After school with community

After school with community

When the Moriah School in Englewood conducted a parent survey last year, it found that in three quarters of the families, both parents worked.

It was time to rethink after-school activities.

School leaders turned to two women, Debbie Prince and Gila Comet, who both work in Englewood’s recreation department. The two were asked them to help with an after-school program that would let parents pick up their children at 6 p.m.

The result: Moriah Plus, a program that will launch with the new school year in the fall – and which won’t be only for Moriah students.

Gila Comet, left, and Debbie Prince

Ms. Prince and Ms. Comet hope to attract students who live in Englewood but attend other schools, including public schools.

“It’s very important for Moriah students to be exposed to other students, who are not from the same background,” said Ms. Prince.

The program will include snacks, homework help, recreation, and even bar mitzvah lessons.

It will run from 3:30 to 6 p.m.

“When your children come home, you can have some quality family time without the stress of homework and the stress of shuttling your kids to activities after a long day of work,” Ms. Comet promised.

Activities will include chess, Zumba, soccer, fencing, flag football, volleyball, art, beading, yoga, Pilates, writing, dance, drama, and music. “Everything you could possibly imagine,” she said. “In the past, yeshivas offered just basketball or hockey. We’re tying to make sure every child finds a place in the program.”

Both Ms. Comet and Ms. Prince have children in Moriah, as well as older children who have graduated.

Ms. Prince had been president of the Moriah Association of Parents and established Club Hub, the school’s after-school program. Where Club Hub brought in commercial program providers for its after-school activities, Moriah Plus will hire instructors rather than programs, and it will retain more control over the programming. “We are developing a wonderful staff who are passionate and committed,” Ms. Prince said.

This will bring the costs down.

The program will cost $200 or $250 for a one-day-a-week eight-week session.

Though they both send their children to Moriah and belong to Congregation Ahavath Torah in Englewood, Ms. Prince and Ms. Comet met at Englewood’s recreation department. Ms. Prince was working part-time there in marketing; she had taken a hiatus from her career to have children. “Then Gila walked in,” looking for part-time work, she said. Together, “we helped make the department grow and extended it to a place where everyone could find something.

“Then the school came to us.”

Ms. Comet said that Moriah is “doing all they can to make this happen for their families, and the broader Jewish community around them. They’re doing this as a service for the community.”

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