Gateway: Living

CISP summer program keeps kids active, academically sharp

Sixth-grader DayShawn Kienow, left, and seventh-grader Gabriel DeVoe peel apples to make an apple cheddar breakfast sandwich as part of Communities in Schools of Peninsula’s summer activity program.
Sixth-grader DayShawn Kienow, left, and seventh-grader Gabriel DeVoe peel apples to make an apple cheddar breakfast sandwich as part of Communities in Schools of Peninsula’s summer activity program. Special to the Gateway

Communities In Schools of Peninsula had a summer activity program at Key Peninsula Middle School initiated by CISP site coordinator Wendy Wojtanowicz.

It ran from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. every Wednesday and was supported by grants from the Angel Guild and the KP Partnership for a Healthy Community. Transportation was provided by KP Bus Connects.

The goal was to provide students with experiences they might not otherwise have: learning to cook, practice yoga and play sports such as basketball, football and even lacrosse.

“Without this summer program my friend count would be (less),” asserted seventh-grader Gabriel DeVoe. “This is my time to shine, and my chance to make friends.”

In cooking class taught by CISP volunteer Ann Marie Ugles, students learned about food resources in their local community from food banks, finding local farm fresh food, and growing their own vegetables and herbs. They learned to cook using a “nothing goes to waste” method. Even peelings from fruit and veggies were saved to make soup stock. Students prepared their own lunches and desserts and learned to make healthy, economic meals they had fun preparing and eating.

“I like the summer program because I was in Cooking during the year and had the best cooking teacher,” declared seventh-grader Nick Adams. “Ann Marie and Mrs. Wendy always are the best!”

Cody Olson, a Peninsula High School graduate and now a senior at Grand Canyon University, taught skills in basketball, football and Cody’s favorite sport, lacrosse, which he plays for the GCU Lopes, who have won national titles. He showed kids all it takes to play a sport is effort, practice and a can-do attitude.

“I like the Summer Activities because I can stay active and not stay at home, and I make new friends,” said seventh-grader Jaiden Reinhart.

Said classmate Daniel VanderBank, “I really like the summer program cause I love cooking and yoga is pretty good exercise.”

Students enjoyed hour-long yoga classes taught by Free to Be Me Yoga instructor Mackenzie Wojtanowicz, learning yoga poses, practicing breathing and focus techniques.

“The artist in all was brought out as we made stepping stones, trivets from cork, put together herb gardens and painted canvas,” said Wendy Wojtanowicz. “Academics were also important. Each student worked to keep their academic skills sharp by using school computers, for which each student had a program developed to meet their academic needs.”

KPMS Assistant Prinicpal Andrea Bowmen and Wojtanowicz set up programs for each student focused on areas needed to keep up and improve on academics; they simply logged on for individual study with an adult if they needed encouragement or help.

We have to wait for next year to have another go at this treasured activity.

Contact CISP’s Cathy Rich at 253-884-5733 for data on a current program for K through fourth-graders at Vaughn Elementary.

Hugh McMillan is a longtime contributing writer for the Gateway. He can be reached at hmcmnp1000@centurytel.net.

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