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February 4, 2011 > Vidyalaya opens second center

Vidyalaya opens second center

By Alyson Whitaker
Photos By Karen Kentgen

For many families throughout the Bay Area, filling the hours between when school gets out and parents get home from work can be a challenge.

Vidyalaya After School Program (VASP) is a non-profit ministry of the Lutheran Church (ELCA), serving the community with high quality homework help and enrichment activities for children in grades 1-8. Vidyalaya translates to "Temple of Knowledge."

The Fremont center is located across the street from Hirsch Elementary in the Irvington District. There are no after-school care programs at the local school or in the immediate vicinity, so there was a definite need for supervised care.

In an effort to broaden their reach and the availability of after-school care and enrichment programs, VASP recently opened a second center in Newark, near Kennedy Elementary. The local elementary school does offer an after-school care program, so VASP is striving to provide affordable enrichment opportunities in addition to the homework assistance. Currently, Spanish and guitar lessons are being offered, with the hopes of additional options in the future. At both locations, staff members escort the children from the neighboring school to the Vidyalaya location.

Director Karen Kentgen says that the program offers relief to working parents. They can rest assured that their child is not home alone after school, but being productive with homework, beneficial physical and social activities, and receiving healthy snacks. The benefits to the community are becoming apparent as well-there has been a visible decline in graffiti, loitering, and vandalism in the immediate area of the Newark center since it opened.

A small tuition is charged, and scholarships are available for those who are struggling to make ends meet. An annual silent auction and spaghetti feed helps to fund the scholarship program, ensuring that all who want to can attend.

While the program is associated with the Lutheran Church, students of all religions, races, and ethnic origins are accepted.

For information or to register your child:
Vidyalaya Fremont Center
Good Shepherd South Asian Ministry
4211 Carol Avenue, Fremont
Contact Karen Kentgen at (510) 656-1468

Vidyalaya Newark Center
Holy Redeemer Lutheran Church
35660 Cedar Blvd., Newark
Contact Karen Kentgen at (510) 656-1468

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