From Touching Miami with Love. . . One of the things I love most about TML is how we change. Yes, we’ve been growing a lot serving more children and youth every day than we ever have in our history with more people on staff as well. But change. . .we adapt and change to meet the needs of our families and the children and youth we serve and I think it’s one of the things we are most proud of. A few years ago we had the opportunity to expand our programming to middle school students. Once a part of the youth program with the high schoolers, parents wanted a program that met every day after school so we changed our ToMorrow’s Leaders Out of School program to incorporate our middle school students as well.
Last summer, we saw that without intervention several of our lowest performing students in school were at risk of failing dangerously behind and so we began The Summer Intensive. We teamed up with a public school teacher, a private school teacher, and a charter school teacher to offer summer school learning during the morning sessions of our summer camp. Learning improved and the kids loved the one on one attention. It was so successful that we are incorporating several of the components into our summer camp for all the children next summer to “keep the learning up” for everyone.
This summer during a wonderful staff retreat where we had the opportunity for the first time since we’ve been at TML (7 years in August), we spent time planning and dreaming for the year to find creative ways to fill in the learning gaps we were seeing in our students. From those sessions we decided to restructure our Enrichment Time and focus those 30 minute sessions four days a week to STEAM activities (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics). Led by staff member, Charity Miller, who brings enormous talent and enthusiasm to everything she does, we began the year with Math. For the first four weeks we focused on Math helping the children remember measurement, time, money math and more while making it fun and interactive. The children measured themselves against objects at TML, “I’m as tall as ½ a cabinet!” and making yummy trail mix measure out ingredients exactly.
Since then the kids have explored keeping their bodies healthy and had a blast creating fruit and veggie smoothie concoctions. They’re learned about animal anatomy and even have two tiny visitors, Chuck & Hammy, Chinese dwarf hamsters staying at TML. We’ve got more great plans in the works and the best part is the change in the children. They not only look forward to see what the next lessons have in store for them, they are attentive and really absorbing the learning. Trina, our program director, says it’s one of the most positive changes we’ve ever done! We’re already making plans for a summer to focus on Engineering with a great new curriculum out of the Museum of Boston and are working with a company to bring Robotics to TML!
Thank you for entrusting us with your gifts, your donations make this learning come alive for the students as most of the supplies for these enrichment activities aren’t covered in any of our grant funding. Thank you for changing along with TML, but never changing in your support of what we’re doing for the children, youth and families of Overtown.