Every afternoon, Tessa Frederick helps keep a gym full of students active, leading a program unique to STRIVE Prep Ruby Hill. The Southwest Denver school is offering community-focused and tuition-free care centered around students and exposing them to a variety of opportunities and experiences before and after school.
"We know play and physical activity are vital to a child's development. Our goal is to send kids home tired every day so they get home they can go straight to bed, and they've had a great afternoon," said Frederick.
It's free of charge thanks to several Colorado grants, including those from the Colorado Department of Education and the Colorado Health Foundation.
"Through our own licensing, rather than a third-party program we are able to expand hours, because what families said they needed was care until about 6pm, FIVE days a week," said Frederick.
In a recent economic study, the community impact of the Ruby Hill before and after-school program is a net impact of $500,000 savings for families just on tuition alone. This does not include additional earning opportunities for families who are able to utilize the time during which their child(ren) are at the program.
Parents like Liliana Diaz say the program fills a crucial need at home. "I get a chance for my kids to be more active, by not just studying or reading but physical activities
She's also observed her son Kayden develop his leadership skills as a result of attending. "Definitely a leader, ever since kindergarten, first, second, third, fourth, fifth, teachers are in love because he likes to help others."
"I've learned that I like playing with the new materials that we get to express how I feel with these things," said Diaz.
Dulce Ortega, a fifth grader, says she's similarly grateful it allows her family to go to work and know she's taken care of. "It helps my mom a lot to know that we're here, and we're safe, and she doesn't really have to worry and can do her job," said Ortega.
To learn more or get involved, click here: https://striveprep.org/rubyhill/
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