Petersburg after-school program provides safe environment for st - NBC12.com - Richmond, VA News

Petersburg after-school program provides safe environment for students

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PETERSBURG, VA (WWBT) -

There's a push in Petersburg to get students off the streets and involved in after-school programs.

As the new school year approaches, the city says now is the time for parents to register their children.

"This program is needed because a lot of students - their parents work late and it provides a safe place for them to go," said Derrick Sydnor for the Petersburg Dept. of Parks and Leisure.

The after school recreation program is for students in grades three through eight. The program was developed by the city's Department of Parks and Leisure.

"These kids come to get free tutoring assistance and also a free meal," said Sydnor.

The program runs from September 10 through June 7, between 3:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. Transportation is provided.

The program is a collaboration - not only involving the city, but several faith-based organizations. First Baptist Church is one of those organizations.

"The first thing they're going to receive is love, because every child that come here, we try to express the importance of feeling loved," said Rev. Betty Jackson.

Jackson said, under the program, students can participate in sport activities, meet with tutors, and socialize with peers in a friendly environment.

"First Baptist has a zero-tolerance for bullying for adults and children, and we want our families to know this is a safe environment," said Jackson. "The streets have nothing for them, but the church and the faith-based community has so much, because there's love here, there's opportunity here, there's growth here."

And the program doesn't cost parents a dime - it's free.

If you're interested in finding out more about the after school program call the Petersburg Department of Parks and Leisure at 733-2394.

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