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.
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 650 different youth a place to go during the after school hours for the past fifteen 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.
For the 2019-20 school year, the “After the Bell” program will begin on Monday, September 9, 2019. This program is available for all middle school students whether they attend public or parochial school from 3:05 – 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday in Room 118 (enter the school through Door 14) at the Prairie River Middle School on regular school days. 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, they can pick up information and required forms in 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. Forms are also available below. Completed forms must be turned in the second time you attend the program.
Program Information and Forms:
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. If you are interested in volunteering, please contact Ann Stoeckmann, Program Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org or (715) 536-3016 or Debbie Moellendorf at the UW-Madison Division of Extension Lincoln County office at (715) 539-1077 or via e-mail at email@example.com.
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 making a donation to the “After the Bell” 2018-2019 school year program, please contact Debbie Moellendorf at the UW-Madison Division of Extension Lincoln County office at (715) 539-1077 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you to the following individuals, businesses and organizations who donated and are making the 2019-20 program possible:
- Lincoln County Safe and Stable Families grant
- Optimist Club of Merrill
- Turtle Lake Forestry, LLC
ATB Program in the News:
Impact of After School Programs:
Wisconsin 4-H Afterschool Program Impact Report (January 2011)