Our AmeriCorps team at Generations of Learning in Woonsocket has spent the winter thus far doing everything possible to immerse ourselves 100% in our site, Coleman Elementary School.
Our purpose as AmeriCorps members is to do everything possible to be there for our students, and help them to succeed academically. Our goal is to help provide them with a school environment that is conducive to learning; where they can be themselves, feel safe, and know that the people around them care.
Over the winter break one of our members, lovingly referred to as “Mimi”, painted an amazing mural in the cafeteria of our school. She is an incredible artist, and the response to her mural was wonderful. The students were not only excited and fascinated, but grateful.
For our Martin Luther King Jr. Day project, our team spent hours scrubbing down the boys and girls bathrooms outside of the cafeteria. Mimi also gave the doors a couple of fresh coats of paint, and she even painted plaques on each door for the girls and the boys. I had quite a few students tell me how much they appreciated everything we did and how beautiful they found the plaques to be.
We are currently in the second session of our after-school program in which our members are offering classes ranging from Robotics and Mad Science, to Movin’ and Groovin’ and Crochet. Most students are truly enjoying their experiences in the program because it gives them the opportunity to let loose, be kids, and learn amazing things in fun and innovative ways.
It broke my heart not very long ago, when a third grade student approached me to tell me that she wishes her school could afford playground equipment and technology. She said, “Our school is poor. It’s hard to say, but it’s true; we’re poor.” I didn’t know how to respond.
I know that a beautiful mural, clean bathrooms with freshly painted doors, and an enjoyable after school program are not a playground or technology, but I believe that what our AmeriCorps team is doing for Coleman is truly making a difference for these students, and helping them to realize that there are people out there that care about them. It’s not always an easy job, but it is one that we love doing and will continue to do: for the students.