opportunities — In trying to keep our budget low, we are seeking volunteers to help supervise or lead enrichment activities for participants, whether a one-time or a regular basis.
Financial Support – To keep the cost of the program free to participants, the program relies on the generosity and support of the local community to fund the program expenses. Funds are needed for supplies and paying staff who provide daily supervision of the program.
If you are interested in volunteering or in making a donation to the “After the Bell” 2021-22 school year program, please contact Debbie Moellendorf at (715) 539-1077 or via e-mail at email@example.com or Holly Luerssen at (715) 539-1076 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Thank you to the following individuals, businesses and organizations who donated and are making the 2021-22 program possible:
- Church of Ascension
- Church Mutual Christmas Is Committee
- Knights of Columbus
- Lincoln County Safe and Stable Families grant
- Lise Skofronick
- Optimist Club of Merrill
- St. Paul’s Ladies Aid
- T.B. Scott Library Board
- T.B. Scott Library Staff
- Turtle Lake Forestry, LLC
ATB Program in the News:
Impact of After School Programs:
Wisconsin 4-H Afterschool Program Impact Report (January 2011)