On Wednesday, Rain of Hope held our last program session for the academic year at John S. Martinez School in New Haven, Connecticut. During this time, we had the opportunity to chat with some of our shining students and the wonderful faculty regarding the students’ progress and work on their Community Trust Projects.
Essentially, the students developed ideas within their small groups on how to address the overall concept of trust through engaging activities. They worked independently and diligently for weeks, with only oversight from adults, to establish the plans to reach their individual goals. Rain of Hope came in to teach important lessons such as budgeting, planning, and teamwork which helped the students understand how to put on real events that positively impact the community in which we live. Our students remarked on their experiences and major takeaways which highlighted their passion for taking leadership roles, building their confidence, and working among fellow peers with an overall goal of helping others.
Having the chance to speak with a few students while they reflected on how far they had come, we were able to gain a better sense of the enlightening influence that our program continues to have on each individual child. We first met with Rachell and Tenysha, both finishing eighth grade, who created games that emphasized the importance of trust in the home. The girls explained that overall, they both enjoyed helping and inspiring the younger children who participated in their community project. “I have found that my ability to make a difference can come from the simplest of efforts and go such a long way” says Rachell, “I got to build something that was beneficial to those in need.” Rachell’s confidence in the work that she did as Tenysha’s partner was further justified as we heard more from each of them. They spoke to us about their enjoyment in meeting new people, learning important skills, and having the chance to demonstrate their creativity while remaining open-minded for the betterment of the community. “I learned that if I really put my mind to something, I can achieve it” Tenysha explained to us, “A goal is reachable if I am able to stay strong, keep going, and work with others.”
This idea of teamwork was reaffirmed in each question we asked the girls. In that sense, we then asked them to apply their takeaways to their own lives and how Rain of Hope was able to play a role in their perception of being triumphant through difficult times. Tenysha outlined it well for us when she remarked that “this program was effective for [her] and the community.” Furthermore, she mentioned that “no other after school programs that are offered to [her] and [her] peers prepare [them] for real life.” This quote stuck with us…
Rachell then commented on this idea of the positive impact that Rain of Hope has had on her and her peers’ lives. She explained that “when [they] struggled, [they] had Rain of Hope to rely on and remind [them] that they always had a support system.” She then told us that “knowing and seeing how people were there to help was a new experience, especially for [her].” In that regard, Tenysha concluded our discussion by emphasizing that “when [they] have the opportunity to be in the Rain of Hope program, [they] are on track for greatness and they are never alone.”