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After school program starts Aug. 23

An after school program in a downtown Kenmare church kicks off next Wednesday for kindergarten through sixth grade students that is designed to help them with their homework.

8/15/17 (Tue)

An after school program in a downtown Kenmare church kicks off next Wednesday for kindergarten through sixth grade students that is designed to help them with their homework.

The program is being offered by ReNew United Methodist Church and is an expansion of a program that has been in place two years, according to Pastor Joddy Meidinger.

That program was designed for students who were referred by the local public school as they had difficulty completing homework assignments.

“For a couple of years this program has been running, but this has always been under our radar,” Meidinger said. “I visited with the administration at the school and learned some kids need more work with their homework.”

The previous model was two days per week for students to get their homework done.

The five-day-per-week program will run from 3:30 in the afternoon until 6 p.m., and children’s time at ReNew will be based on parents’ work schedules.

“I envision it being like a boys and girls club,” Meidinger said. “The kids will come in and get a snack, then we’ll do some learning activities.”

According to director Jenna Johnson, the plan is to also have some volunteers to help out.

“There will be homework time and then some sort of activity that could be science, art, music or an outside game as long as the weather holds,” she said. “It will fill in nicely with the time we have.”

Johnson is perfect for this leadership role, according to Meidinger. She has a bachelor of arts degree in music from the University of Jamestown and is beginning her fifth year teaching music at the Kenmare Elementary School.


She has worked at churches in the past, having been a music worship leader and in charge of vacation Bible school.

Johnson also spent one summer as a zoo camp teacher at Roosevelt Park Zoo in Minot.

Through her job at the school, she already knows many of the kids and they are familiar with her and, her background with churches fits in well with ReNew’s style of learning.

Johnson, who said she is expecting about 30 kids in the program, has obtained a license for the after school program because of the number of kids expected.

In addition, all volunteers will receive a background check before working with the children.

According to Meidinger, criteria for selecting a director was the person had to be a teacher and had to be able to get a license for just such a program.

“It’s a good fit with her past experience,” he said. “She has taught Sunday school and has been in camp.”

Meidinger said church leadership prayed long and hard before expanding the program, but went ahead with it, in part, based on some of the comments from parents and teachers who have already had children in the program.

“The biggest feedback was kids seemed more relaxed in class and are more confident,” Meidinger said. “There’s no more homework battle and fighting with the kids until they go to bed. That makes it worth it right there.”

The cost for each child has been set at $5 per day, essentially to cover expenses, according to Meidinger.

He feels confident the after school program will help any and all K-6 students in the community who want to drop by whenever they can after school.

“ReNew Kidz is not about making little Methodists,” Meidinger said. “It’s about providing a safe and welcoming place for kids to go after school. We feel called to provide this opportunity for the children of our community. It’s one of ReNew’s mission, to be an active participant in the community and to do it for the kids.”