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Make a difference in the lives of local kids

It’s 4 o’clock. Do you know where your children are?

I remember growing up, and every night at 10 p.m. on a certain channel, someone would say, “It’s 10 p.m. Do you know where your children are?”

I thought it was so cool that, every night, a reminder would come across the television and parents everywhere would be able to answer, “Yes, I do!”

Or, did they? And, if not, I’m sure they would definitely go find them.

Or, would they?

Well, now, with children of my own growing up in a great community, I know where they are every day, at least until 4 p.m. They are in school, participating in class and spending time with peers and mentors in a safe environment, with caring, educated people who love teaching and make sure that each student is given an opportunity to learn.

Then, 4 p.m. rolls around. Our kids go to various places. Most of our kids communicate their whereabouts via cell phone, or their friend’s phone at the very least. Many parents are working and trust their kids make it home on the bus or to the destination discussed the night before or that morning.

Or, do they?

The collaborative partnership between two area nonprofit organizations — the Archuleta County Education Center and the Pagosa Springs Youth Center — is designed to better support the youth in our community, especially after school.

When school is dismissed in the afternoon, the youth of our town have few choices about how and where they spend those crucial hours immediately after school. The mission of both the Ed Center and the Youth Center is to provide safe after-school, alternative activities that help keep students on track and out of trouble.

The Ed Center has a curriculum that provides for the continuation of exciting learning and enrichment opportunities for our youth. Programs range from after-school tutoring to the new STEM program (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) for our fifth- to eighth-graders.

The Pagosa Springs Youth Center provides a fun, safe and drug-free environment where kids 12-19 years of age congregate for a snack or meal after school and an opportunity to skate, play basketball and play in the game room or computer room with friends. The center has special events supported by outside agencies, including Archuleta County Victims Assistance and the Parenting Nurturing Center.

This month, we are asking members of the community to join in making a difference in the lives of our youth. With your support, we can continue current programs and add appropriate new ones. Your support will also provide scholarships for young people who cannot afford the cost of a specific Ed Center program. Both centers will continue to provide social and emotional support to our youth after school.

If you would like to be the difference in the life of a child today, please call to make a donation to this wonderful collaborative effort.

For information on additional Ed Center programs and to make donations, call 264-2835, and for after-school schedules and events, or to make donations, call the Youth Center at 264-5030.

Know where your children are at all times, especially after school, and let us help you with that. That is why we are here.

What time is it? And do you know where your children are?

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