After After School

Ice Cream Truck

We finished up our After School program earlier this month. After PASS testing (for 3rd graders and up), we knew they would have a minimal amount of homework for the rest of the month. Plus, I started spring practice for football, so I would not be available.

As we came up on our last week of programming, I had mixed emotions. I felt relief, as I was ready for a break. With football for me, and baseball for our youngest son, it is nice to have some more time freed up.

But I also felt a little sad. We spent 4 months with these 10-12 children. We got to know them more intimately, and connected with them and their families. There is a big part of us that will miss seeing them every week.

And despite our feelings of relief and sadness, we are also joyful for the opportunity we had. We are thankful that we even had the chance to do this program! From the use of a church building, to a large donation to get us started, to other donations (of money and snacks) along the way, to the local volunteers who made this a success, we recognize that we could not do this without the support of so many. And that includes the people who financially support us, so we didn’t have to earn any income off this camp.

Looking Back

We have had some great moments with our program, including:

Helping the students with their homework, and realizing that one boy needed a homework folder so he’d stop losing his assignments.

Reading time at least once per week, using a box full of books checked out from the town library.

Lots of outdoor exercise, including every day before homework, and sometimes afterwards.

Teaching the children through the Sermon on the Mount, although I didn’t even finish chapter 5 (in the book of Matthew)

Valentine’s Day dinner with about 15 children, 6 parents, and a school teacher who lives in Beaufort. It was a perfect end to A Day of Love.

After School LegoPlaying board games and with boxes of donated Lego stuff.

A 8-session nutrition class led by someone who just started this program in Allendale.

A last day surprise visit from the ice cream truck. (So much for nutrition . . .)

But what made this program especially meaningful were the relationships that happened as a result of this program:

Having meaningful conversations (some fun, some instructive, some corrective) with the children.

Conversations with people around town who say, “I love seeing you out there with those kids!”

Having volunteers from four different churches serve together (a rarity in Allendale).

Getting to know the volunteers on a more personal level, including the elderly couple (and who let us hang out with them every year) who told us, “It’s so nice to feel needed.”

Regular conversations with a mom whose child is struggling, and giving her counsel for a decision she is facing.

A dad inviting me to his son’s IEP meeting at his school

Looking Ahead

Since I’ll be coaching football again, we know that we cannot lead this program in the fall. But we never intended it to be our after school program. We named it after our neighborhood, with the idea that individuals and churches in this neighborhood would unite together in purpose.

We have already talked with one volunteer about leading this program in the fall. And of course, Joanna and I will play a supporting role, helping to pull together volunteers, resources, and serving when we can.

Additionally, half-way into our semester, we learned that there might be a possibility that this program could have two paid positions for the next school year (one for an adult, and one for a teenager).

We still need to have some meetings and discussions about what this will look like, but we hope it will all go through. Please be in prayer that this program can continue, as we’ve seen it be a blessing to children, parents, volunteers, and the Allendale community as a whole.

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6 responses to “After After School”

  1. Tracy Collins says :

    Thanks for sharing, Joey. Love to hear how you guys are impacting lives (not just with the kids you’re ministering to, but within the community as folks are coming together to serve) and raising up new leaders to continue the work you’ve started. Jacob is so excited to come serve in Allendale with CBC this summer! We love you guys…and miss you, too! Hope y’all can come this way for another visit soon!

    • joeyespinosa says :

      Thanks, Tracy. We’re glad we get to be a part of what God is doing.

      And we’re glad to have Jacob here this summer. Plans are coming together!

      Miss you guys, too. Can’t believe we haven’t seen you in months!

  2. April Ellenburg says :

    You guys are a blessing and a gift. I just cried reading this. You all matter! Thank you.

  3. Gwendolyn Walker says :

    hi I am interested in the position if Im still working part time.

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