Wednesday afternoons feel a little different around the Valley campus than they used to. The after school hour delivers 35 enthusiastic young faces running through the parking lot, chattering and smiling. Parents come following in tow, delighted to witness their kids so eager, so happy. The kids can’t wait for their club to start! The buzz has been spreading about VDC’s Family Enrichment Center, The GreenHouse, and its launch of the H2O After-School Club. H2O opened on April 23rd with The GreenHouse’s mission truly in the forefront: to provide a safe place to grow. As families enter the GreenHouse rooms, the atmosphere is quietly alive, charged with enthusiasm.
You’d think the ingredients of clamoring young people and the anticipation of an afternoon of fun would cook up a lot of noise. So many places in our lives are filled with too much noise these days; noise that distracts us from what is really important. But in the H2O After School Club, the kids soak up the peace and sense of purpose. “Work while you work, play while you play. This is the way to be happy each day” the kids are taught. A sense of industry is being awakened and stimulated in their young and impressionable lives.
The Soak Team leads the first hour, from 3:00-4:00pm. It consists of homework help, tutoring, learning projects, silent personal reading and read-aloud story time. The goal of this Soak Hour is for the kids to soak up mentoring and academic guidance, while sparking a pleasant sense of productivity and accomplishment. They experience the principle that hard work can feel really good!
The second hour, from 4:00-5:00pm, is led by the Splash Team and includes fun and action. Activities such as sports, crafts, Legos, board games, playdough, jump ropes, bubbles, puzzles, and playground time are enjoyed with adult mentors. They learn good sportsmanship and teamwork, to collaborate with others on projects, and to finish what they start. Giggles and smiles bubble up from fulfilled kids and saturate the space; because when its time to play, H2O kids do it with a splash!
The GreenHouse has a goal: to cultivate fruitful families by helping them establish an atmosphere that is life-giving and safe, even as harsh storms rage outside. We begin with the kids. H2O is proving that kids thrive in a culture where positive adult attention is plentiful, rules and guidelines are strong and safe, and they are personally challenged to grow, learn and have fun. One mom told us this week,“I never need a reminder call (about H2O), my children don’t stop reminding me.” That sounds like we are on the road to success to me!
-Jenna Livingston, founder of 'The GreenHouse' Family Enrichment Center