A grant from the Community Foundation of the Holland/Zeeland Area will support "Hand in Hand: Promoting Harmony in the Community" for the Children's After School Achievement (CASA) Program at Hope College as it works with elementary-age students during the 1998-99 school year.
The program's goal is to demonstrate that people
with different backgrounds and abilities can give much to
one another, said Bob Boersma, program director with CASA,
who will be responsible for implementing the year-long
project. "We want to emphasize the idea that we can all
work together and cooperate," Boersma said.
CASA runs year-round, providing substance abuse
prevention, cultural awareness, academic and career
experiences to at-risk kindergarten through fifth grade
students. The program is intended to improve the students'
academic performance and help them develop healthy,
productive lifestyles. CASA's students meet after school
twice per week for two hours per session throughout the
school year, and in the mornings during the six-week summer
The program's 1998-99 school year will begin in
mid-September. Approximately 90 students from the Holland
area will be participating.
The $5,000 grant will help CASA blend the "Hand in
Hand" program into its on-going work. CASA plans to acquire
and use books and videos that focus on various kinds of
diversity; provide computer experiences regarding diversity,
such as having the children produce word games or create
banners in different languages; develop relevant art
experiences; and provide ethnically-themed snacks. Boersma
also hopes to involve some of the children's parents or
guardians in CASA's after-school sessions, and noted that
the program may also develop a related workshop for them as
Established by Marge Rivera in 1987, CASA was
originally administered by Latin Americans United for
Progress (LAUP) and housed at First United Methodist Church.
The program moved to the college in 1989, and is housed on
the ground level of Graves Hall.