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Summer program returns to Pahrump community

A popular summer youth program has returned to the community.

Pahrump Valley Youth Activities (PVYA) started up again in late May for area kids to engage in fun and educational activities throughout summer break.

Director Denise Koch said the program is partnered with NyE Communities Coalition, where trained staff operate daily activities for the youth at J.G. Johnson Elementary School.

Koch spoke about the popularity of PVYA, now in its eighth year.

Though the program is now at capacity, Koch said interested parents can still put their kids on a waiting list.

“We actually filled up this year at our registration event, which has never happened before,” she said. “If parents are interested in getting their kids in the program, we do have our waiting list. Because some kids go on vacation we can still bring in other kids on the waiting list. Right now we have about 184 kids enrolled and we had about 10 kids on the waiting list. Right now the average is 110 kids daily.”

When the program first began back in 2010, the age range was 6 to 12 years of age.

Koch noted that she decided to slightly expand the enrollment this year.

She also said some of the older youth have become volunteers.

“We started taking 5-year-olds because they are in the pre-K program here in the Nye County School District,” she said.

“We have also started using our kids that have aged out of our program. They are now coming in and mentoring our younger ones. We also get teens from the NyE Communities Coalition Youth WERKS program. They are actually paid staff members and they work up to 30 hours a week.”

Though transportation is not provided, Koch said the kids remain busy with a full day of various activities from 7:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.

“They receive breakfast, lunch and a snack each day,” she noted. “We started a snack bar for the first time this year, where the kids have healthy options that we provide through the school district. The money that we raise from that is used to provide a thank-you gift for our volunteers at the end of the program.”

Additionally, Koch said though much of the program is funded by way of grants, there is a good amount of community support as well.

“Tom Saitta of Saitta Trudeau Jeep, Chrysler, and Dodge has been a huge help with this program,” she said. “He is on our board of directors and he helped coordinate some of the donations. We have a core staff of five, including myself and two co-directors. We get a lot of donations from different corporations as well as private donations.”

“We charge $150 for the entire summer, and all of our paperwork now is available online at pvya.net. They can download everything and get a better idea of what goes on here.”

The PVYA summer program ends on July 27. For more on the program, go to pvya.net on the web.

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