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For Immediate Release
July 13, 2006

Illinois State Board of Education, Rep. Hannig tout Litchfield After-School Program
“May All Kids Excel Into Tomorrow” program proves to be successful

SPRINGFIELD – Illinois State Board of Education member Edward J. Geppert today joined Rep. Gary Hannig (D-Litchfield), Litchfield Community Unit School District 12 Superintendent Michael Juenger, parents, students and educators at Madison Park School in Litchfield to highlight the district’s after school/summer program, “May All Kids Excel Into Tomorrow,” or “MAKE-IT.”

MAKE-IT is an after school/summer program designed for students to learn new skills and discover new abilities after the school day has ended. The focus of the program is to provide expanded academic enrichment opportunities for children. Tutorial services and academic enrichment activities are designed to help students meet local and state academic standards in subjects such as reading and math.

The program is funded through the Litchfield School District with funding from fees, various grants, donations, and other fundraising efforts. In addition, Rep. Hannig secured additional state dollars for Fiscal Year 2007. MAKE-IT was first funded with a three-year grant from the U.S. Department of Education’s 21st Century Community Learning Center program.

The after-school program is open every day school is in session, even early dismissal days, and allows students to participate in such academic enrichment activities as Math Maniacs, bubbleology, theme activities, foreign language, chess, cooking, and scrap booking.

Since June 2001, MAKE-IT has served over 750 students in grades kindergarten through eighth-grade by providing tutoring and mentoring services along with youth development activities, drug and violence prevention programs, technology education programs, art, music and recreation programs, counseling and character education to enhance the academic component of the program.

“For the last five years the MAKE-IT program has provided a wide array of after school activities to supplement and enhance K-8 learning within District 12,” Supt. Juenger said.

Other specific activities include Girls on the Run® which is a character development program that encourages preteen girls to develop self-respect and healthy lifestyles through running.

“We know how important after school programs are in our communities. The Litchfield school district has provided an excellent example of how to run beneficial, educational after school programs,” said Geppert.

The six-week summer program for students in grades kindergarten through fifth-grade is a mix of arts and crafts, recreation, weekly themes which are academic based, reading and math activities.

“Over the last few years, the parents and organizers have been actively engaged in raising money to support the after school programs. This will ease the pressure on our hard-working parents and MAKE-IT coordinators,” Rep. Hannig said. “Securing the funding for this project was made possible with the assistance of Gov. Rod Blagojevich and Sen. Deanna Demuzio, (D-Carlinville).”

“This grant will allow the Litchfield School District to expand the opportunities for all of its students,” Supt. Juenger added. “I would like to thank Rep. Hannig for his commitment to education and to the students of Litchfield and to Marci Johnson, MAKE-IT coordinator for her dedication and perseverance.”

"Dreams often begin from opportunity. By giving more children the opportunity to learn beyond the school day and participate in fun, educational programs in a safe atmosphere, we are investing in Illinois' future," said State Senator Deanna Demuzio (D-Carlinville.)

Illinois State Board of Education
100 North First Street
Springfield, IL 62777