Wednesday evening we had a wonderful event at the church that made me smile. It was the Year-End Picnic for our After School Program. I could hear the excitement in the hall throughout the afternoon, and the children had delivered a hand-colored invitation so I knew what was going on. But, I realized the kids were all making the food for the supper.
When I peeked in the tables were all set with colorful plastic table cloths and decorated with their artwork as centerpieces. Things were not perfect; no one cared. By 4:45 the food was all out on the buffet table and the kids were making more artwork in the back of Monbleau Hall. The After School Program now has 9-10 students every day of the week. They come on the bus from Harwich Elementary and stay until their working parents pick them up.
At 5 p.m. the first parents started to arrive. Debbie Larsson, the Director, and Becky Sullivan, the Teaching Assistant, greeted everyone. The kids hosted their families at their tables and everyone helped themselves to the platters of sandwich fixings and salads.
I circulated and introduced myself to all these new faces. It should not have come as a surprise but every parent and grandparent I met made sure to tell me how much they appreciated this after school program. They talked about how personal the approach was and how happy their children were to be here after school. For some kids, they told me this has been a game changer. One dad told me his son prefers the After School program and asks to skip school and just come here.
What I realized is this program is filling a great need for these families. Kudos to Debbie and Becky for their hard work, consistent care, individual understanding of what the children need, and flexibility. All the parents mentioned how personal the program is. When I circulated I realized how well this reflects on Pilgrim Church. One of the families is interested in Vacation Bible School. One family comes to the Family Friendly Service; another was interested. All seem eager to return in the fall.
Mostly, I liked the energy in the hall last night. A slide show on the screen showed candid photos of kids cooking, painting, playing, learning. Everyone was relaxed, happy and eager to learn more about Pilgrim Church. Debra Hemeon’s vision for this program was in full bloom. What a lovely legacy.
Blessings fellow Pilgrims,
Save the Date: Recognition for Brooke and Tim Canada. Sunday June 24th
Brooke’s last day as our Church Administrator will be June 22 and they are moving to North Brookfield the next week. We will recognize them in worship and at a luncheon in Monbleau Hall. Your cards of appreciation and farewell are most appreciated. There will be a basket at the luncheon.