By Kaylee Lindenmuth
WASHINGTON, District of Columbia - A group of Shenandoah Valley Elementary students, teachers, and administrators involved with the SHINE Program had the opportunity to visit the United States Capitol this week.
The visit, which occurred Wednesday, was arranged by Congressman Lou Barletta (R-11), who met with the students to discuss the program, what they liked about it, and what they planned to do when they grew up.
“It’s always a pleasure to meet with students like Silvia, John, Joseph, and Ayden,” Barletta said. “Their excitement about school was contagious and what they’ve been learning is very impressive. When you show children the possibility of what their futures can be and help provide them with the tools they need to reach their dreams, there is no stopping them. I’m proud of the work I’ve done on behalf of afterschool programs with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle, and I look forward to continuing to advocating for programs like SHINE.”
According to a press release, SHINE, standing for Schools and Homes in Education, is a successful afterschool program in Carbon, Luzerne, and Schuylkill counties geared towards grades K-8 and focuses on a project-based STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) curriculum.
Barletta, alongside Senator John Yudichak (D-Carbon/Schuylkill), has championed the program for for the past four years, and the two were instrumental in its expansion to Schuylkill County.
“The lives of thousands of children across the commonwealth of Pennsylvania and across the United States have been profoundly changed by Congressman Barletta’s dedication and commitment to supporting funding for quality after school programming,” said Rachel Strucko, Executive Director of the SHINE program. “The SHINE afterschool program is very proud to call him our Afterschool Champion,” Strucko added.
Concluding Wednesday evening, Barletta attended the Afterschool Alliance’s Showcase and Reception to see the projects the students had been working on, including a 3D printer and a robot that the students have learned how to program using coding.