Keeping the lights on

The Michigan City News-Dispatch

MICHIGAN CITY — On Wednesday, Safe Harbor opened its doors to Edgewood Elementary School to welcome Community leaders from Michigan City and other parts of the State for its Lights On Afterschool Celebration.

The event featured several local leaders, including Michigan City Mayor Ron Meer, Congressman Pete Visclosky, and representatives from Senators Todd Young and Joe Donnelly's offices. Michigan City Area Schools Superintendent Barbara Eason-Watkins was also in attendance.

The event consisted of the group walking through different areas of the school, checking out different activities offered by Safe Harbor while interacting with students enrolled in the program.

“Safe Harbor is a 21st century community learning program,” said Abby May, development director at Safe Harbor. “That means we offer after school enrichment, not after school care... We provide four and a half hours minimum of STEM enrichment programming each week. We have arts and culture programming, and also health and wellness programming.”

May added that students seem to make the most of the opportunities Safe Harbor provides.

“When the students come here they have an enriching experience,” she said. “We take it very seriously to mean that to enrich means to make your life better, and that is what we strive to do, make the lives better and the futures brighter for the students who come to our program. They continue to learn here. It's an extension of the school day.”

Congressman Visclosky said everybody should be on board when it comes to enriching the lives of young people.

“There is nothing partisan about what is being done here,” he said. “I simply want to thank everyone who is involved in this program, for helping someone else improve themselves, to improve our community, and to improve the quality of life for everyone.”

The Safe Harbor Lights on Afterschool gathering was just one of more than 8,000 such events across the country, emphasizing the importance of after school programming to not only Michigan City, but communities all across the nation.

“Safe Harbor is a huge part of Michigan City in so many ways. Our parents work so hard in Michigan City, and Safe Harbor allows them to do that. Safe Harbor allows parents to work, it allows students to learn, and it allows us to crate a generation of young people who want to contribute to the growth of Michigan City.”

May also added that she and Safe Harbor could not be more excited about the support the community has shown after school programming in Michigan City.

“Having Congressman Visclosky here brings comfort, pride, and dignity to what we do,” May said. “Having representatives from Sen. Donnelly and Sen. Young here does the same. After School programming is not a partisan issue. We know that, we know that we have supporters on both sides of the aisle. And having the chance to show leaders from both parties just how effective we are, is a big deal for us.”

May said the Michigan City community could not be more supportive of programs such as Safe Harbor.

“Michigan City sets the tone for community partnerships and community collaboration, and we know that on a daily basis we have their support, but it is really nice to get tho show state and federal leaders that we have that support.”