Created in honor of Jack Ewing and his love for supporting the youth, Blythe Family Fitness will begin its fourth year of 'Jack's After-School Program.'

Jack’s After-School Program for students in 4th through 8th grade will be starting its fourth year at Blythe Family Fitness on September 4 as a way for students to destress and have fun after school in a healthy way.

In an electronic-free zone, the program allows students to play games like hockey, kickball, dodgeball, tennis, soccer, board games and charades with full participation and attention.

The program, created in honor of Jack Ewing who passed away in 2015, will be held on Tuesday’s and Thursday’s from 3:45 to 5:30 p.m.

Sign up is available at Blythe Family Fitness or the recreation department, and the fee is $20 a month per kid; if students qualify for free lunches at school, then the program is free for them to participate in.

“When he passed away, people were giving donations in honor of Jack, and the family asked if I would start this,” said Kristina Kaufman, executive director of Blythe. “I said yes, I would be more than happy to because Jack was all about the kids and interacting with them.”

Jack felt that kids should be engaged and present in whatever it was they were participating in though,  Kaufman said, so that is why the program was designed to be electronic-free.

“We incorporated a healthy snack, we do homework time, and then we just play,” Kaufman said. “We play all kinds of games but we try to incorporate the community too.”

“The thing that I love the most is the interaction with the kids,” Kaufman said. “All the donated dollars that people have donated in the name of Jack is basically what’s helping to support this program.”

If students have extra-curricular activities or school functions after school, Kaufman said that they do encourage the kids to attend those events so they can mingle with their peers and be engaged with their school activities.

“It helps with communication and just not being so sedentary all the time, getting movement,” Kaufman said. “We do exercise in a fun way. Like, a lot of these kids are not in sports, they don’t want to be in sports, and so we’re showing them that they can still have fun.”

The bonds formed with the kids in the program are very important, Kaufman said, because it helps the kids build confidence and communication skills while getting exercise in the process.