East Hawaii News

UPDATE: Waiakea Intermediate Receives $45,000 R.E.A.C.H. Grant

December 3, 2013, 2:25 PM HST
* Updated December 4, 5:04 PM
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***Updated at 4:55 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 4.***

Lt. Gov. Shan Tsutsui today presented Waiakea Intermediate School Principal Lisa Souza with a $45,000 check to boost the school’s after-school program offerings.

The funding was a grant from R.E.A.C.H., an initiative spearheaded by Tsutsui to establish an organizational framework to expand after-school learning opportunities at public middle and intermediate schools.

“We’re excited to have Waiakea Intermediate School as part of our pilot program for R.E.A.C.H. The school has demonstrated its ability to create a healthy learning environment in a variety of activities, and we’re happy that we will be able to expand on its existing program, increasing positive outcomes for more students,” Tsutsui said.

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“The intermediate/middle school years are a critical time for students, and it’s important that we keep them engaged and excited about learning,” Tsutsui said. “They have gone too long without a comprehensive after-school program, and that’s why it was a priority for us to launch this initiative.”

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Souza said the grant will allow the school to offer a wider variety of clubs and activities. Those currently provided include involve performing arts, cooking and fitness clubs.

Education officials have said the focus of after-school programs in Hawaii has been mostly on elementary and high school students, and R.E.A.C.H. is designed to expand those opportunities for middle-school students.

Four more schools are still to be named as taking part in the pilot program, which will officially get underway in January.

Posted at 2:25 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 3:

Waiakea Intermediate School is among five Hawaii schools selected to participate in a pilot program designed to create after-school programs for students in grades 6 through 8.

A formal announcement will be made at the school’s cafeteria at 2 p.m. Wednesday by Lt. Gov. Shan Tsutsui, who is spearheading the initiative known as R.E.A.C.H., which stands for Resources for Enrichment, Athletics, Culture and Health.

Waiakea Intermediate is the only Big Island school to be included in the pilot program. The names of the other four schools have not been released.

According to the program’s website, effective after-school programs can provide both educational and social benefits to not only students but also the community.

However, while there are currently after-school programs for elementary and high school students, there currently is no comprehensive equivalent for those at the intermediate/middle-school level.

R.E.A.C.H. aims to use a community-based approach to tap into available state and federal funding while partnering with schools, parents and the private sector for additional support.

As its name implies, the programs offered will involve three general categories – academic enrichment, arts and culture, and athletics.

The effort has already involved several fundraising events held on Oahu.

A non-profit organization called REACH Out Hawaii has been formed to guide the program. University of Hawaii Chancellor Tom Apple serves as the president of its board of directors.

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