CSUF’s after-school program benefits youth

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The After School Education and Safety (ASES) Program between Cal State Fullerton’s Center for Internships and Community Engagement (CICE) and the Buena Park School District is providing a priceless experience for all those involved.

The program is a collaborative effort between CSUF and the school district. ASES guides nearly 600 second to eighth graders in Buena Park. Each child receives individualized attention from staff members.

There are four primary components to ASES: a reading and comprehension curriculum, homework assistance and CATCH (Coordinated Approach to Child Health), a curriculum that offers physical and social development through physical activities. In addition, the youth take part in nonacademic activities such as a variety of clubs that include the environment, music and sports.

A group of students from CSUF, in addition to those from other California State Universities and community colleges, provide the services.

Dawn Macy, associate director at the CICE, notes the training that the CSUF students go through when taking part in tutoring and mentoring.

“Our students who work in the program receive intensive and renewed ongoing training in areas such as classroom management, curriculum design and implementation, creating and running interest clubs for children and communication,” said Macy in an email. “For our students who utilize the ASES program as an academic internship or service learning placement are provided with hands-on experiences and direct supervision from program staff.”

Funding for the program, that was been running for five years, was renewed for the current academic year with a $432,879 school district contract. The Buena Park School District receives funding through Proposition 49, which was approved in 2002.

The proposition amended California Education Code 8482 to expand and rename the former Before and After School Learning and Safe Neighborhood Partnerships Program. The ASES Program funds the creation of local after-school education and enrichment programs.

The funding is designed to maintain existing before and after-school program funding and provide eligibility to all elementary and middle schools that submit quality applications throughout California.

Three lead students look over two schools each.

Sabrina Pham, 23, a biochemistry major, said this program puts the community of CSUF in a good light.

“It makes our campus say that we do enjoy helping other students, like guide them and not do bad things,” she said.

The Buena Park schools participating are Gordon H. Beatty Elementary, Arthur F. Corey Elementary, Carl E. Gilbert Elementary, Mabel L. Pendleton Elementary, James A. Whitaker Elementary and Buena Park Junior High.

Macy also said the program is very beneficial to its participants.

“The students who participate consistently make more improvement on their state standardized tests than students in the same district that do not,” Macy said.

Eric Doan, 22, a biochemistry major, said ASES is a good alternative for children who are not living an active and positive lifestyle.

“Also, it keeps the kids interactive in school,” said Doan. “Nowadays, most kids are always playing games, they’re always staying home … doing things that are not active.”

CSUF’s CICE offers Titans the opportunity to integrate academics with work experience prior to earning a degree. It also has partnerships with companies, government agencies and nonprofit organizations that connect the CSUF faculty and students to communities around Orange County.

CICE creates links between higher education, professional offices and community organizations. The center’s website states that it is committed to creating “experiences in and out of the classroom, (so that) students develop the habit of intellectual inquiry, prepare for challenging professions, strengthen relationships to their communities and contribute productively to society.”

Macy said she feels that the most gratifying part of the ASES program is the growth of the working students in it.

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