When I started at Aspire Huntington Park Charter last year, Carlos (a 4th grader) was very shy and reserved. He was a sweet kid who was afraid to show his personality and reach out to others. While his excellent academic skills enabled him to thrive in the classroom, his lack of confidence kept him passing on fun activities and shying away from interactions with others.
This year Carlos was heavily encouraged by his teacher to apply for the Junior Coach program. She believed leadership experience would build his confidence. She understood the benefits of the JC program and was actively looking for students to suggest as a good match. Playworks provides excellent tools to help good intentions like these turn into positive results.
Carlos approached the program timidly, afraid to give directions to other students. He needed constant support from adults or other JCsto run games. Over time, bit-by-bit, he showed more confidence. Carlos learned from the JC trainings and his leadership experience, and was eventually able to run games independently during recess. Participating in these activities created a framework for him to reach-out to others and make more friends.
I met his father at LA Live this year when he came out to ice skate through our partnership with the Staples Foundation, and our conversation made my day. He said that he and his wife had always been trying to pull Carlos out of his bubble, and it's finally happening because of the Playworks programs at our school. He said Carlos is more confident and happy, and that his stories about his accomplishments or exciting parts of his day almost always revolve around recess, class game times and Junior Coaching. He thanked me and said their family is grateful that someone is helping his son to grow socially every day at school.
-By Coach Jesse
Aspire Huntington Park Charter