This September, the Learning and Fun after-school program welcomed two new faces to our Grades 5-8 group. These young men, brothers, were new to the area and, after joining in our Summer Day Camp, their parents decided that Welcome Inn was the best place for them to continue into the school year. Unfortunately, the circumstances surrounding the brothers’ coming to the North End came with much transition. Jake and Phillip had to move from their familiarity of their home, their school and their friends in Stoney Creek. It was a lot of difficult change in a short time for both boys.
However, the kids’ participation in LAF was able to aid in this transition by providing additional support and community. During their time here, Jake and Phillip have connected quite strongly with their McMaster mentors, made new friends, felt a part of a safe community, and found a place to share their talents.
Jake loves visual art and often spends his free time at LAF creating new pieces and experimenting with different art materials found in our crafting cabinet. One of the highlights for this budding artist was having some of his work featured and win a prize in a local art competition this past winter. He beams with pride whenever he speaks of it and has shared his award with teachers and friends.
Phillip is happiest playing board games with his mentors or working on the computer. He shares that his favorite thing about LAF is saving his allowance as part of our Financial Literacy Program. He is much more confident around his peers than when he started in the Fall, all thanks to the care and attention of his mentors. Mom reports he is thriving academically and socially, already showing progress at a higher age level then at the beginning of the school year.
Despite a difficult move and many changes at home, Mom shares, “Thank you. Your program has been amazing!” She attributes a part of her sons’ success to the lessons taught at LAF, lessons beyond math and literacy; lessons of friendship, respect, and healthy boundaries. We can’t wait to see how Phillip and Jake will continue to succeed and grow here as our year progresses.