When the returning AmeriCorps members told how much growth we would see in the kids that we will be working with this year, I believed them. I could see the pride and joy these coaches had as they shared stories of complete transformations from out-of-control children to valuable members of their playground community. What I had mistakenly believed was the time frame in which these changes would occur. I figured it would take months for me to truly see the good that I was doing in this community. I just knew it would take even longer for the teachers to attribute these positive results to the Playworks program.
I was pleasantly proven wrong in my first week at school. A new teacher by the name of Ms. Barron came up to thank me. She pointed out one of her fifth graders on the four-square court and said that Josè had not been participating in class for the first few days. He sat alone at lunch. He was new at the school and did not immediately click with the other students. She thanked me for setting up an environment that was inclusive and inviting students like Josè to play. She said that the very day that he started playing four-square his whole demeanor changed. He was chatting with other students at lunch and paying more attention in class. It had only been about a week working with the students.
This kind of feedback so early in the school year gets me excited for next year. If others and I can witness this change in a week, I can only imagine what we will look like after ten months of service to the community.