Over the past few weeks, I have had the opportunity to meet and feed such a great group of young children.
Though we’ve only spent two short weeks together, I am really starting to see past their shyness and into their playful, kind, and happy spirits. In life, everyone has a quality that they look for in a friend, family member, or individual in general. For me, that is the ability to make the best of what you have, no matter how little or how much that may be.
This is a characteristic that I see in each of these children – and one that I didn’t expect. Every day they are waiting at the door for me to arrive, and I kindly ask them to wait about 10-15 minutes while we prepare their lunches. Of course, they have no problem with waiting and usually run back off to the playground until I reappear at the door, which they know means lunch is ready.
These children say please and thank you, hold the door for each other, open each other’s chocolate milks, and even help clean up when a mess or spill is made – all of which I never asked or expected them to do.
Each and every one of these children are special and have an abundance of potential, and I’m so excited to watch them grow throughout the rest of the summer.
Colette Geiger, Summer Food Counselor
I had no idea that applying for this job would impact me the way it did. As an adult we go into work thinking we need to teach every child something in that day that will make a difference their life but I honestly believe that the kids teach me just as much, if not more. Today, I met a girl named Adelynn. She explained to me how she doesn’t attend the playground on days when there are many kids there because of her anxiety and she doesn’t enjoy large crowds. I shared with her how I suffer from severe anxiety and understand her situation. Not exactly knowing the right words to comfort and encourage her, she swept right in. Adelynn told me: If you tell yourself you can’t do something then you won’t be able to. You have to be strong and have faith in yourself. If keep thinking you can do it, suddenly you will be able to. It’s like magic. You have to be positive. Your mind and heart are the most important things you have, so protect them.
To hear these words from someone so young really inspired me. I had to get a picture with her. Moments like this are why I love spending time with the youth.
– Cheyenne, Playground Instructor
When we met, they were terrified to even get into the water. As long as we held hands, they tried andwe began lessons. Today was our fourth lesson with the group and today they swim with confidence! They will even jump in, if I jump with them hand and hand!
-Hannah Hall, Swim for All Instructor
Throughout the summer, I have greatly enjoyed serving the kids at Harmony Dwellings. Not only do we feed them everyday, we have fun and make memories too. This photo is of Chris and Tavon enjoying their mini corndogs and broccoli.
– VaSone Snowden, Summer Food Counselor
We have a boy in our summer program named William. The first few days of summer camp he seemed unsure, and very defensive toward us and the other kids. He did not want to participate in any of the group activities that we planned and met us with a lot of resistance.
It became very clear that there were probably several reasons for his behavior, and I quickly learned that his mother and two other relatives have passed away within the last year. This boy has experienced so much loss in his short life, and to top it off, he has ADHD, anger issues, and recently told me he has been bullied his whole life.
The progress that William has made in two short weeks is astonishing! I have seen him willingly participate in our activities and make a few friends. I have seen this child laugh and smile, and was told by his aunt that our program is a “god send” and that he loves coming.
This is one of the reasons that I became a teacher, and I am so proud to be a part of an organization that changes children’s lives!
-Nicole, Preschool Director