This is the first year ever that B-SAFE has had two themes, one for the YLC (middle school) program and one for the LEARN (elementary school) program.
The theme for the LEARN program this summer is a shortened version of a quote from the book Wonder, "When given the choice between being right and being kind, choose kind." This theme has been incorporated into many aspects of our programming. The most evident use of the theme is during the "Choose Kind" academic rotations where each lead reviews the lesson plans and run the activities with their groups. The youth have now learned about empathy, random acts of kindness, and about how people are more than just their appearances, with many other lessons not listed!
The beauty of this theme is not only that it is short and memorable but the youth seem to really connect with it. Many times throughout the week when the youth have had a break in their B-Excellent Pacts you can hear them and their lead/teen using language like "that wasn't very kind" or "I will try to be kinder." This language is familiar to the youth. The message is made more clear when they get to watch video clips of how one random act of kindness can create a ripple effect or when they get to experience what is is like to live without sight and can feel what other peoples lives are like. Our youth are learning how to choose kind in all the things they do!
By Sandy Quispe
Sandy, born in Peru, has lived in Dorchester since the age of 5. She grew up in the Boston Public school system, graduating from Boston Arts Academy. She attained her bachelor's in psychology from University of Massachusetts Amherst. Working with children has always been one of her passions. She loves to see how children grow and develop from early childhood to adolescence.