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Lights On Raises Funds, Awareness for Dodger Academy - from The Messenger

October 21, 2016

Lights On raises funds for Dodger Academy

21 Oct 2016 — The Messenger



An event at Butler Elementary School Thursday was held to not only celebrate the importance of after school programs, but also to mark the inclusion of all the Fort Dodge Community School District elementary schools in Dodger Academy.

Dodger Academy is an after school program aimed at helping parents and encouraging student success, according to Tami Holman, Dodger Academy coordinator.

The event, Lights On, is one that is celebrated throughout the nation, according to Holman.

"There are thousands of other schools in the nation doing this today," Holman said Thursday.

"The Lights On after school event is to raise awareness on the importance of having these programs," she said. "If we don't have funding to have these programs we won't be able to keep the lights on after school."

Dodger Academy, formerly known as BLAST, has been around for about 15 years, according to Holman.

But now the program includes kindergarten through fourth-grade students from all FDCSD elementary schools.

Dodger Academy is in place to improve student performance and support working parents.

The program attracts between 60 and 80 students.

The event kicked off with a celebration lighting in the gym where each student got their own glow sticks.

Activities at the Lights On event included math games, science experiments and a fairy tale mock trial.

Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts are also showcased during Dodger Academy.

Fisher Novencido, a sixth-grade Boy Scout, demonstrated knot-tying techniques to younger students.

Later, parents competed against students in a volleyball game.

A silent auction was also held.

"We are informing the community, as well as our parents," Holman said. "It's a fundraiser for us as well."

All the proceeds from the auction will go to Dodger Academy and the programs offered in the after school program.

"The activities are so important for our kids because they do keep them safe after hours," she said.

Juvenile crime and victimization peaks between 3 p.m and 6 p.m., according to Holman.

"Those hours are critical," she said. "With kids here, they are safe. They are not involved in those types of things and they are learning at the same time. It's a fun learning experience for them. We always have fun here."

Three out of four parents agree that after school programs give them peace of mind, according to Holman.

She said a big focus of the after school program is homework.

"They get their homework done, so they don't have to worry about that when they go home," Holman said.

She also said the benefits of the program are long-term.

"Studies that followed several after school programs all the way through high school, they say it actually increases graduation rates," she said. "We are reducing the dropout rate and also improving on the achievement gap as well."

According to studies conducted by Afterschool Alliance, students in high quality after school programs have better attendance, behavior grades and test scores compared to their non-participating peers.

Students can be enrolled in Dodger Academy at any time throughout the year.

"Lights On raises funds for Dodger Academy" The Messenger 21 Oct 2016: A1

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