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With program's future unclear, SHINE students see opportunity on Wilkes campus

Lori Drozdis explains chest compressions to Medwin Enzo Kamdem Kamwa as "Stayin' Alive" plays in the background.
Aimee Dilger
/
WVIA News
Lori Drozdis explains chest compressions to Medwin Enzo Kamdem Kamwa as "Stayin' Alive" plays in the background.

Elementary and middle school students made capsules in a pharmacy class and practiced CPR in a session about nursing.

Across the Wilkes University campus on Tuesday, the SHINE program participants learned about possibilities. Organizers hope the program’s opportunities don’t end.

This spring the Pennsylvania Department of Education failed to renew funding for SHINE (Schools and Homes in Education) and ACHIEVE programs in Carbon, Luzerne, Schuylkill, Pike and Wayne counties. Program directors and allies said programs for more than 1,800 students in the region were at risk and have spent the last two months appealing to the state and seeking other funding.

The federal funding for the 21st Century Community Learning Centers grant program is distributed through states. The program provides funding for academic enrichment and tutoring, family engagement and youth development to help students attending high-poverty and low-performing schools. The state, which distributed $27 million to 61 organizations in 18 counties, said funding was available for about half of the applicants in the latest round.

As elementary students on Tuesday learned about what pharmacists do, Katie Lykon, director of SHINE of Luzerne County, said funding efforts are ongoing and she remains hopeful.

“The community is coming out and showing their support for us,” she said. “We're in it together, and we're a huge team.”

During the school year, 500 Luzerne County students participate in the afterschool program that serves students in pre-kindergarten through eighth grades in the Hanover Area, Hazleton Area, Greater Nanticoke Area, Pittston Area, Wilkes-Barre Area and Wyoming Valley West school districts.

At Wilkes on Tuesday, 61 students experienced life on the college campus for a day, participating in STEM-related activities (science, technology, engineering and math) with a focus on career pathways. They ate lunch in the dining hall and learned from Wilkes faculty members.

Cassidy Rivera, 9, a Greater Nanticoke student, said she enjoys working on projects with SHINE. At Wilkes, she loved pretending she was a pharmacist and making capsules.

“We had to put the powder in the bowl, and then we mixed it, and then we put it in the paper, and then we put it in the pill,” she said.

Mary Ann Matreselva provides educational support for SHINE at Dr. David W. Kistler Elementary in Wilkes-Barre. As she helped students in the pharmacy session, she talked about the importance of SHINE and opportunities like the one on Tuesday.

“They're at a ripe age where they can grow, develop and become very familiar with all of the careers,” she said. “They can do anything. They can be anybody.”

Mary Ann Matreselva helps a student in the pharmacy session during SHINE's Student for a Day program at Wilkes University.
Aimee Dilger
/
WVIA News
Mary Ann Matreselva helps a student in the pharmacy session during SHINE's Student for a Day program at Wilkes University.

Sarah Hofius Hall worked at The Times-Tribune in Scranton since 2006. For nearly all of that time, Hall covered education, visiting the region's classrooms and reporting on issues important to students, teachers, families and taxpayers.

You can email Sarah at sarahhall@wvia.org
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