Child care with a difference

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREThe top 10 theme park moments of 2019 Principal Les Mazon said the program allows his school, which has 750 students, to “continue serving the community.’ “I think, in our community, parents are very conscientious of where their kids are at. And middle-schoolers still need to be supervised a majority of the time,’ he said. The nonprofit Stone Soup Child Care Programs operates the Teen Soup program at Los Nietos Middle and also runs two other after-school programs in the Los Nietos School District at Nelson and Rancho Santa Gertrudes elementary schools. The success of the two elementary school programs prompted parents to request a similar program for middle school students, officials said. The name Stone Soup comes from a children’s tale about three starving soldiers who convince a village to help them make soup, officials said. The soldiers contributed a pot and a stone and each villager contributed a food item, and everyone was able to eat. Stone Soup President Judith Brandlin said schools only have to provide the facility. The nonprofit group seeks out grants to help with operating costs and charges families an affordable fee based on state income guidelines. Working parents in the unincorporated Los Nietos area now have access to low-cost day care especially designed for middle school students. Los Nietos Middle School is offering after-school care in a structured program that includes homework help, sports, field trips and enrichment programs from the time classes are dismissed until 6 p.m. Parents pay $111 a month per child, or $191 per family. Recent reports show some parents pay up to 44 percent of their income in child care. Sixth-grader Fabian Velasco, 11, one of eight students in the Teen Soup program, said he gets his homework done before his mother picks him up at about 5 p.m., freeing up his evenings for other things. “If I didn’t (have the program), I’d be at home and there are too many things there to distract me from my homework,’ he said. Parents interested in enrolling their middle school students can pick up registration packets at the district’s main office, or by calling (562) 692-7935. “For families, this is a safe place for their children to go that has tons of games and things to do,’ said Cynthia Balderrama , Teen Soup’s regional middle school coordinator. “Some of our kids are really high-risk and easily vulnerable to outside elements. But I’ve seen a lot of improvement in this program. It’s done a lot of good.’ — Tracy Garcia can be reached at (562) 698-0955, Ext. 3051, or by e-mail at [email protected] 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img

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