From time to time, the kids from Star-C (at Willow Branch) can experience activities in addition to the normal after-school activities offered by Star-C at Willow Branch. Last year, they had the opportunity to support our Braves, as most of them watched their very first baseball game. On Saturday, August 26, 2017, they attended a soccer game featuring the Atlanta Silverbacks and Lowcountry United. The kids of Star-C smiled, laughed, cheered and jumped up and down as they watched the Silverbacks play a game that mimicked the essence of teamwork, which is one of the core values taught in the after-school programs at Star-C. At the end of the game, the team was gracious and extended their time to sign autographs for the kids. It’s always exciting to see the looks on the kids’ faces when they can experience activities outside of their everyday norm! Thank you to the Atlanta Silverbacks for donating tickets, to our Board member, Terry Kidder, for making this outing possible and to our volunteers for helping the kids have a safe and fun event!
“If we are to have peace on earth, our loyalties must transcend our race, our tribe, our class and our nation; and this means we must develop a world perspective.” (Martin Luther King, Jr.)
Our Afterschool coordinator Allie partnered with her church Northlake Church of Christ to give the children at Willow Branch the opportunity to learn why peace is such an important topic. “Peace Playground” was an event held at Willow Branch every Wednesday over the summer for kids of all ages to come together and share how to be a good neighbor. The focus was the principles of peace from Martin Luther King, Jr., which include: “a loving community makes a peaceful world,” “fight bad things, not bad people,” “be peaceful when others are not because that is the peaceful world we want,” “be peaceful on the outside and inside” and “the whole world is on the side of justice.” For each principle, there was a story that gave an example of that principle, and the children then broke up into groups where they expressed the principle through different forms of art like art, dance, singing and acting. Each group created a banner that represented their principle, presented their banner to the rest of the group, and the event ended with ice cream and dancing! Although this was the last event for the summer program, all the children at Willow are looking forward to the upcoming school year and the learning activities that Allie has in store for them.
Our kids at the Star-C summer camp have been staying active and having fun with all types of different activities. Allie, our Star-C program director, wanted to give the kids a way to express their style and diversity. As a result, she allowed them to tie dye their new Star-C logo shirts. This exercise was very interesting because what most don’t know is that traditional tie dyeing methods were formed in India, Japan and Africa to escape the norms, as well as being able to express the free-spirit of the individual participating in the tie dyeing. Some of our kids are from the countries where tie dyeing originated, and just like those before their time, it allowed them to let their creative juices flow! Keep having fun, guys!
If you have ever been to camp, you wouldn’t be surprised to hear about the benefits that the summer camp life gives you. For instance you spend your day being physically active, you connect or reconnect with nature, and you learn social skills and one of my favorites you make new friends. Here at Willow Branch our kids have the ability to connect with each of these benefits and then some. This week June 5th kicked off the first day of camp and they were all super excited. Before the fun began Allie (our Star C Program director) went over all of the activities and the rules that would take place throughout the course of the summer. The Star C kids would participate in outdoor games like four squares; have a learning corner where they pick a book of their choice and read to a camp volunteer or an older peer of theirs, and fun food activities that are also considered learning tools. They have marshmallows and fruit loops and they have to build a rainbow, where they identify the colors along the way and once they complete their project they can eat them! I couldn’t tell who was more excited me or the kids, Star C summer camp of 2017 will be a blast!!
Although many of us may have doubts about our writing, the truth is deep down we are all writers. When we write it allows us the chance to express ourselves in the most free forum. This is exactly how we want our children here at Willow Branch in the after school program to feel. Through a small writing activity that they participate in weekly, they are allowed to freely express themselves through short stories fictional or not, poems and or essays. We thought you would enjoy this as much as we have so we have chosen to share some stories with you!
By Yonas Chapi 3rd grade
Once upon a time there were 2 boys named Jack and Jake and they were twins. They were 12 years old and they lived in Egypt in a pyramid. They had friends named Jimmy and Jay Uso and the dad name was Rikishi. There was a group of wrestlers named the Wight family and the Athurity. One day the Wight and the Athuritys had a Isra to wrestle Jack, Jake, Jay and Jimmy. When they were wrestling they were fighting hard for almost a day. Then finally Jack, Jake, Jimmy and Jay won the match then the other team ran as fast as the can. So then the other team went home and all ate ice cream sundaes to celebrate. The team that lost was so mad they all turn red then they said “we will get you”.
By: Ngiang Cing 4th grade
In a way I know love. Love is different things. Love can hurt and break anything but not God’s love. But sometime love can be good like helping people to find who they love and who they care about. Good love brings you together but bad love keeps you away from each other. Love is anywhere too. Love is there when it is a birthday, holiday, and an anniversary. Love also comes and goes. Love comes when you need it and when you need it you can ask God to help you and God can help you. But love goes when you are mad. Love is something good and love is sometimes special. Try to have love.
By: Ngiang Cing 4th Grade
If I find a gold ticket the news reporters might say I am nice and I help some people and I want to help the Earth. It would be really fun to find a golden ticket but what I really want is to be with my family that is what I only want even if I found a golden ticket. They would say I care about my family everywhere I go even if I am not with them. I will love my family forever. I love my family and I love everyone in the world.
We love their creativity and are so proud of them!
Springtime is near and Willow Branch is gearing up to launch the 2017 on-site garden program. We had 42 thriving gardens planted in 2016 and expect at least this many for 2017. Residents are also given the opportunity to participate in the monthly on-site Farmers Market sponsored by Fresh Harvest (www.freshharvest.deliverybizpro.com) this summer. The power of the gardening program is that each tenant can harvest their own private plot in exchange for signing a contract and paying a small fee for deer netting. They can grow vegetables, herbs and fruit common to their diet and nationality. A popular choice is Hibiscus Roselle– a common green in the Asian and African cultures with seeds that are similar to cranberries and used for holiday teas and pies.
Thanks to a generous donation by one of our supporters, the students in the Willow Branch Star-C after school program have started using the Study Buddy’s to provide a fun opportunity to use technology for learning. Study Buddy is a small, lightweight tablet that offers tutoring in the basic courses including reading, math, writing and select testing on the subject with immediate feedback. The programs allow our students can learn at their own pace! The Study Buddy program has been so successful, that we are purchasing another 20 tablets for the children with cassettes that will offer tutoring in preparation for the Georgia Milestone testing.