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Ormond Beach Observer Monday, Jul. 15, 2013 5 years ago

Oasis Church preps for Kidz Town After School program, in August

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Kidz Town After School will bus students in from three area elementary schools.

BY JARED MAULDIN | STAFF WRITER

As Angie Oldham turns on the lights to the large, quiet multipurpose room at Oasis Church, it's hard not to think about the space's eventual transformation.

Though currently empty and still, the room is intricately decorated with large, colorful rectangles and squares on a stage, round balls hanging from the ceiling, theater lights. And it's only a matter of time before it's filled with laughter and activity.

Oldham, along with other leaders at Oasis Church, are preparing to turn what used to be a Sunday-only offering into an after-school program for students kindergarten through fifth grade.

The Kidztown After School program will launch in August.

With 20-plus years in the Volusia County school system under her belt, as well as previous experience as director of another after-school program, Oldham will assume leadership of the new program at Oasis.

“After-school kids really need a safe environment to go, but somewhere they can be nurtured and a place to grow," Oldham said.

She envisions more focused homework help at her program, plus activities based on children's needs. Learning will be more one-on-one than what’s typical of after-school programs, too, she says.

Kidztown workers will also be church volunteers, some of whom are current and retired educators.

Oldham envisions Kidztown After School as a place where students can identify and set goals for themselves. That's why she plans to offer cheerleading, music, karate and other activities, based on student requests.

“I'll (possibly) have a cheerleading coach come for the girls," Oldham said. "That’s something (parents) maybe can’t afford or have time (for)."

One main feature of the program will allow professionals in law enforcement, medicine and other fields to come speak to the students. Oldham says the program will strive to teach good values to help students grow.

While the after-school program is based at a church, though, Oldham says the focus will not be on spirituality.

“You don’t have to be a church-goer," she said. "You don’t have to believe in the same things I believe in. ... We want (kids) to be good people, and I think we are able to do that with our mentors and teachers here at Oasis.”

That message is echoed by Kaleb Scharmahorn, executive pastor at Oasis.

“"We're wanting to offer a program that meets needs, whether you go to church or not,” he said. “Our goal is to build better families.”

To prepare for the program, Oasis Church will need to complete an Association of Christian Schools International certification, as well as undergo a “level two” background screening. Participating students will be bussed in from Pathways, Pine Trail and Tomoka elementary schools.

Full- and part-time options will be available, with costs still to be determined. Discounts will be given to siblings.

"Its a way for Oasis Church to give back to the community,” Scharmahorn said.

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