Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

September 23, 2013

Community work

Kids Breaking Free setting up after-school literacy club with church

BY JOE OLENICK joe.olenick@lockportjournal.com
Lockport Union-Sun & Journal

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — Lockport students in need of something fun and educational to do after school are in luck, starting next month.

Kids Breaking Free Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to community enrichment and educating at-risk youth and their families, will be starting an after-school literacy club.

Jennifer D’Andrea-Terreri, the director of Kids Breaking Free, said the idea is to give kids something after school where they can to work and interact together. They can also work on their reading and writing skills as well.

“I think that’s where a lot of help is needed and we wanted to help,” D’Andrea-Terreri said.

The club is open to Lockport students from fifth to eighth grade and will be held in the fellowship hall at Christ Community Church, 140 Genesee St.

The club starts Oct. 1 and will run from 3:15 until 4:45 p.m. every Tuesday, until May 6.

D’Andrea-Terreri said the program is free and all books, materials and healthy snacks will be provided. Parents can contact the foundation at 438-KIDS or online at www.kidsbreakingfree.org for a registration form.

Club-goers can expect games, crafts and fun projects, D’Andrea-Terreri said. The kids will also be journaling their experiences and also work on a project together. The project is based on a book the club reads.

“It’ll be something they do together, they create it together,” D’Andrea-Terreri said.

Reaching out to the community is something Christ Community Church — formerly First Baptist Church — strives for, said Irene McCollum, the church’s administrative assistant.

The church could have left its corner on Genesee and Pine streets but instead chose to expand the site. It allows Christ Community the space to offer a number of community programs, both run by the church and by a third-party such as Kids Breaking Free.

“There’s a need here,” McCollum said.

Christ Community Church is located in the city’s “Impact Zone,” the area between Erie and Transit, High and Walnut streets where Lockport police have stepped up patrolling and building inspectors launched an inspection blitz.

And the Lockport City School District is known as a borderline high-needs district, with a poverty rate nearing 50 percent. The number of kids who are eligible for free or reduced meals is also nearing 50 percent.

Last year, Kids Breaking Free started a literacy club at St. Mary’s on Transit in Swormville. Held on Wednesdays, the St. Mary’s kids ended up doing a food drive based on a book they read.

And the kids were excited about it, D’Andrea-Terreri said. Making reading fun is a central goal for the literacy club.

“It was really successful,” D’Andrea-Terreri said. “We’re hoping to have the same success here.”

Organizing the literacy club has gone well, as many books and materials have been donated. D’Andrea-Terreri said there is a number of volunteers are ready to help.

“I think when you have a really good cause, people want to help,” she said.

Contact reporter Joe Olenick at 439-9222, ext. 6241, or follow him on Twitter @joeolenick.

FOR MORE INFORMATION • Contact Kids Breaking Free at 438-KIDS • Or see online at www.kidsbreakingfree.org