I realized that it's time for me to blog again (I am trying to blog at least one time each month), but I couldn't decide what to write about. I also realized that it had been a while since I had posted any new videos on the website, so that sparked an idea - my blog and video would be similar. And I would let the children tell the story!
We have been open as a Remote Learning Center for a month now and, despite a few bumps along the way, things are going well. We are only serving a small number of students due to a limited number of volunteers (we need a certain number per room and, with social distancing, we would need to use two more rooms in order to serve any more students, which means we would need four more volunteers - which we simply don't have).
Whenever I get frustrated by the fact we can't help more students or the school system keeps changing their mind about when students will go back for in-person instruction (which will have no effect on us because all of the families we serve have decided to stay with virtual learning), I look at the students that we are serving, and I feel some relief.
I decided to ask the students how they felt everything was going, because sometimes a fresh perspective is all we need to change the way we see the world. In my conversations with them they did complain about the tutoring activities (worksheets, drill and practice activities, reading a book, or even on-line learning games) we insist they must do before they are allowed to do crafts or other fun activities for the afternoon... but some of them also thanked us for those activities and for the individualized attention that we are able to give them because our numbers are small. With so few students our volunteers are able to focus on students who are struggling with certain skills and really stick with them as they work on those skills - what a blessing! Students also love the crafts they get to do with one of our volunteers who donates not only her time, but often the craft materials as well. And, students love the time they get to play outside with their friends. They love that one of our volunteers is a man who is as tall as the swing set, a man who is happy to push them "higher"! on the swings each week. And they thrive with the love and attention that we offer them at Open Arms.
So I want to take a moment to thank our volunteers and the folks who donated school supplies, art supplies, soccer equipment, and more. Your gifts are making a difference. If you are interested in volunteering, please contact me. If you would like to help us financially, you can either donate directly or you can purchase items on our Amazon wishlist.
Now I encourage you to watch the video of the interviews I did with the children so you can hear in their own words about their time at Open Arms.