WILKES-BARRE — Tucked among the Boulevard Townhomes along Wilkes-Barre Boulevard, the John B. McGlynn Learning Center has been fulfilling its mission since 1988 of promoting dignity to the children and families they serve.
The McGlynn Center is an after-school and summer program that provides academic assistance to children who live in the Boulevard Townhomes and Mineral Springs Village — the two low-income family housing developments that are part of the Wilkes-Bare City Housing Authority. Participation in the program is voluntary.
Sister Eleace King is the director and Sister Elizabeth Brody is assistant director. The children range in ages from kindergarten to high school-aged and they get help with homework, reading and other academics. Field trips are also taken to offer the participants the opportunity to visit local sites such as the Lackawanna Coal Mine, Nay Aug Park, Camel Beach, Montage, the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders and Claws and Paws Park.
“I think our most remarkable statistic is that in our 25 years, not one child has ever been involved with the juvenile justice system while participating in our program,” King said.
“We get great collaboration from the local schools,” King said. “They send extra work for the children and we see their report cards, and those that do well get rewarded.”
On Thursday, 40 McGlynn students were rewarded with a trip to Chuck E. Cheese in Wilkes-Barre Township for a party.
The McGlynn operates two centers: Boulevard Townhomes for students in grades one through 10, and Mineral Springs, kindergarten through eighth grade. King said that during the school year, the center offers an after-school program, and when school lets out for summer, the students can come for help with academics and for recreational programs, games and field trips.
This year, there were 128 students enrolled in the program at the two centers — 90 at Boulevard Townhomes and 38 at Mineral Springs. Attendance for the summer program varies.
“Once school is out, especially during the first week or two, it’s not easy for the children to get up early,” King said. “All of the children enrolled this past year have passed to the next grade.”
King said the centers have about 15 adult volunteers, and during the school year, students from King’s College and Misericordia University volunteer. There were 19 from Misericordia and 24 from King’s helping out during the 2013-2014 school year.
King said the summer program offers academics in the morning to maintain skills already learned, such as reading and math. The children get snacks and lunch is provided by the Commission on Economic Opportunity.