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After-school program gets regional award


Kids gather in the Lake Roosevelt Elementary School gym for the Cultural Enrichment Early Out Monday Program after it won an award in Washington, D.C. - Scott Hunter photo

An after-school program promoting values, leadership, family and education received a multi-state award last week when its director, Kim Stanger, was in Washington D.C. to encourage more funding from Congress.

The Cultural Enrichment Early Out Monday program at Lake Roosevelt Schools received an award as an "Exemplary Program" in Region 6, the Northwest, of the National Johnson-O'Malley Program in the Bureau of Indian Education.

The program takes advantage of the schools' "early out" Mondays twice a month to offer kids activities in six areas of the school, designed to engage and teach them in various activities ranging from dance to restaurant behavior.

Community members help. Kody Jo Brown from Rose Bud Photography teaches photography. Gena Redstar travels from Ellensburg to help twice a month. High school kids help, too. There's a native language class, taught by Annette Timentwa. Fitness games in the gym include some native games like stick ball. There's an art component; a large mural is a group project.

"They're going to remember this," Redstar said, asserting that the program offers something that has been missing in the community for many years.

"We're reaching the kids in ways that are going make a difference," Stanger said, holding a plaque awarded in Washington.

At the restaurant station, Jenna Cleveland, Miley McKenna and Kalaia Tonasket weren't having any trouble with the social conversation part of the lesson as they waited for strawberry pancakes to be served.

"Food," declared Jenna, when asked her favorite subject.

Although the program is funded for federally recognized tribes, Stanger said this program has been able to open it up for all children.

"That's how it should be, in my opinion," Stanger said.

The program serves kids from first through seventh grade.

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