New bill would keep elementary schools open longer to support parents

RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) - In an effort to align the school day with the typical nine to five workday, a new bill called the "Family Friendly Schools Act" would keep elementary schools open longer, creating after school programs for kids until 6 p.m.

Rapid Skillz 360 gym in Rapid City

"You can spend the time in your academic studies, which is very important but kids also need that hands on outlet, the hands on again back to those science activities, and arts, and they need to be physically active," said Roger Gallimore, executive director of the YMCA of Rapid City.

"After school programs at places like Rapid Skillz 360 offers a place for kids to build confidence, and parents can have peace of mind knowing where their kids are," said Sunday Miller.

"Confidence, it's all about confidence, the minute they walk in, they're champions, once you decide to start the journey, you're a champion. The title is still waiting on you but once you begin the journey, you've already started the process, and that's the biggest point is getting them to understand, take the first step," said AJ Zolicoffer, owner of Rapid Skillz 360.

The first step Zolicoffer said is for parents to get their kids involved early on.

"If you're winning you're winning, whether it's the classroom, the court or out in public, you gotta win at everything you do, and that's a mindset. You got to go into day knowing there's a victory coming," Zolicoffer said.

Introduced by U.S. Senator Kamala Harris, this bill would award grants to school districts serving low-income families by developing programs for students during the weekdays.

"Regardless of whether the legislation passes, the YMCA is here and the YMCA is going to continue to do the same thing and really the focus is to make sure that children have the opportunity to learn and grow in a well-rounded manner," Gallimore said.