Clarke County school bus

The Clarke County School District began announcing administrative changes for the 2019-2020 school year in April. 

The Athens Clarke-County Leisure Service Department will bring back the Grand Slam youth program, which will take place on Fridays in June and July at Cedar Shoals High School.

Athens Clarke-County youth between the age of 11-14 can participate in the free program by registering online on the ACC website. Registration opened May 1 with limited space available.

“It is a chance to celebrate young people and provide them with positive direction,” ACC Mayor Kelly Girtz said.

For more than a year, community members discussed amongst each other how valuable the Grand Slam program was to Athens in the '90s. The program addressed keeping Athens teens focused during the summer.

“The police chief at the time told me it had a very large impact on youth crime,” Executive Director of Family Connection-Communities in Schools of Athens Tim Johnson said.

The program will provide guest speakers, games, life-enrichment activities with local experts, music, giveaways, sports and food. Transportation will also be provided to and from Cedar Shoals at the East Athens Community Center and Lay Park.

About $50,000 from the ACC general fund will go towards the program. The majority of the funds will go towards staff members, materials and facility needs, Girtz said.

The program is a partnership between the ACC Police Department, Clarke-County School District and community members.

Grand Slam is one of several programs ACC is implementing while expanding its commitment in 2019 to the Great Promise Partnership, a statewide program which aims to help at-risk students graduate high school and gain jobs skills. ACC is also kicking off the Mayor's Youth Commission. The MYC will provide opportunities for services and guidance to the government from a teens perspective.

“We want to create awareness in young people for how many great paths they can pursue, and plant seeds for positive futures,” Girtz said.

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