Summer Fun!July 8th, 2022 | By Nishi Arora, Assistant Director SHARE
Education for Life (EFL) is a program that offers resources and support to the children in the community.
Summer vacation and fun go hand-in-hand. It's a break from routine, a time to de-stress and relish every moment... until it is time to get ready for the new school year. For everyone at the Education for Life program (EFL), it's Summer Fest time! This is a week filled with activities, learning, and laughter for students from pre-school to teens. This community program involves neighborhood children and their families in planning, organizing and running the activities.
Meetings began a month in advance to brainstorm and prepare. The festival gave the kids a platform to perform, learn and share new skills. Everyone was very pleased to see how the program has grown and the high level of enthusiasm and involvement of both parents and children. It's a great way to be in touch with the community's needs, concerns and opinions and to have a positive impact. Our planning sessions produced lots of ideas! The activities were narrowed down and the choices were presented to all the children. The children then indicated on a form which activities they wanted to participate in. Some older children volunteered to help plan, organize and guide the younger students.
Over the course of the week there were many different activities to challenge the participants. Some sessions focused on arts and crafts, such as using recycled materials to make colorful flower pots. Another exercise combined research and craft as the teams made models representing the "cycle" of foods from production to home. One group followed seafood from fishermen to vendors, with marvelous models depicting a blue ocean, delivery trucks, market stalls and lots of tiny clay fish. Others detailed the growth, processing and packaging of potato chips, watermelon and more. There were also art therapy sessions, which utilized drawings and interviews to explore emotions and gain personal insights.
There were many other events and many different challenges. Some challenges were physical, including exercise and dance. Groups prepared and put on skits on assigned themes. Outdoor events featured fun contests such as paper cup towers, spoon races and book balancing. These challenged the children to design strategies and work on balance and hand-eye coordination. As a special treat the film Encanto was screened, complete with tickets and popcorn! Aside from its catchy music and colorful animation, this movie dealt with some issues relevant to the children's lives. Many can identify with the burden of making your family proud, accepting your imperfections, communication, and recognizing trauma's effects.
There also was an awareness session on bullying. At times children have difficulty understanding the difference between playful bickering and bullying. Bullying and name-calling is getting more common and it is negatively affecting a child's ability to learn as well as their self-image. This discussion was the first step in a comprehensive anti-bullying program.
Summer Fest ended with a flourish on Culmination Day. The children wore colorful attire as their parents and community cheered them on. The celebration gave EFL the chance to show and share with the community the kind of work they are doing. Many talents were on display as children performed a dance they had choreographed, recited poems, and displayed many of their creations. The children's eagerness and enthusiasm were inspiring for all. EFL received strong support from the community, which made them feel accepted and appreciated. The most important approval was from the students and their families, and EFL looks forward to having a positive impact for the foreseeable future.