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Alfond Center Provides Safe Haven For Kids 

For kids all over the state Martin Luther King day means a day off from school. Most kids know exactly how they’re going to spend their time away from the classroom. “I was thinking I could stay home and play video games all day,” says 9-year-old Chase. Ariel, an 8-years-old girl also enjoys her screen time. “I’d be sitting home watching TV.”At the Alfond Youth Center in Waterville they’re giving kids better options. Their after school program draws around 130 kids every day, giving them plenty to do. “We have an art club, drama club, we have an education room for homework. We also have a rec room, a gymnasium,” says Amanda Beaudette, the Child Care Director who’s worked at the Youth Center for the past 8 years.They also have a computer lab, swimming pools, and the most popular attraction, the adventure playland which features several bounce houses. These programs help kids stay out of trouble, meet new friends. “I couldn’t really get along before I came here but I can get along now,” says 8-year-old Destiny. “I have a lot of friends here and I love going to art.”This facility also gives these kids the opportunity to be around some positive role models. “We do a whole lot with programs such as smart moves, which is a program that teaches kids to stay off drugs things like that,” says Beaudette, “just making good choices, staying healthy, staying fit.”For the kids who come here it’s all about having fun. Officials here say this has most square footage of any boys and girls club in the country, and while they’re using every foot of that space, they’re still looking to expand the programs they offer and keep everything affordable for parents. “If they’re on the free or reduced lunch program they get the program for free,” says Beaudette, “and then we do a sliding scale for everybody else. So if anybody has any hardships with payment we definitely make arrangements so they can afford to come.”