Nancy Bulman works with hip-hop performers, skateboarders and a group of students who are building a model roller coaster at Columbia Middle School in Burbank.
Heather Hoppe said her students at Finley Middle School always rush to sign up for cooking activities.
"It's because they get to eat," she said, laughing.
Both women were recognized by Educational Service District No. 123 board members this week for their work with students at after-school programs at their schools.
The programs help students with math and reading but also provide a safe and constructive place for students after school.
"My kids -- they come because they want a different family," Bulman said, adding that her program offers family-like support for students in a school environment.
Fifteen schools within the ESD -- which is made up of 23 school districts from Othello to Prosser to Asotin-Anatone -- are offered the after-school program, called 21st Century Learning Community Center.
The about $70,000 needed per school per year for coordinators and instructors is provided by a federal grant through No Child Left Behind legislation.
ESD officials track the number of children attending the programs and must report back to the federal government. Only students who attend for a total of 30 days can be counted. Hoppe said the program was slow to take off at Finley, but has solid attendance numbers now.
"In our first year, we only started with 12 kids attending 30 days or more," she told ESD board members. "Now we have between 35 to 60."
Bulman said school administrators told her school attendance and student participation in other activities such as athletics increased after the after-school program was implemented.
The program also helps students find other ways to contribute to the community, such as the skateboarders she works with who are working on a community skate park.
"They have raised $1,000 themselves selling soda and collecting cans," she said.
Mark Muxen, executive director of instructional support with the ESD, said administrators are happy with the program's results, but the problem is long-term sustainability.
Grant funding only lasts five years at each school, and then the individual school district is expected to continue the programs.
"It's a tough one to replace that kind of money," he said.
Schools that no longer receive grant dollars have managed to continue the after-school program to some extent, usually by providing a place to work on and get help with homework.
The grant at Finley Middle School will expire in May, and Hoppe said portions of her programming will not be able to continue but school officials are working to make sure students still have a place to get help with homework.