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It's Your Business 2018: ASK: Riggins More than an after-school program

Facebook photo
Riggins ASK students range in ages from preschool on up through twelfth grade.


Facebook photo Riggins ASK students range in ages from preschool on up through twelfth grade.



— “ASK is definitely a positive in our community,” said Rhonda Damon.

Damon is the business manager and past program director for the Riggins After School Kids, Inc., program. However, ASK is more than “after school.”

Damon, who has worked with ASK for seven years, said the program is open to all kids in the community and serves an integral role in social and academic development.

“It also offers a variety of activities for students in a small town that doesn’t have much else for its youth, aside from what is offered at school or church,” she said.

ASK was originally part of an afterschool Centers for Discovery program. It then broke off on its own after Joint School District 241 deconsolidated and Riggins schools formed its own Salmon River Joint School District 243. It then ran on a grant as part of the 21st Century Community Learning Centers. ASK was recently chosen for another of these five-year grant cycles to help support the program.

ASK serves about 130 children in the community, pre-K through twelfth grade, including both public and home-schooled students.

Info:

ASK

P.O. Box 118

Riggins, ID 83549

208-628-2770

Facebook: After School Kids, Inc.

“Everyone is welcome, and all ages usually participate at one time or another,” Damon said.

A junior-senior high school portion allows for kids to have a place to get a healthy snack and do homework in between sports practices and other activities. At the elementary school, enrichment session as well as a variety of fun and schoolwork activities are included during the school year and summer time offers a variety of camps and classes. During the school year, a grant helps pay for transportation after school.

Since there are not any music programs at Riggins schools, Damon said, a music lesson aspect has been incorporated for a $20 a month fee. In addition, baseball, basketball and cheerleading programs have been added. In the past, swim lessons and dance have been available, and this past year, sewing and yoga were part of the enrichment courses.

“I believe ASK plays an intricate part of striving for the goals we have for our community’s students,” Damon said. “Our program helps them develop a strong foundation, not only academically, but also in many other areas.”

The program employs five people and a few more are paid stipends for various teaching endeavors throughout the year. Many people volunteer to help make the program a success, Damon said.

“We have a wonderfully supportive community and a school district that provides us classroom space,” Damon said. “We could not do this without them and really appreciate the collaborative effort.”

Aside from grants, ASK makes money by running the high school sports concessions during the school year and some money is also made through the program’s ETC., thrift shop on Main Street.

“Our community would be devastated without ASK – that’s just how important it is to our youth, to parents and to grandparents,” Damon said.

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Facebook photo Riggins ASK students participate in a variety of enrichment opportunities each school day.

Since SRJSD is on a four-day week schedule, ASK often uses Fridays as field trips days. In the past the kids have traveled to Grangeville for bowling and Lewiston to the civic theater.

“Something fun is when the older kids in the program become role models and do things such as help the younger kids read and prepare for Accelerated Reading tests,” Damon said. “That’s rewarding.”

Damon said volunteers are welcome to share their talents.

“I really look forward to many more successful and even better years with ASK,” she said.



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