Ocean City Today
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Joint afterschool program starts in January

By Brian Gilliland | Nov 30, 2017

(Dec. 1, 2017) An effort to provide an afterschool program for at-risk youth in Pocomoke City is set to launch in January, after a suitable coordinator is found.

Before Thanksgiving, the Worcester County Commissioners approved an idea proposed by Commissioner Merrill Lockfaw to fund a program at Pocomoke Middle School with the help of the Worcester County Board of Education.

“I got to talking with the board of education and Lou [Taylor, superintendent] and we saw the great need at the south end of the county,” Lockfaw said of how the idea came to be.

A few meetings later, and the program became more defined.

The idea is for an “after-afterschool” program. Matt Record, principal of Pocomoke Middle School, said the school’s normal afterschool activities run from about 3:30 p.m. until 5:30 p.m. The new offering would pick up after that, from 5:30 until 7:30 p.m., he said.

“It’s a great opportunity for kids regardless of their home situation or income,” Record said. “We’ll offer mentoring, sportsmanship and leadership opportunities that are so important at this age.”

The programs will be sports-based, he explained, and is composed of three parts. The first is a 10-week basketball program, followed by 10 weeks of soccer and field hockey. The remaining eight weeks of the school year, the activities will be up to the kids.

“The nice thing about middle school kids is they tell you what they want,” Record said.

Some teens from the high school might find mentoring or coaching opportunities at the program, under the guidance of the yet-to-be-hired coordinator.

“It’s part-time, about 20 hours per week and should be posted by the end of this week,” Record said of the vacancy.

Participants need not necessarily love sports to be involved, but it helps.

“Participation is on a number of different levels. If someone is willing to learn, we’ll be willing to teach. This is a learning opportunity — there are not tryouts, no trophies and no one gets cut from the team,” he said. “Pocomoke has waited a long time for this opportunity.”

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