With even more to offer,STEP is enhancing learning and empowering Lowndes County children

Published 5:07 pm Friday, November 22, 2013

By Fred Guarino
The Lowndes Signal

The Student Tutoring and Enrichment Program (STEP) Center in Hayneville is proving a great place to be for Lowndes County students to enhance their learning and have fun.

With computers for research, Xbox games, a 3D movie system, sound system, tutoring and homework assistance, the STEP Program in Hayneville operated through the volunteer efforts of Director Shi9rley McCall and her assistant Connie Johnson.

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Tuesday, a visit to the STEP Center found Lee and Leundria Brooks, 10-year-old twins who attend Central Elementary having fun playing basketball.

Led said he likes “playing outside and playing Xbox and everything.” Leundria said, “I like how we learn.”

Inside, brother and sister Clete and Oshalina Davis, who attend Hayneville Middle School, were spotted getting assistance from McCall in doing Internet research for national newspaper articles for their Journalism Club at school.

The Davis duo said they would not have access to computers to do research without the STEP Program.

McCall said the 3D movies on a giant screen, Xbox 360 games and new sound system attract teenage students to the STEP Center.

She said from 3:30-5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursdays through Dec. 20, the STEP Center is providing tutoring, homework assistance, games, computer and Internet use, mentoring and more.

She also said STEP will provide holiday camps for Thanksgiving break, Christmas break, Spring Break.

McCall said students who come to the STEP Center “can get tutoring, homework assistance and they also can have fun, use the computers, go outside and play games.” She said the STEP Center even provides the children with snacks.

The STEP Center is funded by the Lowndes County Commission, the Lowndes County Board of Education and through grants, according to McCall and it is a 501C3 non-profit program.

“The STEP program has been in existence since 1989,” McCall said. “I’ve been with it since from beginning.”

She said, “There is nothing available for kids in Lowndes County in that there is no recreation outside the school system. “And we’re trying to bring them out, let them enjoy movies, field trips, games, computer use, video games…”

She said the STEP Center is open to any child in the county, “as long as their parents bring them and pick them up.”

Oshalina Davis said she decided to do her news story on a 14-year-old boy who was shocked in Detroit by a power line. Clete Davis said he decided to do a news story about George Zimmerman, the man who killed Trayvon Martin but who was acquitted of second-degree murder and of manslaughter charges.

Clete said the club reads newspapers and magazines and take field trip.

McCall said the STEP Center is also now offering movies on Friday night from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.

According to information provided by McCall, STEP admits students of any race, color, national and ethnic origin to all rights, privileges, programs and activities.It does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national and ethnic origin in the administration of any its policies and other school-administered programs.

The mission statement of the program is To enhance and empower Lowndes County’s children through volunteer efforts and to promote self-esteem, good citizenship and a better family life; putting emphasis on drug and violence prevention.

Tutoring is offered in math, reading, English and science. Enrichment is provided in arts and crafts, music, sports, drama poetry, field trips, dance, swimming and mentoring.