COLUMBIA, S.C. — Parents gathered at multiple information sessions on Saturday to learn about new grant-funded educational and recreational summer programs for Richland District One students which are aimed at reducing crime and fostering positive engagement among students.
The Lower Richland Alumni Association received $800,000 from the Byrne Grant, which is intended to help reduce crime, through Congressman Jim Clyburn's office.
Andrea Sinkler-Slaughter, who brought her son to the information sessions, said programs for students are exactly what the community needs.
"Although I only have one kid, he has friends, and so we always want to get the kids interested, get them excited, and get them invested in something positive," she said. "And if it starts when they're young, it will continue when they're adults."
The district partnered with its alumni association, the Lower Richland Community Cares Project, the Richland Sheriff's Department, and the Richland County Recreation Commission.
All of these organizations are working to offer programs highlighting everything from college readiness to playing the drums.
The Richland Sheriff's Department is also offering the lead program which helps students build a bond with law enforcement.
Lt. Thomas Rupke, a leader among the Richland County school resource officers, said their goal is to help keep kids safe and out of trouble while they're both in and out of school.
"It keeps the kids engaged in positive activities. If kids are idled at home, or just watching their social media and stuff like that, there may not be the most positive influences in their lives," said.
The summer programs are open for parents to attend with their children as well.
Enrollment is open now for several programs and will have rolling signups throughout the summer.