As the new year gets underway, the children in our North End neighbourhood return to school and their regular routine. For dozens of these children, that routine includes the Learning and Fun Afterschool Program! When they here at Welcome Inn, the children have the chance to enjoy a nutritious snack, get some help with their homework, improve their financial literacy AND be supported by a mentor. (Oh, and of course they get to have lots of fun with friends, too!)
Thanks to Student Open Circles, the children are all lined up with a mentor, most of whom are students at McMaster University. It’s a great partnership that we have with Student Open Circles! The children are encouraged in their academic work and supported in their personal development, and the university students have the opportunity to gain valuable experience in working with children and learning more about what it’s like to grow up in our North End neighbourhood. Here’s a recent reflection from one of the students connected to Student Open Circles:
I have learned that poverty and social issues in Hamilton have an enormous impact on children. When I first met my mentee, she reminded me of my own sister, who is around the same age as her. Ass I got to know her better, though, I learned about her school and neighbourhood environment, which is surprisingly different from what my sister experiences. I had a chance to understand the issues and challenges her and her peers at school face and how it affect them. Despite having few role models that have pursued a university career, my mentee wants to go to McMaster and become a nurse when she grows up. Hearing this made me incredibly happy and gave me hope that volunteering at LAF can help inspire and guide these children as they pursue their dreams.
At the beginning of this new year, we wanted to send a huge shout-out to one of our most valuable partners. Thank you, Student Open Circles! Your ongoing support of our vibrant children’s program is much appreciated.