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Harlingen CISD receives $1.5 million grant for after-school programs

A $1.5 million grant will go towards after school programs for families of Harlingen CISD.

For many parents, juggling a career and taking care of kids is like having multiple jobs.

Working parents usually rely on after school programs to ease the burden. But once the school year starts at Harlingen CISD, many elementary and middle school students will have an improved and expanded after school program.

Leeza Herevia is a Harlingen CISD grandmother who helps take care of her grandson José Rafael. She's happy her grandson will be more enriched even after the school bell rings.

"He's also benefiting himself, for more education and more programs […] to help him for his testing," Herevia said.

The school district says they chose the schools based on test scores, family income levels and the parents' works schedules.

"But for parents that do work late, [this is] one of the whole reasons that we applied for this grant," said Jessica Hruska, who directs special programs for Harlingen CISD.

The school district says about 14,000 children at 10 campuses will benefit from the funding. The after school program will include help with homework, character building and sports through the Boys and Girls Club.

"Not only will they be in a safe environment, it will continue to grow their academics, their social components, their character development and really make sure they’re utilizing their time after school for something that's productive," Hruska said.

Harlingen CISD applied for the 21st Century Community Learning grant through the Texas Education Agency and was awarded $1.5 million.

"We used to play and the teachers helped us do homework," said Herevia’s grandson José Rafael Paiz, a second grader in Harlingen CISD that will benefit from the grant.

This coming school year, it could mean doing more activities like joining clubs.

"It could be the slime club, the movie club, chess club, robotics," Hruska said.

The grant will also offer GED classes for parents, job interview classes, parenting skills and English-language learning.

Ten Harlingen CISD campuses will be benefiting from this expanded after school program. They include the district's five middle schools and five elementary schools like Bonham, Crockett, Lamar, Long and Rodríguez.

Transportation will also be provided to the students' homes.

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