In the beginning of the year grants and proposals all come out of the woodwork. The need to reapply for monies allocated for community work must be divided and used, and I am fortunate enough to be a part of making this happen. So I was asked about a specific success at a place I volunteer, and I came up with nothing that stood out because…Success of the community does not reside in one child, program, or occurrence. Click To Tweet
It’s not in just one child or teen, or in an age group, or a gender. The success I’ve watched over the past 6 months is in the community.
It’s a place to go after school.
From the first day of arrival, quiet kids arrived in small packs or solo. Filling out forms with nary a wave in the lips- flat lines drawn tight on their faces. Asking questions relayed to them by an adult from home- a parent, an aunt, a grandparent, an older brother. All of these people unable to be home at 3pm and in an avoidance of raising a latch-key generation, these beautiful minds end up here.
They spill into the hall from pickup games of basketball, space-ball, soccer, and volleyball. Where the kids do more than play- they master skills of teamwork, mentoring, and how to interact with adults. Physical control, policing themselves on the courts, and taking constructive criticism from new friends and employees alike, who see how they can improve their jump shots from the sidelines.
Ping pong, Giant Jenga, Connect-4 tournaments, a few games of pool and the kids have brackets set up- learning the power of strategic play and focused energy. Each move played in their heads in a split-second before making a move. And it’s a joy to watch them shake after a game, learning after a few visits to the rec center that we don’t, in fact, condone a yelp of loss.
It’s a warm place to land.
Piles of kids atop old couches, leaning over each other assisting with homework, the older of the bunch lamenting with the younger about their teachers and how it gets better… or doesn’t. Sharing snacks from home and swapping highlighters and pens for drawing.
A lively game of hide-and-seek starts, and suddenly the doors come alive with little bodies shimmed behind them, giggles from the sink as an at-home science assignment to make slime comes together and the hypothesis is proven! A whole crew, heads bowed, as they clean up the mess they’ve made, heads turned as they steal smiles and giggles to each other… secretly enjoying their experiment’s success.
It’s mentors who want to be there.
The Center’s success is one of the most prized because it does not live in one person, or activity, or program. It lies in the community. In the children. In the future. It’s the members of the neighborhoods of CITY that come every week, bring friends, new ideas, camaraderie and opportunity to make an impact across a generation.Define success in your community. Click To Tweet
Gladys parker says
I agree. It is every person that takes part from the board or comity that runs the programs to the volunteers to the children that attend. My children attended after school programs and for the most part loved them.
Gladys parker recently posted…Tigress’s Soft-Side Vet Visit Travel Foldable Pet Carrier from Favorite
I love how you define success as a community! Sometimes we fail to see how much a support system can help!
Drake Conan says
This is amazing. The most important is we need caring community. We need people that who can support us to have as successful communtiy.
Victoria Heckstall says
Success in the community is really important. We should help each other because our community helps us.
Elizabeth O says
This was an inspiring read, I really like how you define success among your community and the place sounds like such fun for the children, especially the giant Jenga! 🙂
This message is so true everywhere. Even in our Facebook groups, the community is what makes it successful. The upbeat and supportive place for people to connect. But it’s true in our schools, our neighborhoods, even our families.
Cindy Gordon says
I mean this is pretty much it. Success is not having all of these things and money; it is having the things in life that you don’t even think twice about.
I agree. You define success not by one individual but by how a group or community supports each other. This sounds like an after-school program I’d like my kids to have. Of course they get to come home to me at 3pm each day, more like 4 here, but still if they had to stay I would want them to be apart of a community like this that would support them and help them thrive.
I think that success is different for everyone. This was a really insightful post and definitely makes you appreciate the people around you!
I love this post. We all know that the basic unit of society is the family and families coming together to help each other will define the success of a community. I would love to see communities that are safe, supportive and self-sufficient.
Joyce Duboise Santos says
Wow this gives me an entirely new outlook on success! They always say it takes a village and it’s definitely the truth!