In 1994, Otterbein College, Big Brothers Big Sisters and Indianola Middle School established a collaborative partnership to address a need for after-school programming for Indianola students. National surveys show that random acts of violence, destruction and pregnancies in school-age youth typically occur between the hours of 3:00 and 6:00pm. To address these problems, the Indianola After-School Project provides structured, productive activities for young children.
The Indianola After-School Project pairs approximately 20 Otterbein students and two Otterbein College student coordinators with 20 Indianola school students in an after-school program on Otterbein's campus. There are three tiers to this program: the development of middle-school students in the areas of academic, physical, cultural, intellectual and social well-being; the development of the Otterbein College students through reflection, keeping of journals and sharing of their knowledge with someone who is less fortunate; and the development of an ongoing partnership to solve community problems.
Indianola students travel to Otterbein's campus once a week for one-on-one sessions. An hour of tutoring is followed by an hour of family-style dining in the campus cafeteria. The three-hour session concludes with an hour of recreation. Some of the activities planned are volleyball and basketball games with Otterbein's athletic teams, trips to the local radio station and watching skits performed by Otterbein's theater department. Through these programs on the college campus, the program's participants are given a sense of what college life is like and are encouraged to aspire to attend college.
Since its inception in the fall of 1994, the program has impacted more than 60 Indianola and Otterbein students. Otterbein College and Big Brothers Big Sisters support the program by providing transportation, meals and other miscellaneous donations.