Angelina opened up to me quickly at our first after-school program. While it was obvious she felt like an outsider, she came forth and spoke to me about her doubts at the end of the day.
The next time Angelina arrived at Ocean Beach, she jumped right in. By no means an expert, she felt confident and offered her knowledge to other students to help them get ready. She shared tricks that AmeriCorps members had taught her like wetting wetsuit booties to get them on more easily. By the time we were on the water in kayaks, she was laughing and joking with her peers. By arming her with some simple assurance and tips to make HER the expert, we had given her that little boost of confidence. For Angelina, this may have made the difference in her middle school experience.
Angelina comes to program each week smiling and sharing her energy with those around her. NESS programs are a place where ALL students feel welcome and at home. I believe that from this foundation, we can build a truly strong community of learners, leaders, and high achievers.