Kennett After-School Association mourns death of founder John Wood
● By Lev
On Oct. 13, the board of directors and friends of the Kennett After-School Association (KASA) issued a statement about the death of John Wood, who was the final original founder of the organization and the After-the-Bell program.
Wood passed away on Oct. 9, more than 16 years after he joined with his wife, Denise, and Marshall Newton, all members of the Episcopal Church of the Advent, to establish KASA in response to a church study that identified concerns about the welfare of middle school children in the Kennett area who did not have access to after-school options.
After-the-Bell (which was named by one of the first students to participate in the program) has provided more than 4,000 adolescents with activities including science, reading, writing, music, art, sports and community service. The program is free for families and taxpayers.
“John was a gentle visionary who cared deeply about this community and its children,” said Dr. Rudy Karkosak, president of the KASA board of directors. “Together, John, Denise and Marshall recognized a problem and found a solution that was both unique and sustainable. After-the-Bell has touched the lives of so many children over the years, often helping them to find the path that has led to success in education and in life. In his final years, John continued to be a wonderful friend to After-the-Bell. His presence will be sorely missed, however, his legacy will live on in the spirit of each child who passes through our doors.”
In the fall of 2013, Wood attended a ceremony marking the 15th anniversary of After-the-Bell. At the event, KASA announced the creation of the Founders Fund, a donation program created in honor of John and Denise Wood and Marshall Newton. The fund will ensure the long-term sustainability and growth of the program.