By Eileen Bailey
The Church After School Association’s after-school program is busting at the seams and to help mend the problem the organization has added another church site.
Joan Warren, director of CASA, said the loss of an existing site in east Tupelo and an increase in the need for affordable after-school care for school-age children caused the program to look for another church to house children who attend Lawhon School and overflow children from other Tupelo schools who wish to join the program.
Added to the list of six churches already involved in the program is the First Presbyterian Church, Warren said. Last year, students at Lawhon School in the CASA program, which is celebrating its 15th year of operation, went to St. Mark Methodist Church. The church announced plans to undergo renovations and that it would not longer be able to house the students in the program. So they would still have a place to go after school, children were sent to First Baptist Church for the first half of the year until an alternate site could be found.
Warren said in December the First Presbyterian Church agreed to be added to the list of churches that host more than 275 children after school. The program got under way at First Presbyterian Church at the beginning of the year.
There are currently 17 children at the site. Each of the other sites has about 44 children enrolled, which is the maximum number they can hold, Warren said.
The CASA program picks up children after school and takes them to a participating church in their area. Children who take part in the program are given supervised activities or work on homework until their parents pick them up.
CASA charges parents $66 a month per child to take part in the after-school program. Because of funds received from the United Way of Greater Lee County, the organization that serves students in the Tupelo Public School District is able to offer tuition scholarships to those who qualify.
But as the need for after-school care continues to grow, more space is needed. “We are busting at the seams and need another church, especially in the west part of town,” Warren said. “There is a large need for after-school care.”