Family & Children’s Agency’s ASPIRE after-school program has played a critical role in developing and supporting middle and high school students in Norwalk. The program, which was created out of the city’s foresight to transform a growing hangout at the Norwalk Public Library, to a structured after-school program, focuses on motivating and educating students through academic engagement, parent education and exposure to different social and culture opportunities.
“My favorite part of this year’s summer program was traveling to the Buddhist Monastery,” said Christina, a rising eighth-grader. “It was fun to meditate in a temple and learn about the different versions of Buddhism.” Now located in the former Benjamin Franklin School building, middle school students attended the summer enrichment program Monday through Thursday and participated in a “Heroes and Villains Across the World” curriculum, where they explored the world through activities, studies, field trips and cultural experiences.
To culminate a summer full of educational learning, activities and peer bonding, the students and their counselors hosted an open house for their families and friends to preview the highlights of their 6-week summer adventure. The open house, decorated in seven areas, covered each continent and included photos, fast facts, books, clothing and food that were native to each region. “It’s really great to see my son exposed to different areas of the world. I’m sure this experience will peak his interest in traveling to these countries when he is older,” said one mom as she toured the Europe room which was decorated as a Parisian cafe with painting canvases and pastries tastings.
The group of nearly fifty students will reconvene in September for back-to-school and will continue the ASPIRE fall curriculum, that is designed by FCA staff each year.
To view more photos from the ASPIRE summer open house, click here. And, to learn more about the ASPIRE after-school program, to donate or to volunteer, visit familyandchildrensagency.org/get-involved.