STEP program gears up for summer

Published 8:31 am Thursday, April 22, 2010

By Eason Franklin
The Lowndes Signal

The Student Tutoring and Enrichment Program (STEP) is gearing up for its summer program this year.

Open to children ages six weeks and up, the youths will have the opportunity to take field trips to various educational destinations.

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“We want to try and let them experience more than just what Lowndes County has to offer,” said Director, Shirley McCall.

Children have, in the past, been taken on weekly outings which have included swimming, skating rinks, parks, bowling and movies, just to name a few.

Started in 1989, the program is non-profit and has received a number of grants over the years from the Arts Council, the Black Belt Commission, the Board of Education and the County Commission to help with thevarious programs STEP offers.

The program also works alongside the Success by Six program, which is state-licensed through the Department of Human Resources (DHR).

Success by Six offers children from ages six weeks to four-years-old a curriculum to prepare them for Kindergarten.

“The program was started to help the young people in the community who could not afford daycare,” said McCall. “This is a means for them to prepare for school or work.”

Last week, the children had the opportunity to attend a concert at the guidance center and plans are currently being worked to allow the youth to attend the Shakespeare Museum to see “Colors of the City” on April 29.

Success by Six has been working diligently to acquire a visit from the Big Green Bus, according to McCall. The bus brings activities to the community, such as a preschool gymnastics program.

Though both programs have a high rate of turnout, STEP is in need of additional space to house the large numbers of children who attend the summer camp.

Currently the program is licensed to hold 75 students, but this year the camp is expected to draw 120 or more interested youth.

STEP is asking for people to volunteer facilities, because “the program does not want to turn anyone away,” said McCall.

Orientation will be held on June 3 and 4 and the program lasts from June 7 through July 16.

Anyone interested in making donations or contributions to STEP can contact McCall at 334-548-5284 or send a check or money order payable to STEP. Donations are tax deductible.