The After School Program
The After School Program
By Anya Delaremore
Imagine you are a parent and your only child is preparing to enter elementary school for the first time. It’s the first morning. You’ve packed their backpack with brand new supplies. You laid out their clothes the night before. Maybe you made their favorite lunch or put a fun snack into their bag. You both wake up bright and early, eat breakfast, and hit the road right on time.
As you approach the school, your child begins to show first day nerves. They may shake or hold their bookbag tight at the shoulder straps or to their chest. Maybe they ask you a lot of “what if” questions as if you can predict how the day will go. When you stop the car, you reassure them that everything will be ok. You give them a warm hug and some loving pats on the shoulders. You tell them you’ll be right outside when the day ends. When they get home, you’ll already have a hot dinner prepared to melt away the day. The two of you smile. You try to show a positive face, but on the inside you’re just as nervous for them. All your preparation as their parent has come to this. You watch them disappear into the crowd of students.
Whether you are a real parent or not, we all can relate to the stress that comes with preparing for a new experience. Unfortunately, a parent who just relocated their family to the USA would find this scenario even more stressful. Fortunately, Catholic Charities Atlanta, the non-profit that assists families with resettlement, the citizenship process, and more offers an after school program for young refugee children entering the American school system. This program partners with Indian Creek Elementary School and focuses on families in the Clarkston area of East Atlanta. The goal of the program is to ease new students into the American school system within a safe and uplifting environment. They offer homework help, extra tutoring, enrichment, and activities that encourage self expression. Nasra Yonis, the Refugee Youth Education Coordinator; Chelsea Driver, the Refugee Youth Education and Support Specialist; and Laura Campos, a volunteer from the Notre Dame AmeriCorps run the program. They desire for each student to build lasting memories in the program and leave feeling empowered and confident for the years to come.
Catholic Charities Atlanta’s After School Program operates from October to May. Yonis, Driver, and Campos work with an average of 15 to 20 volunteers a week. They host over 25 students from 2:30 to 5:00pm Mondays thru Thursdays. Due to Covid-19, the team is working on finalizing a virtual alternative to the traditional in-person setting. So be on the lookout for specific details in the months to come.
If you are interested in volunteering or you have online teaching experience, the ASP team is always accepting new volunteers. We encourage you to reach out because we need your innovative ideas to continue helping students this school year. This pandemic will not stop us from making a difference in a child’s life.
If you have any questions or inquiries, Contact Chelsea Driver at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Anya DeLaremore is an administrative assistant by day, frequent writer by night. She earned her BA in English at the University of West Georgia in May 2019. She currently studies copywriting and nonprofit grant writing. She loves taking long walks, admiring art, listening to music, and learning new things.