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A happy, healthy summer for kids; Center offers meals, activities.

Byline: Sandy Quadros Bowles Bowles may refer to:

Geographical
  • Bowles, California
  • Bowles Hall, an all-male residence dormitory at the University of California, Berkeley
Persons
 

LEOMINSTER - The summer program at the Spanish Spanish, river, c.150 mi (240 km) long, issuing from Spanish Lake, S Ont., Canada, NW of Sudbury, and flowing generally S through Biskotasi and Agnew lakes to Lake Huron opposite Manitoulin island. There are several hydroelectric stations on the river.  American Center The American Center is a high-rise tower in Southfield, Michigan. It was built in 1975 and stands at 26 floors, with one basement floor, for a total of 27.

The building's main use is that of a typical office tower. It also includes a parking garage and retail spaces.
 has been feeding the bodies and minds of area children for more than 20 years.

For six weeks this summer, from July 6 through Aug. 14, children ages 5 to 18 spend their mornings sharing meals and activities.

They arrive at the center on Spruce spruce, any plant of the genus Picea, evergreen trees or shrubs of the family Pinaceae (pine family) widely distributed in the Northern Hemisphere. The needles are angular in cross section, rather than flattened as in the related hemlocks and firs.  Street at 9 a.m. for breakfast, and then participate in a variety of "Summer Fun" activities. The children then eat lunch around noon and leave at 12:30 p.m. The program serves an average of 450 meals each week.

As the needs of the community have grown, so has the program.

Last year the summer program lasted five weeks. This year, another week was added because "more families are struggling," said Neddy neddy

vernacular for horse; called also nag, cayuse, steed.
 Latimer, director of the Spanish American Center.

"A lot of our clients have lost their jobs," she said, which makes the meals prepared and served especially important. "It's so rewarding, seeing the kids coming to participate. It is a lot of hard work, but it is very rewarding."

The center also provides meals to children at eight area sites: the Spanish American Center, the Boys and Girls boys and girls

mercurialisannua.
 Club in Leominster, Cleghorn Neighborhood Center in Fitchburg, Elm Street Congregational con·gre·ga·tion·al  
adj.
1. Of or relating to a congregation.

2. Congregational Of or relating to Congregationalism or Congregationalists.

Adj. 1.
 Church in Fitchburg, Communities of Care in Fitchburg, Riverside Clubhouse in Leominster, Litchfield Terrace in Leominster and Iglesia Casa de Restauracion in Leominster.

The program is funded by the Massachusetts Massachusetts (măsəch`sĭts), most populous of the New England states of the NE United States.  Department of Elementary and Secondary Education nutrition program, with assistance from the United Way and Project Bread.

Meals must meet government standards for nutritional balance. Ms. Latimer said she wouldn't have it any other way. "I don't believe in giving children sandwiches for dinner," she said.

The program provides more than meals. Children participate in a range of sports and activities, including the popular "peace circle." Youngsters sit in a circle, get to know each other and discuss their concerns.

"They talk about issues that impact their lives and get to know their neighbors," Ms. Latimer said. "They learn to become good citizens, and to become leaders."

Programs also include talks on healthy eating at home and presentations by local police departments on staying safe.

The program allows teens to serve as peer counselors, working with the children to teach such skills as conflict resolution.

Sharleen Torres, 15, of Fitchburg has been a peer counselor for four summers. "I learned that each kid has their own character and they have their own different way of dealing with different problems," she said.

For Ms. Latimer, the program is all about "keeping kids in a healthy environment. They come here to learn about nutrition and values."

ART: PHOTOS

PHOTOG pho·tog  
n. Informal
A person who takes photographs, especially as a profession; a photographer.
: T&G Staff/RICK CINCLAIR

CUTLINE: (1) Children play in the "Summer Fun" program at the Spanish American Center in Leominster. (2) Karyna M. Perez, 5, eats lunch during the "Summer Fun" program at the Spanish American Center in Leominster.
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Publication:Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, MA)
Date:Jul 23, 2009
Words:487
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