Last Thursday evening, our Arts & Smarts program celebrated the many successes of the past school year during our End of the School Year Celebration.
We celebrated the kids who improved their reading, who improved their math, who made great art, and who faithfully attended our programming. We celebrated the volunteers who, as part of our programming all year, showed the kids that they care, built relationships, and encouraged the kids to do even better in school and in life. We celebrated our staff who always put their hearts into their work and who care deeply for every kid who comes to Patchwork.
The evening began with the kids leading art tours for their families. With pride, they pointed out the artwork that they made and told their families how they made it. Then it was time for a pizza party courtesy of Heady’s Pizza and the Heady’s Heroes program that recognized our dedicated Arts & Smarts volunteers. While everyone enjoyed their pizza, Jane and Dixie handed out awards for volunteers and kids. When each child’s name was called, they beamed as they came forward for their award. There was a bike for the excited tutoring participant with the most improved grades. There was trophy for the grinning girl with the second best Arts & Smarts attendance and a sketchbook for the girl with the best attendance–each award chosen by our staff to fit each girl’s interests and personality.
Our Celebration concluded a year of growth, development, and excellent programming. On one of the last days of activities for the year, one of the quieter girls in the group felt safe enough to share with the other kids that she’s been feeling sad and lonely because her best friend moved away. The group listened, and right away another girl asked the first girl if she wanted a hug. Soon, the kids had initiated a group hug (with an “air high fives” option for those who didn’t want to hug). At the beginning of the year, many of the children in the group did not know each other, but now they are here to offer support for one another.
The impact of Patchwork’s programming will continue through these children’s lives. Just this week, a man stopped by Patchwork and stuck his head into the Executive Director’s office. He asked, “What do you use this room for?”
John told him, “It’s the director’s office, so just administrative stuff.”
The man responded, “My dad used to bring me here when I was a kid. We called this the Rainbow Room.”
John realized, “That’s right! This used to be the art room.”
The man continued, “I remember the guy who played guitar, too. Thank you for keeping this place up. It takes a big heart,” and then he went on his way.
Some day, I hope the kids we celebrated last Thursday will stop through Patchwork just to see what we’re up to. If they do, I know they will feel the love from their childhood still in this place.