Messenger photo by Dianne Garrett
Oather Talley, of Communities and Schools, is the school resource coordinator for Kae Avenue Elementary School’s afterschool program in Whitehall, which received an award from the Children’s Hunger Alliance as the best area program Feb. 13.
Whitehall City Schools are proud of their afterschool programs in all schools. There are around 70 such programs in the area, and on Feb. 13 Kae Avenue Elementary School received an award for being the best from Children’s Hunger Alliance, which provides the meals.
According to Robin Watkins of Children’s Hunger Alliance, Kae was chosen for the award based on several factors. The funding comes from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). The programs must comply with standards set by USDA and the Child Adult Care Food Program (CACFP). There are three unannounced inspections each year, and the programs must submit reports and paperwork twice a month in a timely fashion. Kae met all of the requirements including meal distribution and sanitation standards.
The partnership with Kae began two years ago. Eighty percent of the students at Kae receive free or reduced lunches.
Oather Talley, of Communities and Schools, is the school resource coordinator who works with the 48 children at Kae Avenue. The program begins each day at 3:30 p.m. and runs until 6.
He explained that the kids work on their studies with tutors, do special projects and planned fun activities to reward them. But when the end of the week comes, it is Fun Day Friday.
On Feb. 8 three students from Individualized Education Program (IEP) went with their teacher on a bowling outing. The others started their fun with a raffle. They were each assigned a number, and Talley pulled drew bingo balls. Each child won a prize from a big box of toys donated by Highlights for Children.
After their treasures were stowed away, they chose a game, a very physical, fast-moving game call flamingo/crab. Everyone starts by hopping on one leg until they are hit by a big ball. Then they must become a crab, scurrying around the gym trying to get the remaining flamingos with the ball until there is only one standing.
Talley participates in the games, and noted that he is very tired at the end of the day, but it is so worthwhile.
At 4:30 everything winds down, they wash their hands on their way to the cafeteria for dinner before heading home.
A few of the students wanted to share what their favorite part of the program was. The games were the biggest winner.
Israel Rivas and Hope Buchhols said they enjoy a game called Octopus. Dayhan Moreno and Ana Hammock prefer Captain’s Coming, Dominick Bonner likes Dodge Ball, while Cach’e Brown said Little Sally Walker, and Bailey Snyder’s game is basketball.
Talley has a myriad of activities for them to choose from, including game shows.
"We are always finding ways to reward them for positive behavior," explained Talley.
There are also two assistants, Dana Sherfield and August Munobe.
Talley has worked with children for many years through church programs, drama teams, and at the Martin W. Essex School for the Gifted at Ohio State University. Just prior to coming to Kae Avenue, he was the public relations coordinator for the Salvation Army of Greater Columbus.