Middle school is a tipping point for many students – and while what happens during the school day is critical, students spend more than 76 percent of their AWAKE time outside of school. That’s why we invest in quality out-of-school-time programs through Target Graduation, but the importance of these programs can sometimes be pretty abstract.
Until you meet people like Lillie – a seventh-grade straight-A student at Mendez Middle School. She’s lived in Dove Springs for ten years and last year, she became involved with Junior Staff, a program from the Boys and Girls Club that students apply to participate in. Through Junior Staff, Lillie learns job skills by taking a leadership role in the program and learns how to run effective after-school programs for other students.
“I believe Lillie believes in us as much as we believe in her and I think she will continue to flourish and grow as a vital part of our program.”
Extension Director of the Boys and Girls Club at Mendez Middle School
Here’s what Lillie has to say about the program:
Why did you start participating in the program?
I started in sixth grade because because the people were really nice and my dad thought it would be good for me. The first time I went I had a lot of fun so I kept coming every week.
What is your favorite part of the program?
My favorite day is the day they celebrated my birthday. They wrote it on the board and decorated it. When I came into the potables they had chips and dips and other snacks. It made me happy that someone cared about me.
What’s a typical school day for you? What did you do before joining Junior Staff?
I take the city bus to school. I eat breakfast when I get here. I have fun during the day but sometimes people will be rude. I also go to band. It is fun learning new keys. I like going higher and lower. I play the clarinet.
Before, I would go straight home after school. I would probably watch TV or sometimes read a book.
Now, I get to see my friends and help teachers after school – I help them but I am also learning things for later in life to get a better education.
What’s the biggest benefit of participating in out-of-school-time programs like this?
I have a lot of fun, get to help out people, build leadership and teamwork skills, make friends. Last week we had something to help us with math, we learned about calories and proteins. I can use that later on in school.
And her efforts are much appreciate, as Steven Zuniga, Extension Director of the Boys and Girls Club at Mendez, put it: “Lillie has consistently demonstrated a type of natural leadership in all of her activities that we are working to develop. I believe Lillie believes in us as much as we believe in her and I think she will continue to flourish and grow as a vital part of our program.”
We are proud to fund this program at Mendez and also support staff through Youth Program Quality training.
Thanks to the generous support of our donors, we can help make a meaningful impact for Lillie and her friends.