My name is Marlene Spaulding. I have recently been named the Executive Director of A.B.L.E. Families. We are a sponsored ministry of the Congregation of St. Joseph.
A.B.L.E. Families Afterschool Program serves children who attend K-8. We ask the children from to time to time to share with us how they feel about after school programming, and I want to share with you one of our responses.
Hi my name is Adam. I go to Kermit Pre K – 8. I am in the 6th grade. I have been coming here for a year. I live with my dad. I like coming to Afterschool, because the crafts that we do. One time we made a volcano for a craft, it was cool. Afterschool helps me with math homework when I don’t understand it. The things we learn at Afterschool are respect, and care for each other.
Adam lives about two miles from after-school. He has had a hard life. He lost his mom at a young age. He lives in a trailer lot with his dad, step-mom, brother and a sister. His siblings were already coming to after-school. A teacher called us and asked us if we had room for Adam because she thought that he would benefit from coming here. I am thankful for that teacher, because he really enjoys being with us. As he said he loves the crafts especially the volcano. It was something that he helped create with his own hands. When he first came here you could tell he wasn’t used to someone telling him what to do. He didn’t like the homework time. He would always say he didn’t have any, so we would give him multiplication problems. He has improved on them tremendously. Adam said he learns respect and care for each other. At circle time we encourage Adam to respect others while they are talking and just listen to them. When it comes time for him to speak we ask the other children to do the same for him. We have a book reading day and if the children read six books they can pick a prize from the box. Last week Adam had a wonderful day! He acted as though he didn’t like to read but he finally read his sixth book. He was so excited and he got to pick a football for his prize.
We offer guitar lessons to eight of our children and one of them had dropped out so we had to choose another one. We do this by putting the children’s name in a bag and draw one. Adam really wanted to be a participant and he was so afraid because there were so many of the other children that wanted to too! When we drew his name you should have seen his reaction. He was so excited! Adam had his first practice and the next day after his practice the instructor emailed me and said he was so pleased to have Adam and that the smile that Adam had never left his face during his thirty minutes with him. This is awesome! We also have a basket that we put names of children in that do good things for others or just participated well with each other and at the end of the day we pick two names out and Adam got chosen. All these things happened in one day He sure was a happy boy.
The staff at A.B.L.E. Families is so thankful for the opportunity to make a difference in a child’s life such as Adam. In a world where sometimes life seems bleak, it blesses us that we can bring a ray of sunshine to Adam and others like him. Giving them the tools that they can use in the future to become good citizens in our community!
*note: names have been changed to protect the rights of the children and families served.