Hunter MST pic
Akeem George, 18, and Caylen Johnson, 12, play Madden 2011 on Xbox 360 during Hunter's MST after-school program.

HUNTER ARMY AIRFIELD, Ga., - If you drive down South Perimeter Road on Hunter Army Airfield, away from post about three miles, you will come across a brand-new facility on your left, just past the gas station. This building, 8805, is the home of School Age Services, ages 6-12, and Middle School/Teen program at Hunter Army Airfield. The brand-new facility, which opened in February 2010, is a mecca for children on Hunter.

At least, it should be.
Currently, according to facility director JaDon Black, about 12 children come to the facility on a daily basis, and they want to get more involvement.

Parents, this section is for you: there is a state-of-the-art computer lab for doing research, a homework lab complete with a tutor, a reading area, USDA-certified meals and snacks and qualified adult supervision. And for parents of MST children - that program is free.

This section is for the kids: the facility boasts a state-of-the-art computer lab, a game room with all of the latest video game consoles - including PS3, Wii, Xbox 360 and Wii Kinect; music and art room, a top-of-the-line playground, a gym to play basketball or other sports, and more.

"A teenager should want to come to this facility because we have the latest in technology, we offer homework help, we have a computer lab where you can do research for projects, and we're just kind of a laid-back atmosphere where (they) can come in and just relax, get a snack and interact with their peers and have a good time," said Black. "A parent should want their teenage to come because we offer a top-notch service. This is somewhere their children can be off the street, a positive place, for them to hang out and interact with their peers. Once they are here, parents can have a worry-free mind as far as what they're doing, because they're in this safe environment."

The facility is open for SAS children before school from 6-9 a.m., and after school from 3-6 p.m., Monday through Friday, and the first Saturday of each month from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. For the MST program, the facility is open 3-8 p.m., Monday through Friday, and every Saturday from noon-8 p.m. The MST program is something registered children can use whenever they feel like it during operation hours. The facility is also open for full-day programs Monday-Friday during school vacations and summer break.

For SAS, school buses pick up the children from the facility in the morning, and bring them back in the afternoon. Children must be registered with Child, Youth & School Services. The SAS fees are charged using a graduated fee schedule based on total Family income.

The after-school program isn't just a place to bring your children so they aren't alone - it's somewhere where they can learn, interact with others and have fun.

"We have staff that is very equipped to help the kids here," Black said. "We have a homework helper, who is a former teacher, so he is up-to-date on all of the latest school work, and he is very equipped to help the kids with their homework. We also have a computer lab tech - she's very savvy with the computer."

Black made sure to mention that all of the computers in the facility have filters, which filters out "all of the sites that they don't need to be on."

The dedicated staff in building 8805 works tirelessly to ensure that the children who attend their programs get as much out of it as possible.

"It starts with the staff - our staff here really loves the children. We're very involved with and interested in what the children are learning in our program," said Debra Grant, assistant facility director. "We have a new state-of-the-art facility. We offer so many activities for the children, which are based on what the children want, and the staff is here to support that. It goes from recreational to educational."

The SAS and MST programs are free-flow programs, where the participants have the opportunity to suggest things that they want to do. Black said that they offer painting, science projects, a photography program, cooking classes and MST has a leadership program -Keystone, where they go out and do community service projects and learn how to be leaders.

In December, the facility underwent a strict accreditation program, where their paper work procedures, staff interaction and the facility itself were all scrutinized. (SEE Hunter SAYS program receives accreditation)

"It's ensuring that we run a quality program," Black said. "We were the first of Stewart-Hunter to go through the accreditation."

In addition to activities within the facility, the SAS and MST programs also take day outings to places in the area - including the bowling alley and skating rink - or on day trips during school breaks, such as the Georgia Aquarium and the World of Coca-Cola in Atlanta.

The SAS/MST facility is located in building 8805, on South Perimeter Rd. The program is open to children of active duty, National Guard and reserve servicemembers and retirees. For more information about the facility and programs, call 912-315-9795/9781. For registration, contact Central Registration at 912-315-5708 for an appointment.

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16