Written by Rita Saade
I have been working for Children Services at Many Mansions for a year and a half now. Watching them grow has been such a rewarding experience. I have worked with many of the kids and witnessed them progress. Seeing them struggle in a specific area and positively advance over time shows the important of Homework Club and the importance of what we do.
I am going to share a story of one of our children specifically who I have seen display amazing growth and progress. Her name is Sasha and she is a five-year-old girl. She started attending Homework Club around the time I became the coordinator at the site. She was a new move-in and started attending shortly after arriving at the site. Sasha is an only child and is being raised by a single mom who is pursuing higher education and working hard to give her daughter a good life.
The impact of Homework Club on Sasha was almost immediate. She adapted quickly. Prior to Homework Club, Sasha had trouble sitting quiet and following the rules in school. During her first week, she had to be reminded to sit quietly and listen to announcements. She would want to get up, talk, and fidget with items on the desk. By the second week, though, she started to remind other older members to be quiet during announcements. According to her mother, she also started doing better in school behaviorally and socially.
Although Sasha is still very young, she is at the age where it is essential that she learn skills that will allow her to be successful throughout her educational journey. Children pick up on actions modelled and reinforced around them. At Homework Club, Sasha is seeing, learning, and practicing various skills daily, skills that are needed in the classroom, especially at her age. Since she is an only child, her interaction with other members around her age and older really help her grow socially as well.
Sasha’s progress behaviorally and socially are not the only areas she has shown growth. Sasha has also shown amazing progress in reading. When she first started Homework Club, she struggled with reading and would not sound out words with volunteers reading to her. As of the beginning of December, she started to read out loud and demonstrate ability in recognizing sight words rapidly. She is now excited to read! Targeting Sasha’s reading difficulties at an early age and working on strengthening her reading is important for many reasons. Once a child is behind, it becomes extremely difficult for them to catch up. Literacy issues throughout childhood has an impact on both academic and future success, so we’re very proud of her work.
Watching Sasha grow and experience her successes in various areas reminded me a lot of myself growing up. I am an only child too and at her current age, I was struggling a lot in school socially, behaviorally, and in the areas of reading and math. English was a second language for both my parents which made it hard for them to help me academically. My behavior problems in the classroom was a result of my struggles academically. Socially, since I was an only child, I was not around a lot of kids outside of school which impacted me. My parents were told that if I did not receive extra outside help, I would have to repeat Kindergarten.
My parents found a program that provided the help that I needed, and a positive change was seen fairly quickly. My grades improved, my behavior improved, and my confidence in myself improved. I continue to use the skills I learned throughout my education and in life. Even though I was very young, to this day, I still remember the individuals who helped me. They had such a positive impact on my life and I will always be grateful for them.
I hope all of us who work with Sasha can have a similar impact on her future so that she can reach her full potential. As I mentioned earlier, watching the children grow and progress has been such a rewarding experience. I am thankful to be able to work with these amazing children and have a positive impact on their life in whatever way I can. I look forward to watching Sasha, along with all the other children, continuously grow in various ways with us at Homework Club.