BLAST! program warrants support

Since 1999, Butler’s Learning After School Time has encouraged and assisted students in the program to achieve success in school. The program offers theme-based enrichment classes, open computer lab time and physical education programs, in addition to providing an environment conducive to homework completion, reading and math activities.

In addition to the work of dedicated teachers and paraeducators, BLAST! has seen support from numerous local agencies that help provide programming, including Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, THRIVE, Webster County Public Health and Webster County Extension. Foster Grandparents and RSVP volunteers also assist.

For the past 10 years, BLAST! has been funded largely through a 21st Century Learning Center Grant.

Unfortunately, that funding will expire after the conclusion of the 2012-2013 school year this summer.

Rather than letting this worthy program fall by the wayside, organizers have decided to continue despite the loss of funds. Henceforth, families of students who participate in BLAST! will be obliged to pay a fee based on a sliding scale.

These fees are envisioned to cover half of the program’s $100,000 budget. The remainder will be covered through fundraisers and community contributions.

In the past, area civic organizations and service clubs, including the Fort Dodge Noon Kiwanis and the Fort Dodge Noon Rotary Club, have stepped up to support BLAST!

We urge these groups, and others, to continue their efforts. It is our sincere hope that, with the strength of community support, BLAST! will continue to fulfill its worthy goal.