Many kids in Brookfield head to the Brookfield Public Library after school, crowding the children’s section. But on Monday afternoon a new, structured after-school program will begin at the library, 3609 Grand Blvd.
The program, called BLAST (Brookfield Library After-School Time), is designed for elementary school kids in first through fifth grades and will run Monday through Friday from 3 to 6 p.m. for the remainder of the school year.
“We hope to have a lot of child-directed activities,” said Asta Cuplinskas, who will run the program. “They’ll have snacks. There will be a consistent period for doing homework and a lot of opportunities for them to make their own choices for how they want to spend their time under supervision.”
There will also be help with homework, games, crafts and the occasional movie, Cuplinskas said.
“It’s a great opportunity for parents, for kids, and frankly for the community,” Cuplinskas said. “We can use computers; we can do projects.”
Cuplinskas, a Riverside resident, was recently hired to run the program. She taught for two years in the Chicago Public Schools in the 1990s and worked for three years in youth services at the Skokie Public Library.
She has recently been a self-employed tutor and has degrees in psychology from the University of Chicago and elementary education from Northwestern University. She also teaches at a Lithuanian cultural school.
There is no charge to be part of the program, but enrollment is limited to 18 children. BLAST will meet in the downstairs meeting room of the library and is limited to Brookfield residents. Parents must register their child in person to enroll in the program.
“We ask that parents or caregivers come in person to the library to sign up their kids,” said Kim Krueger, the library’s director of youth services.
Krueger is excited about the new program.
“Asta is a really great person and she is very creative and has lots of great ideas,” Krueger said.
The program will provide a place for kids to hang out after school.
“It’s a safe place where kids can hang out, do their homework, get help with their homework, play board games or video games or have special activities,” Krueger said. “I think it will be very exciting to see what happens with this.”