After a missed grant deadline raised the possibility that several schools in Springfield wouldn’t be able to host a popular after-school program, the Springfield-based Family Service Center stepped up to save the day. The Boys and Girls Club of Central Illinois was apparently late in submitting its application for grant money to fund the 21st Century Community Learning Centers, endangering the program at six public schools in Springfield. Funded by the U.S. Department of Education, the program focuses on tutoring in high-poverty and low-performing schools. When the Family Service Center heard the program might disappear, they quickly offered to expand their own Compass after-school program at Harvard Park Elementary, one of the schools affected by the grant loss. Compass offers tutoring, a healthy dinner and fun classes like cooking, dance, poetry and drumming. Family Service Center raised $9,000 to fund the expansion, which is meant to be temporary until 21st Century gets funding again, says Erin Predmore, executive director of FSC. She says the most important thing about Compass is that the children build relationships with the volunteers. “It’s an opportunity for another adult in their lives showing them that school is important,” Predmore says, adding that more volunteers are needed for this and other Compass expansions. “If we have 100 people volunteer, we’ll find a place for them,” she says. For more information, call FSC at 528-8406 or email

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