LancasterThriving_WinterSpring2017 - 44
COMMUNITY: COMMUNITY PARTNERS
director Amber Rieger and her dedicated volunteers, the
Churches are able to provide maximum impact on a small
budget. Volunteers bring their creativity and expertise to
the program. For example, one volunteer is a computer
programmer, and when he discovered that some of
the students were interested in computers, he began
teaching them basic coding. Generous donations from the
community help keep the program running.
And the benefits of the program to the students extend far
beyond education. "I see the most change in students who
are here for several years. It's neat to see their character and
confidence develop even with little things like journaling day
- some of the kids were timid about sharing their journals
with the group at first, then as time went on, they became
more like actors on stage when they were reading their
journals," Rieger said with a laugh.
"Two of our students are English language learners," added
MOOS board member Rachel Eck. "It's neat to see them
learn new words and see the other students support them.
Some of our kids even asked me how to say, 'I want to be
your friend,' to our English language learners."
For the parents and guardians of the students enrolled in
MOOS, the program is often referred to as a blessing. One
parent commented, "I have to be at work at 4 a.m., and my
husband has to be at work early, so if we didn't have this
program, we would have to rearrange our entire schedules.
I don't know how we would do it."
"One mom said she has talked about our program at work,
and other parents have said, 'Man, when can we get a
program like that?'" Rieger noted.
The benefit to the school is also significant, as they now have
a reliable, quality resource for families who need it.
"We can see from the number of families who have kept
their children in MOOS for year upon year that this program
is a valued part of their daily family life," said Dr. Martin.
"Students come to school from MOOS ready to learn and
chatting happily about their morning. They sit together in the
cafeteria when they arrive, and they interact as a family would
- sharing about their lives, asking about each other's days
and generally looking out for each other. These relationships
would not exist to this depth without the bonds created at
MOOS each day."
To learn more about what makes the MOOS program so
successful or to find out how you can get involved in MOOS,
contact Amber Rieger at firstname.lastname@example.org. LT
This article highlights and supports the
work that's being done in the community
to satisfy the Education dimension of our
44 | LANCASTERTHRIVING! | Winter/Spring2017
WANT TO START A BEFORESCHOOL PROGRAM IN YOUR
Rieger and Eck have the following advice to offer:
1. Establish a strong support network, including financial
support and a committed, quality volunteer base.
2. Strive for a high ratio of volunteers to students in your
program, which will help maintain order and ensure
students are productively engaged.
3. Maximize your budget:
* Inventory the supplies that you have and be creative
with those things.
* Teach students to use resources wisely. This is an
important life skill and will also help to control
* Keep it simple. For example, Rieger used to
purchase cereal bars for her students, but
discovered that purchasing large bags of cereal and
giving it to the students in cups reduced costs and
lasted longer, while still providing a good snack.
* Get creative about securing donations from key
stakeholders. Last year, MOOS set up a Christmas
tree with tags on it that listed items needed for the
program. Church members could purchase items
on those tags to donate to MOOS. The Churches
also print the MOOS newsletter for a reasonable
cost, helping to reduce printing charges.
BY AUDREY FISKE-ESBENSHADE,
Contact Audrey at