When Tiffany Pacey, fourth grade teacher at Roosevelt Elementary, noticed some of the school's students sticking around after class, she wondered why they were not going home.
"After school, we had the same kids hang out and they appeared to have nowhere to go and nothing to do," Pacey said.
At a time when many students participate in extracurricular activities, these children told Pacey they couldn't do sports, ballet, gymnastics, etc.
"We have some kids — a certain percentage — that don't have opportunities like some kids," Pacey said. "...There are scholarships for those things, but sometimes kids don't have the transportation."
Wanting to give the students the chance to be involved in activities, Pacey went to her alma mater, Central Christian College of Kansas.
"I was actually the very first teacher to graduate from their teacher education program," Pacey said.
In speaking with Teacher Education Department Chair Cathy Brown, Pacey learned funds were available to give the students something constructive to do after school.
"We were happy to get some money from a generous donor in town so we shared some of that with Roosevelt," Brown said.
Beginning in November, Roosevelt Elementary After-School Experience sessions have been held weekly, thanks in part to the donation from CCCK.
Each week, approximately 25 third through fifth grade students join in the after-school activities.
"There's a lot of kids who want to be in it," Pacey said. "...But we can't physically do it for every kid."
The activities, which center around a monthly theme, are led by a handful of volunteers and one paid helper.
"There's a lot of planning and a lot of organizing that goes into it," Pacey said.
In November, a STEAM theme led the students to work with dry ice. In December, they were shown arts and crafts skills so they could make gifts for family and friends.
"They're really enjoying it. I think they're gaining some really good experiences and relationships," Pacey said.
January's theme — baking — includes more than learning how to follow a recipe.
"We're teaching them how to use a knife, kitchen safety, cleanliness and table manners," Pacey said.
Many of basics taught in the sessions are new to the students. One in particular, Pacey recalled, was excited to learn how to crack an egg.
"Every week, I hear a child say, 'I've never done that before,'" Pacey said.
February's theme will be video production while March is set aside for coding, game design and robotics activities.
In April, members of several of CCCK's athletic teams — including baseball, volleyball, wrestling and soccer — will hold mock clinics for the Roosevelt students.
"The kids are loving it and we were just really happy that we were given some money that we could share with other people," Brown said. "Roosevelt has a good thing going on over there ... (the students) are all learning even though they don't realize they're learning."
To learn more about supporting academic programs through Foundation of Central Christian College of Kansas, go to www.ccckfoundation.org or call 620-504-3000.
Contact Patricia Middleton by email at email@example.com or follow her stories on Twitter at @MiddleSentinel.