Church’s after-school program fills niche
Kate Ebbert and Dillon Hubbard were just two of the children who colored on Christmas stockings and hung them on the bulletin board.
Each day after school, Kate and Dillon attend Fun Quest, an after-school program at the Tonganoxie United Methodist Church.
"It's fun," said Kate, who is in the fourth grade. "And we have fun projects."
Dillon, who is a third-grader, agreed.
"It's fun to do fun stuff and that somebody plays with me," Dillon said. "And Angie is fun, very fun."
Angie Jacobs-Munoz directs the program.
Currently, she said, 22 children, ages 5 to 12, are enrolled, and on an average day 15 to 18 children attend the program, which is licensed for 24 children.
Jacobs-Munoz said the church is in the process of expanding its license to allow it to care for about 45 children.
Jacobs-Munoz, who has 13 years of experience in child care, said the children seem to be enjoying the local program.
"I've never worked anywhere where kids aren't complaining and they're wanting to stay there," Jacobs-Munoz said. "They're having a lot of fun."
The after-school program, which runs from 3 p.m. until 6 p.m., includes, crafts, Bible stories and snacks, which the children often prepare themselves, as part of a group activity.
Holidays are fun times at the center, Jacobs-Munoz said. For instance, last week the children
had a Thanksgiving party. And Monday, they were working on making Christmas stockings.
Donna Higbee, director of children's ministries for the church, said the church has the ideal location for the after-school program.
"It's across the street from the school -- and they go over and pick them (the children) up so they don't have to worry about maneuvering the street by themselves," Higbee said.
And, Higbee said, she's hoping to see more children enrolled in the after-school program, especially since the center's licensing is likely to increase soon.
"We've got a lot of room to grow," Higbee said.
Along with the opening of the after-school program, the church also started a parent's day out program.
The Wednesday session runs from 8:15 a.m. to 11:15 a.m. and takes children from age 18 months up to pre-kindergarten.
Shauna Gilliam directs the program, with Stacy Kite as her teacher, Higbee said.
"It's going very well," Higbee said of the program. "We've just not had as many enrolled as what we would like, but the ones that are, are having a terrific time."
The Rev. Paul Waters, pastor of the Methodist Church, said the center has planned a Dec. 17 "sampler" day where, for $5 a child, parents and their children can try the Parents Day Out program.
The center will be open that day from 8 a.m. until noon.
Parents who want to make reservations for their children can call the church, (913) 845-2249.
"I thought this would be a great time, around the holidays, to get people some time away from their kids to actually holiday shop, and to get people in to see the program," Gilliam said.