Patchwork Central’s Arts & Smarts program is going strong! Since it began a few weeks ago, many kids have spent afternoons in the tutoring room getting help with their homework and building academic skills. A wonderful group of Junior Leaders have been learning how to be good role models for younger children and how to help influence the group in positive ways. A great group of children and adults has gathered together around the book cart in the library to read together during Book Club, laughing together as they get to the funny parts of their books.
Kids have been working in the studio to construct fantastical creatures using seashells. They’ve been building a sense of community by playing games together. They’ve made connections to their food by harvesting blue popcorn from Patchwork’s garden and popping it on the cob in the microwave. They’ve made connections with the world as they listened to presentations from students from the University of Southern Indiana International Community Service Program (after hearing the USI students talk about their home countries of Tajikistan, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, and Burkina Faso, one child turned to Jane Vickers and declared, “I want to visit all of their countries all in one week!”).
The learning and growth are very important for the children’s future success, but so are the many simple, positive interactions with adults throughout the day here at Patchwork. These are the interactions that stick with children for their entire lives. They are the moments that adults recount to us when they stop in our building decades after their participation in Patchwork’s children’s program and say, “I remember, there was a woman named…what was it? Ruth! Yes!” Or, “There was the guy with the guitar. I remember him!” Or, “Is Miss Jane still here? Wow. I need to stop in and say hi to her.”
Research shows that all of these positive experiences add up and counter any adverse experiences that these children might encounter. Every positive experience matters. Every positive experience counts. No matter who a child is or what they encounter elsewhere in their life, they will find a caring community of adults and youth that they can be part of at Patchwork. It’s one of the things that our Arts & Smarts Program does best.