After school programs lacking in City, officials say

There is a need for after school programs in Red Deer, say members with the Crime Prevention Advisory Committee.

During their annual presentation to City council, Terry Lee Ropchan, chair of CPAC stated there is a need for this type of programming in the City.

“There’s not a lot for kids to do in the City that is free or low cost and organized,” she said. “There is a gap in this area.”

She added schools in Red Deer need to take note and help fill this gap.

“Once we really started looking at this issue we found there really is not a lot out there once the schools close and the kids go home,” said Ropchan. “No schools were offering an after school program.

“It’s more the 10 to 15 and 16-year-olds that are really struggling with things to do.”

She added there are more activities to choose from if youth want to partake in sports.

“But not all kids want to do that,” said Ropchan. “Some want to take guitar or drama or draw and there just isn’t that option free of charge or at low cost.”

She added closing this gap is still a ways away.

“It’s a step by step process,” said Ropchan. “There are a few more things for children to get involved in that weren’t available in the recent past. One of the schools in Glendale is offering an after school program and there are a couple of other organized activities going on in the City, but there is still a gap that needs to be filled.”

Meanwhile, changing the City’s curfew time for youth under the age of 16 is still on the table, said Ropchan.

Currently, the City’s curfew bylaw is in effect from 1 a.m. to 6 a.m. But members of the CPAC would like to see the curfew changed to midnight to 6 a.m.

“We decided on the time change after three months of discussion and debate and what happened was we realized when we are asking kids to be home at a certain time we need to make sure we aren’t making them criminals by making that time too early,” said Ropchan. “According to the bus schedules it would allow the youth enough time to get home.”

At the moment, the curfew bylaw is being reviewed by the City’s inspections and licensing department.

It is expected to come back to council sometime next year.

efawcett@reddeerexpress.com

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