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Our Before and After School Program Sites Continue to Expand Statewide!
Part of our program expansion across the state includes our site at Columbus Elementary located in Columbus, NM which is near the US/Mexico border. Columbus ES looks like your typical elementary school, but it stands unique. All the students that attend are bused there each and every day across the US border from their homes in Mexico. The students of Columbus ES share a common background: dual citizenship. They are Mexican Nationals residing in Mexico but all were born on US soil.
Our Columbus program is our largest in the state, with 150 students participating on a daily basis. It did not start that way. In the beginning there was a true struggle to gain interest in the program. The deal maker for many of the families was the snack offered as a part of our program. Snack may seem like a small detail in the big picture, but for these students it means not going home each night hungry. These children grow up in very impoverished areas where access to necessities, like steady nutrition, is near nonexistent. The only times the students have meals they can count on are during the school day.
Once the snack brought them in, the students started to gain the benefits of our academically enriching program. Soon the students showed excitement and enthusiasm in participating in our program just as so many children do all across NM. The time in which they are supported academically, emotionally, and nutritionally is now extended creating more chances for daily growth. These students, unlike others receiving an American education, are between two worlds. They, like all children deserve the opportunity of a sound education.
Under normal circumstances the families’ could not afford to send their children to a high quality afterschool program. It is through a 21 CCLC learning grant that we are able to provide our programming to these students free of charge and make a positive impact that goes further than daily snack, it is a strong foundation for their future successes. Columbus Elementary school illustrates that humanity goes beyond backgrounds, cultures, and even borders. We at RGEC are proud to be a part of such an effort.