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August 22--  A hundred-and-thirty at-risk kids in the Toombs County school system will have access to after-school help starting September 6.

Anna Bullard with Toombs County Family Connections says a $350,000 grant for each of the next three years will be used to help kindergarteners through fifth graders in after-school programs at Lyons Upper Elementary and Toombs County Middle School.

"Our goals are going to be to equal the playing field for these students and allow them to receive extra academic time and enrichment through music and art.  If we don't put more time and effort into these children, we're not going to move from that 42nd spot that Georgia has held for three years in education.  We want to give them a better opportunity in life so they can be citizens in our community who are effective and self-sufficient," Bullard says.

According to Bullard, ninety percent of the students in the Toombs County school system live in poverty.

"We need to have an after-school program to get kids off the street and to provide them attention that the school day just doesn't provide.  We have many stakeholders in our community.  Our Superintendent, Dr. Brantly, has been supportive of this from day one and many businesses and organizations in our community have been supportive and that's really why this is happening," she says.

The after-school program will run from 3:30 till 6:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday of each week and transportation will be provided.  A hundred students will be served at the elementary school and 30 at the middle school.