Alton, IL – July 23, 2012 –  Thanks to help from various RiverBend area businesses and organizations, the Riverbender.com Community Center is offering an exciting afterschool program for local youth the third year in a row.

The Center’s program will be offered to area students in grades 6 through 12 from 3 to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday effective Monday, August 20. Cost is $25 per week for full care, with daily rates of $5 for those who choose the “drop-in” option. Membership to the Center is required at a rate of $20 annually for one child or $30 for multiple children per family.

Registration for the program is available at the Center during normal business hours as well as during Alton Middle School registration held at Alton High School Commons July 30 through August 3. Registration forms may be found at www.riverbender.com/communitycenter.

"Our program provides more than just a safe place for kids afterschool –  it’s an experience where they can learn and grow,” according to John Hentrich, Executive Director of the Center. “With the help of Hayner Library, we offer the chance for kids to get homework help and tutoring services as well as hang out with friends, enjoy group activities, take a music lesson, work on an art project, or compete in a trivia or game tournament complete with prizes.” 

Upon arrival to the Center students will be offered the choice of free time to play games or hang out with friends, or they can take advantage of the opportunity to do homework or read in the Center’s library which will be staffed by a certified teacher courtesy of Hayner Library. The library option rewards students after a half an hour of homework or reading with a free ticket for concessions as well as a weekly drawing for prizes. Students may choose to remain in the library for an entire hour or at 4:30 p.m. they may choose to enjoy a fun educational group activity offered until 5:30 p.m.

Thanks to volunteers and community partnerships, the Center is able to offer a wide variety of classes and workshops. Offerings include art, theater, radio broadcasting taught by students from WLCA, music classes provided by Halpin Music, workshops such as photography, video, robotics, jewelry making, duct tape crafts, tie dye, collages, fitness and nutrition, in addition to occasional special programs and speakers. Additionally, gaming tournaments and trivia competitions will be available for students to compete for prizes.

Student volunteers from area schools will once again assist in tutoring and staffing the program. The Center recruits volunteers from not only Alton High and Marquette Catholic High Schools, but college students from Principia College, SIUE, Lewis and Clark Community College and Missouri Baptist University as well. Students who wish to volunteer may apply at www.riverbender.com/communitycenter.

Both Alton Middle School and St. Mary’s Middle School will once again provide transportation from the school to the front doors of the Center. Additionally, a Center staff person will escort students walking from Ss. Peter & Paul School daily.

The Center is a 15,000 square foot facility on three levels featuring a dance floor and main stage, movie theater, internet cafe, pool tables, foosball, darts, air hockey, pinball, table tennis, pop-a-shot, Xbox, Wii, PS3, Xbox Kinect, Play Station Move, board games, art studio, music room, teen library and snack bar and concessions.

The focus of the Center is to provide youth the chance to experiment with new ideas, games, and activities like art and music and avoid at-risk behaviors and negative peer pressure.

For more information on membership and upcoming events please visit the Center's website at www.riverbender.com/communitycenter or call (618) 465-9850, ext. 212. Applications for volunteers are always accepted and appreciated. The Center's Adult Advisory Committee is also always on the lookout for members; this group helps guide and direct the Center by planning events and programming.

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