We must fight for our after-school programs


Our after-school programs are more important than ever. Gone are the days when almost every student would come home after school to a mom and a safe place.  Gone are the days that those of us that lived in the county came home to farm chores that had to be done before homework and supper.

When I was on the board of The SHACK I learned a lot from today’s youth. For some the after-school programs like The SHACK was where some kids felt safest. Some didn’t want to go home to an empty house. Not only was it not welcoming, they also had access to drugs, alcohol, porn and boredom. That Bible verse about idle hands is the devil’s workshop is true. They were trying to be “good” but got into things they shouldn’t because they were bored.

Some didn’t want to go home to a full house.  Parents aren’t always safe anymore. One boy told me that his parents were often high. Other kids talked about the fighting, the neglect, and the mental and physical abuse. One girl said that she liked coming because she knew she was loved and would get her only hug of the day.

In our communities we have a lot of after-school programs the students can choose from. There are The SHACK, sports, Destination Imagination, 4H, FFA, etc. Last month we had an editorial in this paper about how President Trump wanted to cut funding to the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21CCLC) and increase money to charter schools.

There are five charter schools in the State of Wyoming. The 21CCLC program reaches far more students across the state than charter schools do. The benefits to the 21CCLC programs run in Big Horn County School District Four are numerous. Our students work on their homework first. They get help on their homework if needed. While many of us grew up with a parent helping us with our homework, that isn’t always the case anymore. Our after-school program helps further our children’s education not only through homework but also through what they do in the program. They have STEM activities (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics).

After-school programs are shown to raise graduation rates, help students become successful and build their confidence. District Four 21CCLC coordinator Amber DeGraw says.

I have seen a direct impact in student social, emotional, and academic improvement of those that attend our 21CCLC programs. Students are more likely to turn in their homework, which increases their academic skills and helps improve test scores. They receive a healthy snack, which may be the only food they receive that night. They are able to interact with friends and increase their social skills in a more relaxed environment than the school day.  Finally they are able to participate in a hand on STEM activity,  which further improves their academic skills. These programs are vital to our community to help parents keep their jobs and for students to continue to excel in school.

Rural America elected President Trump. Rural America doesn’t benefit from private charter schools like the larger cities do. Please call the White House and ask him to not cut 21CCLC funding. To support public schools and the after-school programs that benefit the most students. Call 202-456-1111 and leave a comment about how those of us that supported him are asking him to support us by not cutting the budget for the 21CCLC programs.

Call our U.S. Wyoming Senators and Representative to ask them to support 21 CCLC and to educate the president on how important it is to Wyoming students. You can reach Senator Enzi at 202-224-3424.  Senator Barrasso 202-224-6441. Representative Cheney 202-225-2311.

You can make a difference. Don’t let this opportunity to have your voice heard slip past you. It is important to our schools, to our community and to our country.


  1. Be better to contact each and everyone of our STATE representatives; we probably will not get much satisfaction from the female that replaced Hill but we should try; we should also be contacting the candidates and see where they stand on this issue.
    Our people in DC are mostly RINOs; with that said, changes and supports starts at home, that means our communities, our districts, our counties and then the STATE.
    We would not be in quite this mess if Meade would have followed the State Constitution and renovated the capitol building by putting out bids; the Supreme Court dismissed the lawsuit for this…Meade should be investigated! The Capitol renovation was approved at a$50 million, he went over by $280Million; so let us take a look here..why do we need 67 Supreme Court judges at an average of $81,000 a year and the same for Attorney’s…USA operated all 50 states and territories using 9 justices and quite a few less deputy Attorney Generals; then let us take a look at one of the State justices, wife of Groathouse Construction and their best friends Plan 1. What is relationship with the architect and Groathouse getting a multiplicity of contracts? Are they under bidding..we should study that; so, if they get the contract in this manner, then how many Change Orders come through to get them to where they are way over from say what another contractor/architect would have charged? Think about it..better to wonder, even better to research and bring our State government into decent alignment so we can keep our state somewhat free of corruption. This is just the tip of the iceberg to think about…we need to get into what is happening in our own county and it is not good, not good at all!

  2. So, if there is going to be money spent that the federal government has no business spending on anybody, rural conservative America should fight for its place at the federal teat, too, is that it? Count me out. What part of “the federal government has no legitimate role in K-12 education” don’t people understand? Also, parents have to step up higher and PARENT, for crying out loud. It’s not the government’s job, at any level, to take care of your kids because you’re such low-lifes that all you do is drink, drug, and fight when they come home after school.

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