1. Which school do you teach at and which club do you advise?
I am the ALC (Alternative Learning Center Director) for Markham Middle School. I serve our students by being their first point of contact when having difficulties within their friend groups, classes/teachers and even things that happen off campus (home life, etc). I allow the students to voice their concerns and frustrations in a safe and non-judgmental environment and support them to come up with solutions using self-reflection and restorative practices. I also hold lunch detentions and in-house suspensions.
2. What is your impression/experience with Hands4Hope - Youth Making A Difference youth?
I first learned of Hands4Hope - Youth Making A Difference when my son started at Camerado Springs Middle School. He came home and spoke to me and my husband about a club that helped the community and was, at the time, holding a fundraiser for the El Dorado County Animal Shelter. He loves animals and that was all it took for him to sign up. I saw my quiet, shy, mostly introverted child become opinionated, confident and willing to put himself out there. He even danced in his blow-up dinosaur costume at a baked goods fundraiser to help support their cause.
3. Is there anything that you've enjoyed most/been most surprised by interacting with the club?
When I was approached by my principal, Terry Edinger, about the possibility of being the adult campus advisor for our very own Hands4Hope - Youth Making A Difference Club I couldn't say YES fast enough. Since taking on this role I have seen students similar to my son, blossom into strong, mature, self-assured young adults. Watching our Markham students lead their peers with such positivity and confidence in what they seem to already know will be something successful has been truly heartwarming and inspiring.
4. Is there anything else that you would like to add? Anything specific to your experience during the Covid-19 Pandemic?
Like other schools, we have been split into two groups and each group is only on campus two days each week. While still managing distance and limiting contact with others, our club was able to pull off an incredible fundraiser to support local youth experiencing homelessness and/or family hardships. With the help of their classmates they received over 900 laundry pods and 2,149 feminine hygiene products that were donated to EDCOE and in turn distributed to those in need.
COVID has presented many challenges and one seems to be students taking part in virtual clubs. With so much of their time being spent on Zoom meetings and computers, perhaps extracurricular activities being virtual is just too much. We have lost a few members throughout the year and recently lost one of our leaders. We currently have one leader and 4 additional members but I know we are blessed with the group of kiddos we have! Our remaining leader has done a phenomenal job directing newer members and giving them a chance to be heard.
I am beyond proud of MY kids and how truly amazing and dedicated they are. Our club may be small, but we are mighty!