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Monroe Parks and Recreation After School Program

MONROE — Many people who grew up in Monroe remember dropping by the youth center in the lower level of City Hall to play pool and foosball and listen to the jukebox. The city hired Barb Moser in 1981 to expand the after-school offerings and add more programs for youth. In 2006, school buses began bringing children from their elementary schools to the youth center after school.

The city moved its after-school program to Abraham Lincoln Elementary School in 2016, giving it access to a gym and playground. Theresa Klemm began with the program in January of 2017.

Today, the afterschool program is offered from 3:30 to 5:15 p.m. on Mondays through Thursdays, and from 1:30 to 5:15 p.m. on Fridays for children in kindergarten through fifth grade. They can ride the bus from their elementary school to the program location at Abe Lincoln.

 Klemm said it can be a challenge to come up with a curriculum that is appropriate for 5-year-olds that can still hold the attention of older elementary children who can be 10 and 11 years old. But it’s a challenge worth accepting, as the result is creating a nurturing atmosphere for children. “We have fun in a safe, inclusive environment,” she said.

 “My favorite part about working with children and families is the lifetime bond I create with these families,” Klemm said. “There are children who share major life experiences with me and invite me to events where they are being honored in one way or another. I feel like part of the family for many of the children I watch.”

Klemm has collected many special memories and moments through her years working with children. “I have too many stories to tell,” she said. “But my favorite moments are when they see me in a store and run with open arms to give me a hug.”

Klemm said there is a definite need for childcare in the community: Without childcare, families can’t go to work, and businesses can’t operate. Likewise, it’s important for people to realize that childcare providers aren’t babysitters, she said.

 ”It is a profession that is often taken for granted, yet children are our future and our most prized possession.”