Letters to the Editor

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TACOMA: SPARX program provides after-school alternative

Letter by Monica R. Valentine, on Dec. 12, 2012 at 10:42 am with No Comments »
December 12, 2012 1:04 pm

Re: “Parks programs threatened after losing grants” (TNT, 12-9).

I was shocked to read about the likely elimination of Metro Parks’ middle school SPARX program.

I have personally witnessed a highly qualified staff run this excellent program at my son’s middle school. What are the alternatives for these 11- to 14-year-olds? Approximately 2,500 students going home to empty houses, hanging out with friends unsupervised, staring at an electronic screen for hours – or worse?

When Tacoma’s Human Services Commission considered a grant application to fund it, one member’s comment was that the program “does not fully describe how they target at-risk youth and/or prevent youth violence.”

SPARX should be recognized for providing an alternative to risky behavior. It is after-school care in a safe, nurturing environment for these tender-aged middle-schoolers. We can’t afford not to invest in our youth. I hope every effort will be made to fully fund this program.

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