Respite Program – This past year, our respite program has seen growth not only in our numbers served, but also in our staff as we have added several young talented people.
We have enlarged our program further in Greene County and remained as steady as ever in Columbia County. This program benefits the youth being served as well as the entire family. I am looking for new potential Respite/Skill Builders as a couple of my staff are moving on to new opportunities.
If you know of any positive, outgoing and energetic people looking to make a difference who might be interested, please have them contact me.
Catskill After-School Program – The 2015-16 school year is rolling towards its end; however, to look back on the program this year is to view tremendous growth from all of the youth socially, emotionally and academically.
This program has provided structure, challenge and excitement that is needed for a student but is sometime difficult to find in a school day or even in the home.
An example would be when a student’s grandmother called me several times before the program even began. She was anxious and excited about her grandchild, diagnosed with autism, who also deals with gluten allergy and social anxiety, coming into the program.
She felt he might not be able to make it through the program as it might be too difficult. After reassuring her of our capability as a program as well as the strengths the program can provide, she agreed. Needless to say, this student grew so much this year in every way. Sure there were struggles, but he met them all head on. Now Grandma is already talking about next year and how much she needs this program.
The programs are designed to address the needs of children, parents, teachers and the community. When children have quality childcare, the entire community will benefit. The children learn from their early experience with community service that doing something for others connects them in a very special way to the world outside of themselves.
Besides the usual structure and socialization opportunities that the program offers, we are fortunate enough to be able to present some really great opportunities for youth in the form of the “arts”. The program works with a wonderfully talented and warm-hearted yoga/theater instructor.
This year she worked with both our K-2 group and 3-5 group in a beginners yoga instruction, which we were able to run once a week for both groups with a total of about 45 participants. Some loved it, some did not and others really came around to it so much we had them buying their own mat. One thing is for sure; they all tried something outside their comfort zone and for that experience alone it was worth it.
Dance was another session offered that really allowed out youth to participate in something that inspired their creativity. Again, we were lucky to bring in a super dance instructor that has a very special way with youth. Groups get together and depending on their preference, can create a dance routine or just freestyle dance, but all while learning the basics of dance. This year we were able to have two sessions a week-one for K-2 and one for 3-5 grade youth.
Homework club is offered every day; by completing homework before going home, family life may be less stressed and parent-child relationships may develop on something other than homework.
Submitted by: Mike Hawksby, Program Director