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Kids S.P.A.C.E. Keeps Lights on for Rye Students

RYE, N.Y. – The relationship Lauren Collins has with the children who spend their afternoons at Osborn School is part teacher, part babysitter, part aunt and all-loving.

“If you’re a school teacher you know a child for a year, you meet his parents a couple of times a year,” said Collins, the director of Rye’s Kids S.P.A.C.E. “Their parents walk through our doors every single night. We really get very involved with our families. We’ve watched people have babies and we’ve been here long enough that the babies have come to our program.”

Kids S.P.A.C.E.  – School-based Program, Activity, Care and Enrichment – is a non-profit organization offering before and after-school and after-kindergarten care. There are about 100 families who utilize the program, which is held at Osborn School. After school, there’s an average of 40 students in the program. Kids S.P.A.C.E. provides transportation form each elementary school to Osborn and the students are given a healthy snack and homework help every day. There are also special activities available for the kids to take part in.

“Most of them are here three hours a day, five days a week,” said Collins. “They eat together, they play together, they do their homework together. They’re like cousins.”

The program last week celebrated its 12th annual “Lights on After School,” which is designed to show how important after-school care is. About 6,500 programs across the country hosted lights on events and the Empire State Building was lit up in yellow to commemorate the night.

“It’s important to  keep school open so kids have a place to go instead of going home to an unsupervised environment,” Collins said.

At Osborn’s lights on celebration, the children stayed an hour later than usual and got to share a pizza dinner. Collins said Rye’s Kids S.P.A.C.E is having its busiest year, though enrollment is still open. She said “Lights on After School” was a great opportunity for parents to get to know one another.

“It’s a great opportunity for working parents to get to know one another. This is where their kids are spending so much of their social time,” she said. “We provide peace of mind for parents.”

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