Montana Burack initially participated in the Park City School District Afterschool Program as a way to give her mom, Joan Meixner, some extra time to get work done. They had recently moved to town from New York and thought the Afterschool Program would be a good way for Montana to meet friends and get involved. Soon, Meixner says, the program became about much more than that.
“She didn’t want to miss it! Montana started tutoring kids - and it really became a leadership position for her. It was a chance to feel like she was impactful - and needed.”
You have likely heard about the Afterschool Program for elementary students - but PCEF and partners also help fund quality afterschool programming for 6 - 9th grades. At Ecker Hill Middle School and Treasure Mountain Jr. High, it has proven critical for many students – academically, mentally, and emotionally. The connections with trusted adults outside the academic classroom are crucial during what is often a bewildering and difficult time for students.
“It’s the extra stuff - to have the impact of having teachers outside the classroom and getting to know the kids better - it does take a village,” says Meixner. “It’s a good program; it’s well-funded and the teachers who do the program really want to be there making a difference.”
Studies show that by 6th grade, children from low-income families have 6,000 fewer hours of enrichment time compared to peers. The Afterschool Program is an important component to close that gap.
“There are 65 kids who are in a safe, loving learning environment; otherwise they might just be home on their phones,” says Dr. Wendy St. James, Assistant Principal at Ecker Hill Middle School. “They learn to interact with each other; they’re exposed to culture and new experiences. For many of the students, the Afterschool Program is likely the best part of their day.”
At the request of the Park City School District, PCEF began funding the Afterschool Program at McPolin back in 2007. This came after the Boys and Girls Club closed its doors - which left many students without a safe place to go after school. The PCSD Afterschool Program filled a huge gap in providing affordable care and academic support to kids.
Because of the support of you - our PCEF donors - the program now offers quality academic enrichment and extracurricular opportunities at all four elementary schools, EHMS, and Treasure Mountain Jr. High. It includes homework help, literacy, science exploration activities, art, exercise, and opportunities to engage with the community through a number of partnerships.
EHMS students enjoy not only the above programming, but also activities like stone sculpting, rap, poetry, and acting classes through a partnership with the Egyptian Theatre. Other partnerships include EATS Park City, Youth Sports Alliance, and Basin Recreation.
“Park City is a community where there are a lot of working parents, and to have a safe, fun space for your kids to go to, even up to an older age - it really is nice that the community has decided this is important,“ says Meixner.
Park City Municipal has been providing support to the Afterschool Program for a number of years. “Raising a family in Park City offers unlimited possibilities, but it’s not easy,” says Mayor Andy Beerman. “The Afterschool Program provides essential support for working parents at an affordable price. As the City strives to work with community partners on issues of social equity, it's great to partner with PCEF, who has been in this space for 30 years.”
Now - Montana is part of the Afterschool Program at TMJH, where she joined the art and baking clubs.
“If someone said to me, ‘we can’t fund Afterschool anymore,’ I would GO FIND that money,” said Meixner. “To me, if I had to prioritize, it would be in my top 5. It’s important! To have safe spaces for kids, and this [Afterschool Program] provides that. To me, it’s just a positive for the community.“
YOUR AFTERSCHOOL IMPACT
500 students each year are reached by the Afterschool Program, and this year, PCEF donors will invest more than $250,000 to support scholarships and key academic initiatives within the program - things like Afterschool STEM and intensive reading interventions.
Since its inception, countless students have been impacted by PCEF donors providing more than $1,500,000 for the Afterschool Program. Your contributions make Afterschool affordable for all Park City families. Access to safe instruction and support beyond the final bell will truly have a positive impact on Park City students for the rest of their lives! We invite you to DONATE HERE.
Find out more about PCEF donor support of the Afterschool Program