Welcome to After-The-Bell

After-The-Bell is a unique and robust 501(c)(3) after-school program that provides middle school students in the Kennett Consolidated School District with safe, structured, meaningful, and fun activities that promote learning and growth. Since it was founded in 1998, After-the Bell has provided after-school activities to more than 5,000 students at no cost to any student or family, and at no direct cost to taxpayers. This has been made possible due to the generosity and dedication of foundations, local businesses, and community members who have donated both time and financial resources to make a difference in the lives of these children.
Please view our annual report for a complete listing of our supporters.

We are very happy to announce that the Kennett After-School Association, the organization which oversees After-The-Bell, has been awarded the “Platinum Seal of Transparency” from GuideStar. GuideStar is the international information network which benchmarks the transparency and depth of information available regarding thousands of not-for-profit organizations around the world. The Platinum Seal is the highest level awarded by GuideStar, and this seal has been awarded to less than 1% of NFPs worldwide.  We are honored to be recognized for our efforts to provide “the highest-quality, most complete information available.” We recognize that potential donors and supporters value this transparency and our commitment to be forthcoming about the important work we do to provide meaningful, safe, and fun activities for middle school students after school.


On January 19, 1999, eighty middle school students from the Kennett area became pioneers. They were the first to participate in a journey that has spanned 20 years and they have seen close to 6,000 students follow in their footsteps. That journey takes place… AFTER-THE-BELL!

Over the years, these students have participated in countless activities with names like Brain Base, The Lollipop Factory, Awesome Autos, Giving Back, Let’s Make a Movie! and Hands On, Boots in the Water. They have engaged in all manner of sports, cooked dishes from all over the world, learned how to solve crimes using forensics, mastered the latest dance steps, created works of art suitable for framing, and written, directed and starred in their own mini-feature films. Most importantly, they discovered new passions and learned new skills that may well have transformed their lives and their career trajectories.

After-The-Bell began as the brain child of three extraordinarily dedicated and tenacious people who saw a problem in Kennett Square in the late 1990s and set out to solve it. John and Denise Wood, and Marshall Newton were all members of the Episcopal Church of the Advent in Kennett Square. They participated in a listening study to understand and explore challenges faced by local residents. “We became aware of a pressing need in the community,” John and Denise wrote in a 1999 article for the Kendal-Crosslands newsletter. “We were aware that the time of greatest danger for young people in the Kennett Square area and in the towns of America today is the time between 3 and 6 pm—when they are on their own, after school lets out and before most parents come home from work. We had been saying to each other, ‘Let’s do something to meet this need.’”

With the original working title “Three to Six,” John, Denise and Marshall created the model for a program in which all middle school students could attend at no cost, there would be no cost to the school district, and dozens if not hundreds of people would volunteer to share their expertise and their time to keep these students safe and engaged in meaningful activities after school. They imagined that— with the strong support of the Kennett Consolidated School District—individuals, businesses, foundations and organizations would donate money to turn this model into a reality.

Twenty years later, After-The-Bell (so named by one of the original students), is as strong and vibrant as the three founders had envisioned. “I’m not sure they would be surprised at how successful After-The-Bell has been over the years,” said Board President Rudy Karkosak. “They had tremendous, well-founded faith in the spirit and compassion of the Kennett Community and they were confident the program would thrive. But I do think that if they were here with us today, they would feel exceedingly proud of how their statement—Let’s do something to meet this need—has improved the lives of thousands of children for 20 years and counting.”

 Key Program Features

  • six-week Cycles offered on Tuesdays, Wednesdays,
    and Thursdays in the fall, winter,and spring
  • A wide variety of academic, recreational, social,and cultural
    activities to meet the varied interests of middle school students
  • One-on-one homework assistance provided to assist
    students improve their academic performance
  • All services are free to participating students including more than
    50 onsite and offsite activities, healthy snacks, and transportation home

ATB Volunteer Recruitment Article

It’s hard to turn the television or computer on these days without hearing more bad news. Reports about shootings, riots, and acts of terrorism can leave us feeling demoralized and powerless. Most people want to do good things and to make a difference in the world. But sometimes we have no idea where to even begin.
Let me give you an answer to that question: VOLUNTEER!

Find a cause, an issue, a group of people that you really care about and donate your time to improve lives. Read More…