Bracing for Summer Break


As the final school bell rings for Vigo County schools today, kids rush into summer vacation.

But for many local kids, that means finding a replacement for the resources schools provide.

The 14th and Chestnut Community Center looks a little disheveled this week. That’s because there’s plenty of preparation under way for the summer months.

“We’ve got some new carpet going in, we’re redecorating all the rooms, to make it just a fun enjoyable place to be this summer,” Bill Felts executive director said.

The center is used to seeing around 70 kids a day during the school year, but with all school activity coming to an end…

“We get them all because those things don’t exist, so in the summer it jumps up between 90 to 100 kids most days,” Felts said.

Which means having as many hands on deck as possible.

Right now the center looks a little like an unfinished jigsaw puzzle, but extra summer staff will help put all the pieces back in place, creating the picture of a beach themed getaway come Monday.

“I thought it would a good experience to come here and I loved working with the children so I just stayed,” employee Brook Suddeth said.

Suddeth is an Indiana State University senior. This is her 3rd year working at the center.

She’s a part of the usual 7 member staff, but this summer that number increases to 20 members.

“A lot of us rely on helping each other out and communicating with each other is great because we’re with each other all week without the kids so that’s when we really get to know each other,” she said.

Staff members will not only maintain the structure of the center’s activities, but inspire kids to a brighter future.

“We really try to show them that there’s a good way to live, to get out here and get to work and get your education and they really fly and we’ve had some great successes with our kids,” Felts said.

 The center relies entirely on donations from the community, churches and businesses. Donations are always something the center is looking for. This summer they especially need food and clothes or anything you would buy your children.

In order to sign up for the summer program, parents just need to go in and fill out some paperwork. Your child must be enrolling in kindergarten or older. The summer program begins Monday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and wraps up the first week of August. 

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