Simplified: Sioux Falls Thrive is piloting a new after-school program for kids at Laura B. Anderson Elementary School in an effort to give kids a free, structured place to go while many parents finish the work day.

Why it matters

  • After-school care is expensive, making it unattainable for thousands of kids in Sioux Falls.
  • It's also an important time to provide structure for kids who may not otherwise have adult supervision while parents finish the work day.
  • The new program expands the Kid Link after-school program to five days a week. It's also planning to provide full-time care during the summer, said Rebecca Wimmer, CEO of the Boys & Girls Club, one of the nonprofits helping in this effort.
"The goal really became how do we make that a reality that kids in our entire community have access to after-school programs regardless of their ability to pay," Wimmer said.

What will the program look like?

There's room for as many as 60 kids in the program at this point, according to Sioux Falls Thrive.

Kids will stay at Laura B. Anderson after-school five days per week, and there will be activities and tutoring available from nonprofits including Volunteers of America, the Boys & Girls Club and others.

"We're going to house it at (Laura B. Anderson) so families feel comfortable and safe," said Principal Wade Helleson. "The hope is we can kind of centralize all of those services to one place."

What happens next?

The Kid Link pilot at Laura B. Anderson will start in early September, and students can enroll now.

If all goes well, the goal is to expand this model to other elementary schools in the future.

But it'll take dedication and a lot of hard work to make that happen, Wimmer said.

"It's something that I don't know if we've ever seen in the after-school industry," she said. "And it's pretty incredible."