Scranton – Dignitaries from the Scranton Area Foundation recently toured Weston Field as part of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Northeastern Pennsylvania’s Park It Program. The Foundation awarded the Club a $10,000 grant to support this program.
Over the years The Boys & Girls Clubs of NEPA has recognized there are no consistent comprehensive summer programs available to children and families who cannot access and afford it. Therefore, in 2003 The Club implemented the Park It Program, which this year was offered free of charge directly on three different Scranton School District or City of Scranton locations. The other two sites are: Whittier Elementary and West Scranton High School.
What makes this program unique to other summer programs is that it is free of charge, and is located in the neighborhoods where the children reside. Therefore, it is very affordable, and lack of transportation is not an issue for families. This program is our way of bringing the Club to neighborhoods and children who need it most.
Through the Park It Program, children become involved in structured programs offered during the summer months, such as playing a variety of sports-related activities, entertaining in board games, making arts and crafts, and enjoying a nutritional morning snack and an afternoon lunch. All of the activities that take place are geared at keeping children busy during the summer months so they are not home alone or wandering the streets possibly getting into trouble.
According to Tricia DiBiasi Thomas, Club executive director, “We feel it is very important to keep our local community children safe, occupied and off the streets during the summer months when school is not in session. With the current economy there is a strong need for a free and easily accessible summer program for children residing in Scranton. Thanks to the generous grant from the Scranton Area Foundation and our other funders, the Park It Program celebrates another successful summer of serving 257 children.”
Other funders include: United Way of Lackawanna and Wayne Counties, City of Scranton’s Office of Community and Economic Development and an anonymous donor.
At the Park It Program tour of Weston Field are (l-r) front row Club members Kiera Bennett, Christian Rodriguez, Madison Hunt and Bryan Rodriguez. Back row are (l-r) Cathy Fitzpatrick, Scranton Area Foundation administrative assistant / donor services & communications associate; Jenny Blanchard, Scranton Area Foundation director of philanthropy; Tricia DiBiasi Thomas, Club executive director; and Cris Toraldo, Park It Program teacher.