A few weeks ago, myself and a few other staff got some quality time with the middle school members. During the week, the art room lead, Chelsea, sat down with a very quiet girl who often sat by herself, not doing much if anything, watching the other middle school members chase each other around. Although Anna, the quiet girl, seemed content on her own, we often questioned if she was bored or not, for months, lead staff persisted she go to the MAC center, go to the art room for free draw, go to the tech lab, or even play whatever we had going on in the games room. She denied our efforts every time, but when Chelsea found her love for drawing, she quickly latched onto her talent. Anna opened up to Chelsea quickly, and they spent time every day that week drawing together. Now Anna goes to the MAC center when it’s offered just after she gets here and play games with her new friends, but she spends most of her time in the art room. It was wonderful to watch Anna go from only saying yes or no, to greeting her favorite staff every day happily. I hope she continues to open up to more staff around the club and go out of her comfort zone more.
- Jourdan Snyder (Games Room Lead)
The other day, Seth asked me why I was so nice; the conversation that followed was rather deep. He spoke about certain aspects of his home life and how he realizes that he is clever, but never is acknowledged for it and this makes him feel not so confident. I know what this is like all too well as my own parents were the same. I had a good talk with him about my own past, the things that I have had to endure and how I personally found the strength and the courage to get “out of my comfort zone” and give things a try. He was interested in what I had to say and I could see in his eyes that he was absorbing everything. He said that he would love to do what I have done and that he felt like there was light at the end of the tunnel. This was a really nice conversation and I felt that I had given him some extra confidence and nurture.
- Janine Harte (Teen Education Lead)
There is a girl at the club named Caitlyn and she is an amazing 13-year-old girl with Down Syndrome. Caitlyn is sweet, friendly and can make any person’s day! I greet Caitlyn everyday even when she doesn’t want to say anything back. At times, she can be very timid to the point where she doesn’t want to participate in any of the activities. Caitlyn tends to just sit on the bench and observe what the other members are doing. Every Friday in the Games Room, we throw a dance party and last week I had noticed that Caitlyn got off the bench and moved to sit at the tables closer to the dance party. I got closer to Caitlyn and noticed that she was tapping her foot to the beat of the music. I knew right then that Caitlyn wanted to dance but was too shy to get up and do it. I went over to her and asked if she wanted to dance with me. Caitlyn stood up quickly and answered “Yes!” I held her hand and brought her to the center of the dance floor. Once the song started playing, Caitlyn and I started to jam out together. Caitlyn was spinning in circles and singing aloud; I could just tell she was happy because of the big smile on her face. Seeing Caitlyn dance was the highlight of my day because I saw so much personality in her. The best part was when other members wanted to join in with her! We all held hands and danced to the music and I could tell Caitlyn enjoyed that the other members wanted to dance with her. Caitlyn didn’t have a care in the world and that is what I wanted to see. Caitlyn now speaks to me more and more every day. She is more involved in the club and I am glad that she feel comfortable to do things with us. One of the most important parts of my job is to make sure that members feel included. I love these youth and having more kids join me for programming is an honor. Caitlyn is a great dancer and I hope she joins us ever Friday for our dance parties.
- Raynna Jackson (Games Room Staff)