posted May 17, 2005

Community Foundation Grant Supports CASA

A grant from the Youth Advisory Committee of the Community Foundation of the Holland/Zeeland Area will help add some intrigue this summer to the Children's After School Achievement (CASA) program at Hope College as it works with area children.

The $8,350 grant will help underwrite "Spine-Tingling Mysteries: A Thrilling Way to Learn," which will be featured throughout CASA's summer program, running Monday, June 20, through Thursday, July 28.

The CASA program, a community organization housed at Hope, works with at-risk second through fifth grade students, focusing on academic and cultural enrichment. The program, which runs year-round, is intended to improve their academic performance and help them develop healthy, productive lifestyles.

CASA's students meet after school twice per week in one-on-one sessions with volunteer tutors throughout the school year, and in the mornings during a six-week summer session. The academic-year and summer programs serve Holland and West Ottawa students. A record-number 118 students participated in the 2004-05 school-year program, and 105 are anticipated for the forthcoming summer session.

The "Spine-Tingling Mysteries: A Thrilling Way to Learn" theme will emphasize discovery in a variety of subject areas through classroom projects and visits to the Outdoor Discovery Center, the Holland Area Arts Council, Hope Summer Repertory Theatre and the Herrick District Library. A mystery scavenger hunt will incorporate science, reading and problem solving, ending with a presentation by Detective David Blakely of the Ottawa County Sheriff's Department. Also featured will be a musical mystery presentation by Bill Vits, who is a percussionist with the Grand Rapids Symphony.

Established in 1987 by Marge Rivera Bermann and Latin Americans United for Progress (LAUP), CASA was originally housed at First United Methodist Church. The program moved to Graves Hall at Hope College in 1989. CASA's executive director is Fonda Green and program director is Bob Boersma.