FALL RIVER: A group of women is gauging the communities interest in the creation of an After School Program that will be based out of St. Thomas Anglican Church.
Creative Minds After School Program, a Recreational After School Program, would be operated by Sarah MacDonell; Stevie Cooper; and Lynne Cooper for children attending Holland Road and Ash Lee Jefferson Elementary Schools.
“Watching the community grow exponentially, we have recognized the need for additional recreational programs for the local children to attend, during their free hours after school, until it is time to go home,” said Lynne Cooper.
“To this end, It is our plan to offer our children and their friends a safe, fun and stress-free environment where they can spend their after-school time.”
Cooper said the three are not professional educators, but simply good, kind, people with a lot of nifty ideas, some energy, and a vision.
Creative Minds After School have secured a comfortable space, acquired appropriate staff with RCMP Clearances, First Aid/CPR trained staff, insurance and all other requirements needed to provide a secure space for our upcoming generation to grow in.
The space will be rented at St Thomas Anglican Church, 3534 Highway #2, in Fall River, and will have room for 45 children beginning in September for the 2023/24 School Year. There is a bus stop at the bottom of Howe Avenue, where staff will meet and escort the children up the adjacent lane leading to the church.
Cooper said they plan to present a wide range of artistic media to encourage children to find their means of expression through Art, Music, and Theatre.
“They may paint and sculp and make things,” she said. “There will be dance parties with disco lights….and More.
“We even plan to look at theatric presentation in its varied forms. Comedies and Dramas, Puppet Shows, Shadow theatre, etc. Maybe even Stand Up. Theatre will be looked at from all angles.”
She said their plan is to just get the kids involved in whatever way they are most comfortable. The plays will just be to amuse ourselves.
“We are not preparing anyone to be a future star, but wouldn’t it be nice if some are inspired to further explore a path we show them,” said Cooper.
The days will have structure, but their hope is to keep the entire program free flowing and see where the kids’ interests will lead us.
“It’s their time to shine,” she said.
The three said they are considering inviting an occasional guest for presentations. Maybe a local artisan would like to lend time to teach some budding artists their craft or techniques.
“Perhaps a child will have a hobby or a family activity they can share with the group. Maybe a parent out there makes Jewelry, or Flip Flop Shoes, or plays a Guitar, and the group wants to learn about it,” she said. “Of course, we will ensure any outside guests are vetted through the RCMP. Safety will be paramount in all we do.”
Cooper said in a long-term vision, they would like to explore ways to have local seniors involved with the children.
“It would be amazing if the two generations could spend more time together,” said Cooper. “I can guarantee, as a grandmother, I feel ten years younger now than I did 10 years ago. I owe it to my granddaughter and her friends, who have put a glittering shine on my life.
“I never thought I would be dancing to Beyonce and Taylor Swift, yet here I stand.”
The entire Creative Minds After School program will be loosely structured, hopefully with enough options to satisfy the varied interests of our young participants.
“Basically, we want to provide an environment where the children will be safe, have fun and feel free to be whoever they are meant to be,” said Cooper
The three are planning a soft opening of May 25 for the Creative Minds After School Program for 25 children.
Cooper said anyone interested in signing up can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. They also encourage folks to like their Facebook page by searching for Creative Minds After School Program.