BROOKVILLE — Jefferson County Housing Authority (JCHA) has recently partnered with Keystone Smiles/AmeriCorps to bring programming, in the way of an after school as well as a summer program to children residing at JCHA property located at Beyer Avenue, Punxsutawney.

Beyer Avenue has been chosen as the pilot site and JCHA hopes to grow the program and eventually offer a similar program to children at the Reynoldsville and Sykesville locations.

JCHA and Keystone Smiles are working to start an after school program at the Beyer Avenue community beginning approximately the middle of February and will run through the end of the school year. While JCHA and Keystone Smiles are still in the planning stages, the hope is to have a two or two and a half hour after school program four days a week, and possibly an activity one weekend a month. The program will target children between the ages of 5 and 12, residing at the Beyer Avenue Complex, and will provide homework assistance, and develop and maintain positive relationships with the children and encourage character building habits and important social and life skills, all while having some fun.

The next step is to provide an eight-week week summer program at Beyer, four days a week that will be centered on areas of exploration for young minds and bodies, while having fun and recreation.

JCHA is currently recruiting Keystone Smiles/AmeriCorps members to serve in the positions needed, which include two part time positions of 19 hours a week for six months and two summer positions, which are 40 hours a week for eight weeks. In addition to receiving a living allowance, there is also education awards available based on the number of hours served. Education awards can be used in a variety of ways for higher education, including those attending college and certification programs.

For more information or to apply, go to www.smilesamericorps.org or call Keystone Smiles at 814-797-2127. You may also contact Deb Shook, Deputy Director, JCHA at 938-7140 x 17 or at Deputy@jeffcoha.com for more information. The minimum age to apply is 17 and there is no maximum age. Older individuals who are interested in applying are eligible to gift their educational award to their grandchildren if they chose.

Deb Shook, Deputy Director of JCHA indicated she is very excited to get the program up and running. She has previously been involved with a similar program with Keystone Smiles and knows firsthand of the success a program of this type can have. Deb said, “We’re always looking for ways to enrich the lives of our residents and we believe this program for our children is a great fit.

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