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New Jersey 21st Century Community Learning Centers, Soaring Beyond Expectations, Aferschool Programs

New Jersey Department of Education Office of Student Support Services 21st Century Community Learning Centers Program and Out-of-School Time Resources
New Jersey 21st Century Community Learning Centers, Soaring Beyond Expectations, Aferschool Programs

Impact21 – Destiny After School Haven (DASH)

Cecelia Figueroa – Program Director
501 East Hazelwood Avenue, Rahway, NJ 07065
Phone: 732-680-9800 ext. #231
Fax:  732-680-9801

County:  Union

Servicing School District:  Rahway School District

CLC Sites:  Impact21 – Destiny After School Haven (DASH)

Partners:  Agape Family Worship Center

Serving Grade Level:  Kindergarten & up

No. of Students to be served:  101

No. of Adults to be served:  150

Times of Services: Afterschool: 3:00 PM - 6:00 PM & Summer: 9:00 AM - 3:00 PM

Destiny After School Haven, DASH is licensed and nationally accredited through the National After School Association. DASH, is a high quality after school program that supplements and broadens students' academic and social growth.

DASH has positively impacted over 500 families with children in Kindergarten through 10th Grades; offering students a wide variety of enrichment activities ranging from homework assistance, individual and small group tutoring sessions, computers, academic enrichment/remediation in reading, writing, language arts, math, technology, social studies, and science, performing arts including variations in dance, music, and drama, synchronized jump rope, recreation including free play and organized sports, arts & crafts, fine art, photography, computer technology, cooking, cultural studies, strategic games, robotics, and community service projects while all in a safe supportive environment.

This past year, the Rahway Community lost a teenage boy who was bullied because he was gay and as a result, he committed suicide. Through the character development program students will continue to be mentored through guided behaviors in positive reinforcement, building confidence, self-esteem, social and life skills, which encompass the whole child with an emphasis on and belief in their personal purpose and destiny therefore impacting their chances for future success and positive outcomes. Bullying continues to be a major concern facing youth today, using positive youth development initiatives such as reinforcing acts of kindness, students will be recognized and initiatives documented as a means to promoting healthy behaviors.  To help address some of these needs, DASH will create a forum which promotes acceptance and awareness as part of the mentoring clubs known as Girls Talk and Young Men's Club.

DASH provides and facilitates parent workshops/meetings to increase involvement in the academic performance and overall character development of the students. Through the supportive staff environment, the community, and the district schools, there is an abundance of encouragement and guidance provided to assist with increasing the strength of the family unit which is a necessity in today's demanding world. Math and Literacy themed events are offered and presented at DASH by the Rahway School District's teachers and staff, to enhance study skills while providing parents with creative and constructive ideas and tools in which to assist and guide in learning. These workshops are broken up and presented on grade levels in order to address a targeted need of concern.

Parent and family participation is overwhelmingly successful. Family Dinner Nights provide parents, family members, and children the opportunity to share a nutritious meal together as a family unit while celebrating the accomplishments the children and the staff have achieved during the program hours.

DASH Student Council, DSC is comprised of representatives on each grade level, voted in by their peers. Students are offered the opportunity to share thoughts, ideas, concerns, questions, etc. with administration, staff, Parent Advisory Board, and the Advisory Board.  To help foster positive family relationships, DSC is organizing a mother/daughter breakfast and a father/son basketball game as their annual fund raising event which will be used for the end of the year family field trip.

Destiny Assistants In Training, DAIT is a mentoring and leadership program for middle school students. Throughout the school year, DAIT meets twice weekly to participate in meetings/classes related to growth and success.  DAIT participants volunteer throughout the program year in order to help build character and work ethic.  DAIT participants are granted future opportunities of employment with DASH when they display positive attitudes and great volunteerism.  These students are looked upon as role models to the younger participants in the program.
All middle schoolers participate in the LearnDoEarn program which includes career exploration and guidance. Students participate in college preparedness along with job readiness. Students participate in at least 2 local college visits in New Jersey.  Students also participate in mock job interviews and college interviews as part of the preparedness.  Students are provided with interactive workshops, including financial literacy, entrepreneurial skills, and investing principles. These students discuss their concerns/issues and upcoming speakers or events with their advisor.

Based on the surveys, students enjoy the clubs and activities offered to them, they enjoy being with their friends, and are having a good time while at DASH. This reflects positively on the social emotional component of their development. Parents find that the program provides accessible, dependable, and safe childcare that helps keep children from troubling situations after school which shows DASH is a dependable safe haven.