WATERVILLE — Hasan Al-Jorani and Matt Jernigan took advantage of the cool, crisp air Friday to get some exercise and socialize outside Waterville Senior High School.

They played cornhole — tossing bags containing corn kernels into holes cut out of raised wooden platforms — spun a wheel on a large version of the game Sorry! and made plans to go to the Alfond Youth & Community Center after school.

“I went there once with a friend,” Jernigan said. “The free membership allows you to use the gym and the pool and they have classes to help you with homework.”

Al-Jorani, 13, and Jernigan, 14, both freshman, were taking part Friday in one of the programs offered as part of a partnership between the school, the Alfond center and Jobs for Maine Graduates program, aimed at providing students with activities and opportunities to intern or get jobs. Alfond center employees come to the high school every Friday between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m., during four lunch breaks, set up lawn games and invite students to play after they have eaten.

Hasan Al-Jorani, 13, plays a round of cornhole during lunchtime Friday at Waterville Senior High School as part of a program that is meant to increase after-school offerings for teenagers while making them aware of internships and job opportunities. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel

The Alfond center also allows students to have access to programs at the center itself after school, including pick-up basketball and a weekly girls’ group, according to high school Principal Brian Laramee. The center plans to offer afternoon fitness classes and host monthly movie nights for students, he said. The center is working with community partners and the school to set up internships or place students in jobs, and has opened its doors to the school’s physical education and health classes during the day.

Best of all, Laramee says, the center offers a free Alfond center membership to his students who agree to take part in one of the center’s free enrichment offerings. Jernigan already has that free membership.

“It’s a really good place,” he said of the Alfond center.

Al-Jorani said he hopes to also obtain a membership, which would allow him to do more activities like those he took part in Friday.

“In the pandemic, we couldn’t go outside at all,” he said, referring to last year.

At the school Friday, Laramee and the students were joined by Victor Esposito, a Jobs for Maine Graduates specialist at the Alfond center; high school guidance director Lisa Hallen; Avery Ryan, Alfond center teen program coordinator; and Lexy Cole, coordinator of the South End Teen Center. They said the partnership has been successful and they hope to expand it to other area schools.

“As long as we’re giving something to do for one kid, it’s worth our time and effort,” Ryan said.

Hallen said students benefit from the program.

“Especially during COVID times, the fact that they can come outside and take their masks off and have some time in the middle of their day is just so important,” Hallen said.

High school junior Robyn Brochu, 16, got a job as a lifeguard at the Alfond center where she works eight hours a week. She hopes to go to college one day to study sports medicine.

“I got started last month at the outdoor pool,” she said.

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