Weekly Feature

2017-09-14 / Local News

Just for Kids brings enrichment programs to Cheektowaga-Sloan


A local nonprofit organization will be working with Theodore Roosevelt Elementary this year to offer a before and after-school program for students.

Just for Kids, based in Williamsville, incorporates academic enrichment activities to improve reading, writing, math and problem-solving skills while helping students develop positive behaviors and attitudes. The organization, which was formed in 1994, has since expanded to 17 different programs, also in Williamsville and Grand Island, including before- and after school programs, summer camps and camps throughout the year.

“I think this is a great opportunity that not many districts provide,” said Jeffrey Mochrie, the principal at Theodore Roosevelt.

“We are fortunate enough to have something to provide to our families.”

Kristina Kleeh, from Just for Kids, said the organization hopes to grow the program and double the capacity.

“There used to be a Boys and Girls Club that is no longer running due to a cut in grant funding,” Kleeh said. “We’re hoping to have an outlet for all the kids that were displaced as well.”

There are currently 40 children enrolled in the program, Kleeh said. The program started last Wednesday.

“We’ve received positive comments from the kids and their parents, and the faculty and staff at the school,” Kleeh said. “I think we’re off to a pretty strong start.”

Just for Kids received the 2015 Child Care Program of the Year and Buffalo State College’s 2015 and 2012 Employer of the Year, as well as being a Buffalo Business First 2015 Best Places to Work finalist and the University at Buffalo’s 2015 Nonprofit Internship Site of the Year.

The before-school program runs from 7 a.m. until the start of the school day. The after-school program starts after dismissal and runs until 6 p.m. Students from Theodore Roosevelt Elementary or Woodrow Wilson Elementary, as well as children attending John F. Kennedy Middle School, can attend.

Parents can choose to send students for two days a week or up to five.

Mochrie said the program replaced an old program that is no longer running, but there has been a smooth transition.

“We’re very happy to bring Just for Kids on board,” Mochrie said.

“They haven’t missed a beat. They’re on top of everything we want in terms of providing a safe, nurturing environment to do academic work and give them a healthy snack.”

Mochrie said that with an ever-changing population — with working, single and divorced parents — it’s challenging to provide a safe place outside of school for the students.

“Kids can be familiar with the setting, and build a relationship with them, and see our faculty and staff,” Mochrie said.

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