posted August 18, 1998

Community Foundation Supports CASA Diversity Program

 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
  session.
          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
  well.
          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.