Aroostook Community Matters: AABA’s Choices After School program

Published: Sep. 23, 2022 at 11:51 AM EDT
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PRESQUE ISLE, Maine (WAGM) - An after school program in Houlton is fun for students and beneficial for parents in the area. For this week’s Aroostook Community Matters, News Source 8 reporter Isaac Potter caught up with Adopt-A-Block of Aroostook’s Choices After School program.

School is back in session, and so is the Choices After School program at Adopt-A-Block of Aroostook. The Choices After School program started 12 years ago when Houlton High School was going to be sending their kids home early for teacher personal development days. Tammy Goetsch, the Adopt-A-Block Aroostook director and member of M.S.A.D. 29 School board, wanted to find a way to help parents out.

Tammy Goetsch, Adopt-A-Block of Aroostook director: “My first thought was what are parents going to do that work, and we also didn’t have an after-school program on those early release days at that time, I’m not sure what they are doing now. So we came and talked to the board and talked to our volunteers and said How about we start our own after school program called it’s all about choices. And we had a couple of people who had been teachers for many years that were our directors, and it took off. The school buses them to our facility on Tuesday’s. Every Tuesday the school is in session, kids come. Any children in grades 1-8 can attend our after school and we have been doing this about 12 years now.”

There are 52 kids signed up for the program this year according to Goetsch. The program includes fun events for the kids to enjoy like healthy snacks, creative play, homework help and enrichment programs. She adds that the program wouldn’t happen if it wasn’t for the grant money.

Tammy Goetsch: “Things like the Aaron and Marie Putnam Trust, we get funding through that. Machias Savings Bank last year we had a grant there. So the granting is what helps us to be able to get food and provide the resources that the kids need. It’s all volunteer based other than our director who is Bethany Crone, and she is on staff here at the Church on the Hill who is one our partners. They let us use their facility, we lease out the space from them, it’s just a great partnership, and we are really excited about that.”

Goetsch says the program has a need as they head into winter.

Tammy Goetsch: “We used to be able to get the local ski and snowshoe trailer, and that is not an option to bring to our site anymore, and it’s too hard for us to bus kids to that place. So we are looking at finding a way to and make through a granting or some donations from individuals to get some snow shoes and some cross country skis. They love being outside in the snow, and they love to slide, so we just want to add to that. So they can stay healthy, get their exercise, and not stay inside the whole time.”

Goetsch says it’s the volunteers that make this program work.

Tammy Goetsch: “It’s not just something we do to get a paycheck, if that makes sense. The people who come volunteer, because they have a heart for children and they want to serve our community. And when you do that, the kids know that. They get it.”

For more information about the program, visit the Adopt-A-Block of Aroostook Facebook page.

Isaac Potter News Source 8.