The Thousand Oaks police department and other Conejo Valley agencies are giving 124 youngsters an alternative to joining a gang and getting into trouble after school through Project Safe Passage. The afterschool program operates near students’ homes and provides them with a safe place to work on their homework and develop relationships with peers and positive role models. Each month, the program takes students on educational field trips to museums, universities and more. “We are bringing these services directly to the children,” Thousand Oaks Chief of Police Tim Hagel told the Ventura County Star. “They don’t have to go anywhere. We offer them a safe place to stay in multi-family areas until parents arrive home.”
Six female students are learning to meld metal and develop valuable technical skills through a new afterschool program at Duluth Denfeld High School. The program will make use of the school’s new fabrication lab, which is stocked with tools and equipment for engineering and graphic design classes. “Women are not represented well in the tech field of fabrication, welding and computer-aided design,” tech tutor and afterschool program head Roxane Simenson told the Duluth News-Tribune. She hopes her class can encourage girls to try something new and gain valuable engineering experience along the way.
A group of middle school students have spent the past ten weeks applying their creativity, math and science skills to a very important task: building toys for the Shedd Aquarium’s giant Pacific octopus. The Club Shedd afterschool program brings students to the aquarium each week to learn about existing octopus enrichment tools, design their own models and eventually construct them on a 3D printer. The best ideas may be added to the octopus’ existing set of toys. The program allows students to apply their science lessons to a hands-on project and gain critical skills in the process. “What it’s given them is an open place to throw out creative ideas,” fifth-grade math and science teacher Sara Jacobson told the Chicago Tribune.
Three Massachusetts organizations have been awarded federal funds to try to stem the rise of homegrown extremism by supporting youth in creative ways, as part of an initiative to honor the memory of those killed in the Boston Marathon bombings. According to the Associated Press, United Somali Youth received $105,000 to develop afterschool, counseling and college assistance programs for Somali, African and Middle Eastern youths that will help them build critical skills for the workforce; Empower Peace was awarded $42,000 to teach high schoolers how to develop social media campaigns promoting tolerance; and the Somali Development Center was given $63,000 to better integrate Somali immigrants and refugees into the community.