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.