On Mondays and Fridays I have the opportunity to work with the kids in our After School Group. They come every day at three, to work in a different area of personal development through creation. On Mondays they work on acting skills, and on Fridays they cook a meal to share together. Fridays are my favorite, because I get to see the kids I have gotten to know collaborate in the kitchen and eventually come around the table to share the food they made together, which I think is a calming and empowering way to end the week with the group. Nutrition, cooking, and sanitation aside, the real lesson being taught on “Foodie Fridays,” in my opinion is one of my favorites: how to enjoy feeding each other. How to put a meal on the table with, and for others. How to collaboratively make a family moment happen.
This past week I had the pleasure of seeing the kids almost every day. One day they worked with one of our board members, D’vorah, to make flower bouquets for the elderly patients she serves through her non profit, Mending Spirit. Continuing on the flowers-for-others theme, they made paper flowers for the cast members of our yearly Winter Sort of Thing, before they went to see the show. They even got to act out the first scene of the musical together, learn how to block a scene, and acclimate themselves to the joys of theater production.
The best part is getting to watch them get going. While they arrive hungry and frustrated after a day at school, bickering with each other on the way through the door, reluctant to go through more instruction, once they get into their project for the day, they each really take off in their own way. Whether the less talkative few become more agreeably social, or the more rambunctious ones become hyper-organized and take charge of making things run smoothly, you can tell they really enjoy being here. Wednesday through Friday, I got to spend enough consecutive time with them to realize that I’ve really gotten to know them over the past two months, and that I love watching them learn to do well in both artistic expression and willful kindness.
Their big upcoming project idea is to make a YouTube Channel, and to have another public event like their popular “mystery dinner theatre” that they did in the fall, so keep your eyes and ears open for some assuredly fun videos and events from our talented After School Group!