Neighborhood Opportunity Network

Supporting one another in a time of crisis

What do you value?

Posted by sebastianbrown on February 22, 2011

Let it be known that on Thursday February 10, 2010 IMPACT officially entered the business of building networks…with kids! Network member and “youth worker” Solomon Kamwendo led the nearly 50 participants of Long Branch Athletic Association’s (now formally a project of IMPACT) ACE after-school homework help and recreation program in an hour long program that officially inaugurated our pilot “youth and community” component of ACE. Now, every other Thursday the 2nd-5th graders will be engaged around building deeper relationships across lines of difference with their classmates and understand how they can each fully realize their amazing potential to best contribute their gifts and talents to each other and the larger community.

To kick things off, Solomon led the kids in the “name game.” Each student entered the center of the circle to shout their name while simultaneously making a gesture of their choice. The entire group then walked together to the center to imitate each student. So for a few seconds Willie became Willie with a snap and a wink; Lanice became Lanice with a spin move and hair twirl and teacher helper Zoveyda became Zoveyda the superstar with arms stretched wide!

After a short large group discussion, we had the kids split up in four groups and discuss what values are most important to them. There were plenty of repeats: helpful, respect, honesty and a few that stood out on their own: capacity, money, don’t be a bully. We’ll return next session to the large list to have kids choose a handful that they’d like to focus on exploring and practicing in the upcoming months of sessions.

The afternoon finished with each team having 5 minutes to try to work together and devise a way to cross the imaginary quick sand that divided them and their destination on the other side. There was only time left for two teams to try their best…and sadly neither made it. The good news is that the quick sand was just the surface of a basketball court and all involved survived!

Check back in the next few weeks as we’ll be going more in depth into the various programs we’re currently running with youth as well as opening up the discussion to how to best take advantage of the amazing convening power of both sports and kids toward building a stronger Long Branch.

ps. pics are soon on their way.

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