By Tim Leeds/Havre Daily Newsfirstname.lastname@example.org
An apparent lack of interest may kill a new summer program for high school students.
"I just don't understand" why students aren't signing up, said Rebecca Sheffield, who is coordinating the program for District IV Human Resources Development Council. "We will have to cancel the program if more people don't sign up."
Creative Outlets is a series of free classes offered to high school youths on topics ranging from music and art to Web page design.
Seven people had signed up for the classes by Monday. The deadline to register is Thursday.
The classes would be funded with a federal grant HRDC received to use for youth programs. HRDC used some of the money to bring motivational speaker Chris Bowers to Havre High School in April 2003, Sheffield said.
She said HRDC decided to work with the Healthy Communities-Healthy Youth program, including students who sit on its committees, to decide what to do with the rest of the grant. The community-based organization aims to build young people's skills and assets.
Sheffield said a number of people said high school students need to have more to do on summer afternoons and evenings.
"'That's when we get into trouble,' is what I heard," Sheffield said.
The class subjects were suggested by youths in the community, she added. They are: how to make items like jewelry and key chains with Indian beading, how to make a scrapbook, how to play the guitar, introduction to percussion, how to draw and paint, how to cook, and how to design a Web page.
Darrell Hannum, director of HRDC's employment and training program, said the grant is a one-time source of money, but if enough interest is shown his program or other groups in the community could try to find money to continue the classes.
This year's funding is from federal Workforce Investment Act money administered by the state. Hannum said Gov. Judy Martz last year decided to use the fund for some large youth leadership conventions and for $10,000 grants to agencies with youth programs.
The classes, similar to the Community Education classes offered through Havre Public Schools, are another effort to provide something for the youths in the community.
"I think it just gives an opportunity for the kids to have something to do during the summer that normally they wouldn't have," Hannum said.
People are encouraged to sign up for as many of the free classes as they want. Space is limited and the classes will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis. The classes are open to graduating seniors and anyone who will be attending high school next year.
Sheffield said people can call her at 265-6743 to sign up for the classes.