Community Centers boost attendance with creative programs

St. Rose Community Center participation doubles

With innovative programs like “X-Box Workout Challenge” or “Celebration in the Oaks” and “Crazy Sock Sock Hop,” it’s no wonder participation has tripled at the St. Rose Community Center.

“We’re just trying to keep them active and involved … and coming,” said Ferdneit Bailey, supervisor of St. Rose and Killona community centers, and program coordinator of the St. Rose center.

It’s working.

Participation at the St. Rose Community Center has grown from an average of 15 children a day to 35 to 40 a day, Bailey said. Much of the growth is coming from word of mouth, which means the children are telling their friends about how much fun they’re having in the center activities.

Killona center attendance has remained strong since its opening about a year ago.

Although the St. Rose center has been open since 1975, with its drop-in program that started in 2011 along with the pilot program of our summer enrichment program. Bailey started working at St. Rose Community Center as the program coordinator in 2012.

Growing attendance has proven challenging. That is, until Bailey decided to start getting feedback from the children, who thought she wasn’t listening to them about what they wanted in after-school activities.

“Coming in, it was kind of hard,” she said of developing more family-oriented activities. The program is geared so that mom can come when she gets off work to see what they’re doing and to participate.”

Bailey said the children loved Celebration in the Oaks in December, and it hit the mark on coming up with a celebration for the children to look forward to for the holidays.

“We’re just trying to keep them active and involved … and coming.” — Ferdneit Bailey, supervisor of St. Rose and Killona community centers

“It was unbelievable to see their faces,” Bailey said. “They ran around in a maze. They had so much fun and afterwards they went to get pizza. The highlight of the night was them eating banana peppers. They just said they really, really love them.”

This was a class trip and one of the children’s favorites, Bailey said.

The activities, with names like Gingerbread Story Time, Life Skills 4 Kids, and Kidz Kraft: Handprint Mittens, are drawing the kid crowd.

Additionally, the classes are interactive, including a snack that’s also an activity. They make Convetti popcorn, candy-coated marshmallows, brownies they bake and make “dirt cake” out of Oreos. In Killona, they make root beer floats.

The Crazy Sock Sock Hop for Halloween included wearing crazy socks, and the St. Charles Parish Library helped with hamburgers and fries. The kids also did Karaoke.

X-Box Workout Challenge includes their “Just Dance” exercise that lets them compete for the highest score for 30 minutes. Bailey said they seek to incorporate fitness in every activity.

Their “What’s Your Dream Vision Board” activity helps them plan a career or finances to buy a house or plan to help people, Bailey said.

Asked what she felt was an innovative about their programs, is “incorporating anti-bullying into everything that we do.”

Children are encouraged to make good choices about how they interact with other students.

Bailey added, “We try to redirect the kids with their own solutions … asking what they should do and the proper answers are reinforced.”


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