After The Bell celebrating 25 years

After-The-Bell Founders, John and Denise Wood and Marshall Newton.

The Kennett After-School Association is very proud to announce that it’s program, After-The-Bell, is celebrating 25 years of providing safe, meaningful and fun after-school activities to close to 7,000 adolescent students in the Kennett area.

The celebration will begin on May 12 with the return of the organization’s signature event, A Taste of Kennett. Tickets for the event can be obtained by following this link, or by visiting our website at

The event will be held at 6 pm where it all began, at the Episcopal Church of the Advent in Kennett Square. We will be honoring the vision of three members of the church, John and Denise Wood, and Marshall Newton, who created After-The-Bell when they recognized the need for a safe, nurturing and fun place for adolescent students to go to after school.

A Taste of Kennett began as After-The-Bell’s most successful fundraising event in 2018, but was put on hold when the pandemic began in 2020. The event celebrates the amazing culinary delights that can be found in restaurants and other establishments throughout the region. Local restaurants, wineries and breweries will be donating a variety of food and libations for our guests to enjoy.

“It is such an exciting time at After-The-Bell,” said Executive Director Paola Rosas. “We are honored to have served the children of the Kennett community for a quarter of a century and we look forward to marking this important milestone with a series of great events and commemorations in the coming year, beginning with A Taste of Kennett.”

In 1998, the Woods and Mr. Newton participated in a listening study to explore challenges faced by local residents. “We became aware of a pressing need in the community,” John and Denise wrote in an 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.’”

On January 19, 1999, eighty middle school students who lived in the Kennett Consolidated School District (KCSD) became the first After-The-Bell students. They participated in activities facilitated by caring volunteers who shared their passion and expertise in an incredible variety of fields including science, nature, cooking, animal care, the arts, and community service.

Over the years, our students have participated in countless activities with names like Brain Base, The Lollipop Factory, Hands On Boots in the Water, Awesome Autos, The Giving Garden, Let’s Make a Movie! and our newest activity, 4H Veterinary Science: From Airedales to Zebras. They have engaged in all manner of sports, cooked dishes from all over the world, learned how to solve crimes using forensics, written, directed and starred in their own mini feature films, mastered the latest dance steps, and created works of art suitable for framing. Most importantly, they discovered new passions and learned new skills that may well have transformed their lives and their career trajectories.

In the coming months, After-The-Bell will provide details about additional plans to celebrate the 25th Anniversary. These will include an event for students and volunteers in the fall, outreach to After-The-Bell alumni to determine how the program impacted their lives, and a grant finale celebration in the spring of 2024.

After-The-Bell offers safe and meaningful after-school activities available to all middle school students who reside in KCSD, including those attending Kennett Middle School and those who are home-schooled or attend charter schools. The program is offered at no cost to any student and at no cost to taxpayers. KCSD offers the use of Kennett Middle School to house the program. However all funding for the program comes from foundations, area businesses and community members who support After-The-Bell’s mission.

For further information, please call the After-The-Bell office at 610-268-5889, or email us at

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