Jane Vickers stood in Patchwork’s kitchen cutting fresh fruit for the day’s snack and watching the group of kids and adults moving together to the music of a Hawaiian song.
“There’s a lot more than dance going on out there,” she reflected. “And more than just bikes last week.”
Yes, there is a lot of laughter and activity as the Dance Week participants try different styles of dance and practice different ways of moving their bodies. They are having fun and doing something they enjoy, and that’s great. But there’s more to it than that.
There is the teenager who belongs to a family of immigrants. Her family’s case worker called Patchwork because she was looking for a place for the teenager to learn English and someone suggested calling Patchwork. We don’t offer English lessons for kids, but now the girl is participating in our summer programming where she can learn from other children and she’s getting extra English lessons at Patchwork from Camila Scavuzzo who has taught Spanish lessons here for more than a decade.
Camila has been impressed with how quickly the teenager is learning. The girl has also gotten more comfortable at Patchwork and with the other children. As a result, she has already grown more confident and she is able to be a good Junior Leader who, like all Junior Leaders, leads the younger children by example. The teenager has also had an opportunity to be a kid and to have fun.
There is also the boy who, as a graduate of the 5th grade, is just now old enough to be a Junior Leader himself. He has lots of energy and sometimes it’s hard for him to focus, but during Dance Week he discovered that he was the oldest of four extremely energetic boys. It was his moment to step up and lead. It was a new role for him and he sometimes forgot the example he was supposed to be setting, but in the end he did a great job with his new responsibility.
The fun, these lessons, the leadership experience–these are all things that the children will carry with them through their lives. Just last week, a man in his 20’s stopped by Patchwork to leave a message for Jane. When he was a child, he worked with a special volunteer at Patchwork to write stories and print them for other people to read. During his visit last week, he dropped off a new story he’d written and said, “Give this to Jane. I want her to see that I’m still writing stories. Patchwork is where I discovered my passion for writing.”
May Patchwork help all children find their passions.