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Stories with Friends: Part 13

Summertime, Adventure Time

Friend/mentor Sarah loves summertime. Not just because of the adventures she goes on with her dog, Teton, but also because it allows for more time and flexibility in her outings with her girls. Sarah loves to introduce her girls to new adventures.

For example, she and Alexis recently attended a fishing event for children. They taught Alexis how to hold the pole, learn to cast, and put a worm on a hook. Alexis had never been fishing before and afterward said, “You never know if you like something until you try it!”

Sarah saw great Self-determination (a Friends of the Children core asset) in Alexis that afternoon--trying hard, observing others, and learning something new even though she did not catch any fish. Afterwards, Alexis said she wants to go fishing again soon.

That same week Sarah took Katie to play tennis for the first time. Katie was frustrated at times as it took time to learn the basics. At one point, she mentioned she had another game she wanted to teach Sarah. Sarah was happy to take a break and play a new game, but Katie decided to stick with tennis. Saying, “Let’s keep trying this, I can teach you another time.”

In both instances Sarah experienced summertime adventures bringing new opportunities for Self-determination and Growth Mindset (another core asset taught in the program) for her girls. It is a great reminder that learning and growth go beyond the classroom, and we are excited for all the opportunities summer brings!

A Complete Turnaround

When asked which Core Asset he thought best described his past year with Seamus, Friend/mentor Joe said, “hope.” Seamus struggled early on in Kindergarten. He was falling behind in reading and writing because he spent much of his time outside of the classroom due to behavioral issues. Seamus was eventually transferred to a behavioral health school which isolated him from his friends, making him feel alone.

Fast forward to the end of first grade, Seamus went from a Level 0 in reading to Level 14 in one year. Seamus is no longer on the outside looking in, he has transitioned back to his regular school where he is back with his friends and has been given more responsibility. As Joe says with a big smile on his face, “He’s made a complete turnaround and is back on track.”

Joe goes on to say, “When things were at their toughest, Seamus didn’t have the skills to articulate his needs, but what he wanted most was connection. Through his growth he has come to see himself as someone who has value, and that has been beautiful to watch.”

Perseverance & Grit

Last month, Friend/mentor Ashley attended Deer Creek’s kindergarten graduation where two of her youth were graduating. It was an awesome affair, with the kids singing songs, receiving diplomas, and celebrating their achievements. Following graduation, Ashley attended their classroom party. The kiddos were so excited to see her as they celebrated an awesome achievement together.

Reflecting on the day, Ashley describes the importance of our Core Asset, Perseverance and Grit, in their success. They both started the year off without any school experience and kindergarten can be really tough. It requires focus and difficult learning, both socially and academically. Yet, both persevered, worked hard, and it paid off.