While 15 million children across the nation are alone and unsupervised afterschool, the Project APPLE program in the Bellflower Unified School District provides an alternative opportunity for more than 700 students at seven sites in the school district. The mission of Project APPLE is to engage students in enrichment courses and activities to explore and develop their talents while gaining critical skills needed for success in school and beyond.

Project APPLE is student centered. Lessons and activities have been identified and/or created to support the social, emotional, and academic development of all students. Since the program’s inception in 2000, students have played an important role in developing the objectives and influencing the strategies used to create positive outcomes. Creativity and imagination are an important part of helping children learn to think critically, solve problems, and express themselves.

Using programs like Kidz Lit, Kidz Math, and Kidz Science, Project APPLE is engaging students in academic enrichment that is fun, intentional, and purposeful. Kidz Lit is a reading enrichment program that builds literacy skills and develops core values of helpfulness, fairness, personal responsibility, and respect for others. Through Kidz Math, students develop mathematical skills, gain confidence in their mathematical abilities, and improve their ability to work with others through a game-based program students enjoy. In Kidz Science, students become mystery detectives and forensic scientists while investigating and exploring a crime scene that might involve a missing diamond or a bike crash. Students in upper grades spend time weekly in the computer lab learning and improving their keyboarding skills through a formal program, and will also produce Microsoft Word and PowerPoint publications.

Programs like Clever Crazes and Game Day add another level of fun while engaging students in fitness, nutrition, and health education! Fitness includes at least 30 minutes daily of moderate to vigorous physical activities. Students also rotate through structured sports programs, arts and crafts, and clubs based on student interests. Healthy living is embedded into the program through a daily healthy snack, the Harvest of the Month program, nutrition education, and prevention education topics.

College students with experience and training in school settings working with children serve as tutors for the students in Project APPLE. Since most of these individuals are pursuing careers involving service to children, Project APPLE is a good training ground for practical experience and a great way to inspire students to get involved in service to their communities now and later in life!

Through aggressive grant writing efforts by program staff, funds in excess of 1 million dollars annually continue to be awarded from ASES (After School Education and Safety) legislation, which allows the program to operate free of charge at Albert Baxter, Thomas Jefferson, Ernie Pyle, Ramona, Washington, Craig Williams, and Frank E. Woodruff elementary schools. Enrollment forms are available at each school site, but waiting lists exist at most sites.

For more information on the Project APPLE/REACH program in the Bellflower Unified School District, please feel free to contact us at (562) 461-2241.

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