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Positive Direction Youth Center Receives Dollar General Afterschool Literacy Award

Original Publish Date: 
March 18, 2015

Special to the Metro

DAWSON, GA – A program that provides academic enrichment and afterschool programs to students in Dawson recently was awarded the Dollar General Afterschool Literacy Award in the nation’s capital.

Positive Direction, a program started by local retired educators recognizing students were in need of a place to go afterschool in Terrell County, a rural area of Georgia, was one of the five programs that received recognition and presented the award at the 2015 National After School Association Convention & Afterschool for all Challenge held in Washington, DC.

Approximately 350 afterschool programs applied for the Award. 

Providing academic enrichment is one of the program's primary goals; and middle school students in the program participate in a variety of activities focused on developing their literacy skills. The program aligns literacy activities with the school day, following the Common Core Georgia Performance Standards and schools' pacing charts, and has a strong relationship with schools, employing school-day teachers as staff. For a minimum of three hours per week in a small group setting, students in the program practice reading out loud, discuss what they have read with their peers and practice writing down their thoughts about the material. Students, who display difficulties with reading or writing, including English language learner students and students with individualized education program plans, receive one-on-one coaching with a certified teacher.

The Positive Direction Youth Center also uses the U.S. Department of Education's Afterschool Training Toolkit, located on the department's online professional learning and technical assistance website, You for Youth.

In addition to academic enrichment, Positive Direction Youth Center students can participate in sports; computer and job skills development classes; arts and crafts; and field trips to museums, colleges, science centers, state parks and the zoo. The program provides students with snacks, a hot meal every day during the school week, and sends students home with a "Positive Direction Power Pack"-filled with nutritious food-for the weekend. Ninety-one percent of students in the program met or exceeded the reading, language arts or literature standards on the state Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests or End of Course Tests.