Wednesdays are fun days in Atlantic
March 4, 2020
Ss. Peter and Paul Parish has become the go-to hot spot for kids on Wednesday afternoons in Atlantic.
That’s because the parish has filled a need in the community, opening their doors to the kids every Wednesday afternoon after their early school dismissal for teachers’ professional development.
It has become popular with parents and students alike.
It’s also given the parish an opportunity to reach kids they may not have been reaching before, said Father Trevor Chicoine, pastor.
“From a very practical standpoint, it’s become a bridge and has allowed us to get the kids into the faith formation that we wouldn’t otherwise get,” said Father Chicoine. “We have a place where they can send the kids.
“And in that gap of time, we provide some good faith formation that’s lined up with what they’re doing in class,” he added. “That really extends that afternoon of catechesis.”
Dawn and LaNette Freund, volunteers who created the after school program, said the kids arrive at the parish center at about 2 p.m. They have two hours of time scheduled for homework, reading, a faith lesson, snack and playtime before religious education starts at 4 p.m. Parents pick the kids up at about 5:15 p.m..
Approximately 30-45 kids participate in the program.
“We think it’s important because it offers them a safe place to be,” Dawn said. “The kids can know that they can have fun at church and it helps the parents. Once they get them on the bus it gets them right to the church.”
It eliminates worries parents might have had about their kids getting home ok.
And kids hate missing it.
“The kids are pretty enthusiastic and we get pretty excited when they run in,” Freund said. “They look forward to it and I think the parents appreciate it too.”
Volunteers keep things interesting with different church teachings – ranging from the rosary, liturgical calendar and the saints – to service projects, including coloring pictures for the elderly and making Christmas cards for soldiers serving abroad.
“I think the kids feel it’s a fun and tangible way to encounter the faith,” Father Chicoine said. “I think that they’ve started to see church as not just a dull place. It really launches them into their afternoon faith formation class much more prepared and ready to engage.”