We’ve completed our first month of Arts & Smarts children’s programming for the academic year, and things are going well. Dixie has a good number of tutors including some new volunteers, some familiar faces, and some new education students from the University of Southern Indiana. Outside of tutoring, the kids have been busy helping prepare snack, playing games, doing reverse tie dye, creating ceramic faeries and gnomes, and learning about the elements and principles of design. Every Wednesday, they’ve also gotten to meet a van full of international students from the University of Southern Indiana.
Some nice stories from the year so far:
Jane has been hiding faeries and gnomes inside and outside of the building for the kids to find. They might be tucked under a step or under a stool or in the foliage of a plant. It’s like a scavenger hunt. She’s instructed the kids to bring her the figures whenever they find them and reports that the kids present their finds with joy and pride.
One day, Jane brought a girl into the main office where Dee was working. The girl was in tears because she is new to the program and it was the first day that her grandma had dropped her off rather than waiting in the library for the program to end. The girl felt a little scared to be here without her grandma. While the girl was in the office, she started to look around and saw all the cat pictures around Dee’s desk. “You like cats?” she asked Dee. Dee loves cats. The two started talking about cats and the girl started to feel better. Jane reflects, “I came back into the office, and she was a different kid. She was sitting on the seat of Dee’s wheelchair happily chatting about cats.”
Dixie reports one mom who eagerly asked, “When does tutoring start?” She’s a single mom who has to juggle four active kids, homework, and supper every evening. The tutoring program is the closest she can come to being in four (or maybe five) places at once. Dixie also reports another mom who showed Dixie the A her daughter got in a class. Dixie said, “She was so excited she wanted me to see it, and she felt like tutoring has made a difference.”
Finally, I’d spent an afternoon documenting the program, communicating with donors, writing grant applications, and various other behind the scenes things that keep Patchwork running. I was sitting at my desk behind papers and files and notes when I heard a little, “bye bye.” I looked over the top of a desk organizer, and realized one girl had made it a point to stop in my office door to wish me a happy farewell. I can’t think of better encouragement as I went back to work.