New Year at Needham Housing Authority
By Benjamin Pierce
Excitement was jolted into the air once we entered the parking lot with our highly distinguishable white Babson van. The children have clearly locked into their minds that such a van could only mean one thing. The tutors are here!!!
What joy it was to have such a warm welcome, with the students not even willing to wait for us to exit the vehicle before they were smothering us with hugs and hellos. Even those tutors that they were meeting for the first time were not spared the wonderful greeting. Returning for my fourth semester, seeing these students again is a special moment. It is a time where I feel alive, that regardless of how tired, busy, or whatever I am, here is a chance to push it all aside and focus solely on serving these beautiful children. Well, they may not always bring about such emotions of joy and happiness, as can be expected with any child who has been cooped up at school all day and must now come to an afterschool program that concentrates on helping them do more schoolwork. Never less, they keep showing up and I could hope for nothing different.
The first day was all about getting to know each other, having fun, setting expectations, and a little bit of time for homework thrown in there too. The students responded very well to the name game Antoinette Santos and I came up with, where each individual matches an adjective to the first letter of their name and we must all remember each other’s name adjective combination. We next transitioned into a period of community expectations where we had the students set the guidelines for how they were supposed to act for the rest of the year. Of course, all the children had great ideas of how to make sure we had a good learning environment. The problem arises when they decide not to follow the rules that they make for themselves. I guess that is part of our job though, right? If they all did their homework and extracurricular activities without any need of assistance than there would be no reason for us to show up! We ended the day with a fun game of volleyball, as it was a spine-tingling gorgeous day. Rarely are we able to have all the students participate in one semi-organized game, so it was lovely to have so many of us playing together and having fun. I could not have asked for a better start to the year. It is good to be back!