The Focus After School Program (ASP) started in February of 2009 as a response to a growing need. Focus serves many working families with teens and young adult children receiving waiver and grant services. Many families experienced a gap in supports from the time that school ended until parents returned from work. The ASP was formed as a response to this need – providing a safe and structured way for young people to get involved in their local community. But, perhaps most importantly of all, for fun!
The ASP group meets every school day from 2:00 – 6:00 pm at the Focus building in Eagle River. The program schedule follows the Anchorage School District’s calendar and is closed during school vacations, holidays, and snow days. Some participants receive rides to the program from family or staff, but bussing is also available if arranged through the school district. Most of the current 20 participants are in the age range of 14 to 24 years old. Focus staffs the ASP with around a dozen of the best care providers available. Their creativity and energy are a great match for the various needs and personalities of the participants.
In collaboration with the participants, the staff of the ASP plan their weeks chock full of activity. Each day begins and ends in a large room designed for the program. The room feels like a fun café – complete with a foosball table. From there, the group sets off for their favorite activities: swimming, going out to eat, hitting the Alaska Club, reading at the library, getting creative at Konrad’s Workshop, making meals at Super Suppers, bowling, having fun at House of Bounce, and the Boys & Girls Club. They strive to hold an outdoor activity once a week, such as sledding, softball, or ‘shovel ball.’ Special activities are held regularly – scavenger hunts, challenging the Focus office staff in games, writing and performing skits, and going to the museum in Anchorage. After being out and about in the community, the group then returns to Focus by 5 pm to allow time to hang out together while waiting for rides home. This is a chance for art, music, games, puzzles and just having fun together at Focus! And, yes, there’s even some time for homework.
Staffing support and transportation for the ASP are provided through individual Medicaid Waiver or grant funding. Individuals with services outside of Focus are able to attend with one on one support from their own providers. Scholarships are also available – contact Seth Kelley at Focus to find out more. Each participant is responsible for an activity fee of $5.00 per day, which goes toward the costs of outings and snacks.
The ASP crew is always interested in checking out new activities and welcomes special guests to share their talents and experiences. To find out more about joining the program as a participant, care provider, or volunteer, please contact Eileen Robinson for more information: 727-4783