Play and guidance: ASAP readies for community fundraising day Sept. 20

September 2018 Posted in Community, School

By Brenna WiegandASAP fundraiser (1)

The kids pour in from school, grab snacks and do their homework. Then they congregate for dinner and announcements before splitting off to favorite activities – all before their parents get home.

Five years ago, a band of Silverton pastors, concerned for kids hanging around town after school with seemingly little to do, decided to do something. To help fill the 3-6 p.m. gap between “School’s out” and “Mom’s home,” five churches came together and in 2013, with many others and the school’s approval, formed the nonprofit, nonfaith-based Silverton Middle School After-School Activities Program known simply
as ASAP.

The project gained momentum and ASAP now enjoys partnerships with numerous organizations, businesses and private citizens who volunteer, provide funds, goods or otherwise support
the youth.

ASAP serves an average 30-40 sixth, seventh and eighth graders three afternoons a week, has a cadre of 60-plus volunteers, a nine-member board and employs a director and two part-
time assistants.

“The same rules as school apply, but you get to play way more,” seventh grader Gavin Wernette said. “It gives you quite a bit of time to get homework done and if you have nothing else to do it’s a great place to hang out with friends and get to know each other.

“There have been quite a few volunteers that have been very helpful to me, especially last year with my math that I just wasn’t getting,” Wernette said. “Just the overall people, just always willing to help with everything. If you have personal problems, like if somebody’s bullying you, they can give you advice.”

Wernette has spent a good part of his summer knocking on doors for ASAP and helping organize Community ASAP Day, the group’s all-important fundraiser on Thursday, Sept. 20. It’s geared to increase patronage to ASAP-sponsoring businesses and raise funds through an all-day prize drawing – tickets are available at Silverton Farmer’s Market and all day on Sept. 20 in front of Palace Theatre, where they’ll start drawing for several donated prizes at 6 p.m.

Tuesdays and Thursdays ASAP operates at Immanuel Lutheran Church, with the school providing transportation from the middle school. Wednesday afternoons they walk across the street to Assembly of God Church.

After a snack, the students get homework out of the way during “Power Hour,” guided by a printout the middle school generates letting each student know which assignments need attention.

“We couldn’t ask for anything more; the school’s been just fantastic,” ASAP Board Member Judy Lowery said. Many volunteers, including Lowery, are retired educators ready to help with homework questions.

After a healthy dinner there’s an array of activities kids can choose from that may include dodgeball or knitting, board games or art, to name a few.

“You hang out with friends for 2-3 hours,” Wernette said. “If you keep up your homework you earn points toward special trips like Bullwinkle’s, Silverton Arcade, bowling or a movie.”

The program costs $59,000-$60,000 a year to carry out.

“A lot of credit goes to Sue Roessler, who has just been our go-getter,” Lowery said. “She was able to get very generous grants from Oregon Community Foundation that allowed us to hire quality people
to run it.

“The businesses and nonprofits like the Elks Club have just been fantastic,” Lowery added. “Roth’s has been our premier sponsor the last few years. We are just so grateful to our small community for that kind of support.

“With everything that comes at our kids every day, we want to provide somewhere they can have some activity, tutoring or a quiet space to do their homework; get fed and just have a safe environment.”

How to help:Community ASAP Day Thursday, Sept. 20

Look for “Gold Star Sponsor” signs at Silverton businesses; shop and dine locally.

Purchase prize drawing tickets at the Farmer’s Market or all day on Sept. 20 at Palace Theatre where the drawing will be held at 6 p.m.

Tax deductible donations:
ASAP Program, 303 N Church St., Silverton, OR 97381

For more, call director Hillary Boost: 971-301-4434

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