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Next Up after-school program provides opportunities for Richmond students

RICHMOND, Va. -- Middle school is a time when young people’s lives can go right or wrong. Keeping them on the right path is the goal of the after-school program Next Up.

Instead of acting out, students can learn about acting from a local theater group. There are also classes in swimming, computer skills, cooking, and more.

Dozens of kids at Henderson, Boushall and Lucille Brown middle schools attend the program.

"The kids love it," Henderson Middle School Principal Cynthia Heckstall said. "You know, they come to school because they want to go to Next Up. They don't necessarily want to go to Math or English, but they want to go to Next Up."

Henderson Middle School Principal Cynthia Heckstall

Barbara Sipe, Executive Directorof Next Up, said the program has provided opportunities for students to explore interests, express themselves, and just have fun.

Barbara Sipe is the Executive Director of Next Up

"It's in middle school that we are learning who we are, what we're about, what our interests are.  It's all about exploration.  And our kids are either going to explore positive or negative interests."

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Building Better Minds airs Wednesdays on CBS 6 at 6 a.m. and 6 p.m.