instead of staying home alone while his mother works, AJ is coming to Decker each day, where he is currently working through interactive lessons about outdoor skills and environmental science – in the second half, he’ll concentrate on visual art and film.
AJ Resendez describes himself as a ten-year old boy, born and raised in Austin, TX, who loves swimming, dodgeball, and the color blue. This summer he has joined the ranks of 70+ other middle school students who will learn new skills and make new friends at our Middle School Matters Summer Program at Decker Middle School, part of our Target Graduation program.
“I have always lived in Austin – born and raised,” says AJ. “It’s really fun, and I like living here because you get to meet people from around the world and learn about them.”
This summer, instead of staying home alone while his mother works, AJ is coming to Decker each day, where he is currently working through interactive lessons about outdoor skills and environmental science – in the second half, he’ll concentrate on visual art and film.
Because of the program, AJ will have more opportunities to learn, stay active, and get to know the middle school he will attend in the fall. At the same time, Decker benefits from AJ’s cooperation and easy smile.
AJ just graduated from fifth grade at Pioneer Crossing elementary where he served as student council president. When asked if he campaigned for the position, he simply shook his head and said that he was chosen by his peers to be a leader who acted as a liaison between students and the administration. His response to being selected by fellow students as council president: “I felt really, really honored”.
In addition to leading his class body, AJ was also a student ambassador for Samsung Austin Semiconductor, which is located just a few blocks away from his alma mater, Pioneer Crossing Elementary. AJ said, “I got to meet mentors and speak to large groups to ask them to be mentors to more students”. Although many young students would be apprehensive about speaking in front of groups of professionals, AJ said “it felt good” to reach more potential mentors.
Because of his leadership roles in the past, AJ feels that it is important for kids to make their communities and schools into better places, and when asked about the importance of out-of-school time, AJ answered that it is important for kids to “stay healthy and learn more”.
Written by Katy Aus, AmeriCorps VISTA for Target Graduation at United Way for Greater Austin. Katy focuses on improving OST systems across the Austin area by working with community partners and leading collaborations.