WYTHEVILLE, Va. – Thanks to a new grant secured through the Wythe-Bland Foundation, the Wythe County Parks & Recreation Department will be launching a pilot afterschool program at Sheffey Elementary School this coming year.

Project leaders say they can accept up to 40 participants in the afterschool program on a first to sign up basis. The three days per week program is slated to begin immediately following the end of the school day and will lasting until 6 p.m. Lasting 12 weeks, the program will place an emphasis upon health and nutrition education through fun activities and games.

“Sheffey Elementary School was selected due to alarming health statistics among the student population,” said Kevin Williams, director of Parks & Recreation for Wythe County.

“Students just aren’t getting the level of exercise they need to be getting – not just here in Wythe County, but across the nation. We hope that this program will instill healthy habits that will go with that child for a lifetime,” added Williams.

If successful, regional leaders may look at extending the program to other schools in the county.

The afterschool program will utilize the newly renovated space of the Sheffey Elementary School’s enhanced facilities.

Supervisor Coy McRoberts, who lobbied for the building improvements said he is happy to see the facility put to good use, stating, “This program will be good for the working families of the community and I’m happy to finally see it implemented.”

According to Jeremy T.K. Farley, Wythe County’s grant coordinator, the pilot program has been a dream of several individuals in the healthcare community.

“This project is a joint endeavor, made possible by the work of several agencies and individuals,” said Farley, who went on to express his gratitude to the Wythe-Bland Foundation for offering financial assistance in launching the program.

County officials say that students will be given information regarding the project next month and that the free program will begin in February of 2015.

In the meantime, the parks and recreation department is seeking a part-time director for the afterschool program. The right candidate will be expected to manage and supervise the afterschool program, facilitate activities to achieve program goals and ensure the safety and security of students, staff, and school property during the after school program.

In addition to seeking a part-time director, county leaders are also reaching out to community volunteers, ages 16 and older, who wish to assist in facilitating the program.

Individuals interested in serving as program director or as a volunteer are encouraged to contact Kevin Williams, 276-223-4519 or rkwilliams@wytheco.org.

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