Funds for IL after-school program suspended - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Funds for IL after-school program suspended

A suspension of grant funds is leaving the Sesser-Valier school district without an after school program, one that school officials say is impacting more than 60 families.

For senior, Michelle Ort, she's been apart of the Teen REACH after-school program for six years now…and says she's gained another family.

“I mean we fight like always,” Ort says. “But I mean we're together, we're always together , and you can ask anyone something or you can go to someone and they will always be there for you.”

The program provides students ages 11 through 17 with homework help, social skills, and athletic and cultural activities.

It's a place where 5th grader, Cody Baumgarte decided to spend his 11th birthday.

“I thought it would be a lot of fun and I'm learning a lot,” Baumgarte said.

On April 3rd, school officials at Sesser-Valier received an email from the Illinois Department of Human Services stating the $63,976.69 grant for the Teen REACH after-school program had been suspended, and to stop services immediately.

A program that serves 79 students and 67 different families.

School officials say because of this suspension, it could have a strong impact on the student's future.

“If kids aren't structured – in a structured environment, they're out doing things they shouldn't be doing,” Teen REACH Program grant Coordinator, Regina Tinsley said.

For Michelle Ort, she says it's a program that helps students like her and Cody to be better.

“I mean he's getting college courses and cooking classes and stuff like that can help him in the future and it's taken away from him now,” Ort said.

School officials say they're not sure how long the suspension will last. 

They say they are contacting local legislators in the meantime, asking  to restore the after-school program at least until the end of the current school year.

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