West End House Is In Full Swing This Fall

West End House has been incredibly busy this fall. Read below to hear about all the activities happening in our core program areas:

Academic Success:
Power Hour has been a member favorite as the academic support at the West End House has continued to stay strong, special thanks to our volunteers who are offering math and reading support to all ages. In addition, we have provided multiple off-screen activities and worksheets to improve academic skills. Creating a space for down time has created a huge improvement in member energy as they unwind from their school day through a selection of activities that promote wellness and socioemotional learning.

STEAM Bingo is among the hits with our youth, as they complete a challenge in each category and gain exposure in multiple fields, getting a chance to test what they enjoy. Through activities in coding, Lego building, and creating circuits, our members have been reenergized to learn engineering skills and the foundations for technology.

Our staff chaperoned students this year to the Roxbury Community College College Fair. Our high school-aged members practiced their professional skills by conversing with representatives from higher education institutions and came back excited about the possibility of applying to college. Next stop on the list for them will be Destination U – offering a career fair and alternative pathways to college.

Visual & Performing Arts:
We hope you are as excited as we are preparing for the Winter Showcase this year. This will be a night of new art exhibited and on display for viewing, followed with youth performances. While this may be the highlight, many students are continuing their exploration in the visual arts department by printmaking, working on ceramics, drawing, painting, and creating costume design. You have a chance to view their virtual art gallery HERE.

Through dance, our members have been exploring ballet and contemporary moves, new choreography, creative movement, Acting and Singing, and Make up for the Stage. Encouraging and reminding our members that there are many opportunities within the arts for them. Currently, 5 teens are being certified to run the music studio and will be completing their training in December. Meanwhile, 5 middle and high schoolers will be our stage crew for the Winter Showcase, in early December. Our new Theater Program with Hasty Pudding Club from Harvard University makes for a wonderful partnership and instruction in this area.

Music has expanded this Fall, to include Music Production and Technology in the field and as always, coupled with our Voice, Songwriting, and Instrument labs for a total of 107 youth. Right now, the most popular musical opportunities are 30 minute weekly lessons in drum, percussion, piano, and around the club a couple of ukuleles strumming together will be heard from time to time.

Sports, Fitness, & Nutrition:
Our Fitness Center has been busy with a focus on strengthening and conditioning, as our teens prepare for their varsity sports and overall well-being. Our Director of Community Health and Wellness Ini Udofia has partnered up with our Sports & Fitness Coordinator Isaiah Moore to add a focus on mental health fitness alongside the importance of physical wellness. Isaiah also helped establish a 3-on-3 tournament against other local Boys & Girls Clubs. This became a huge hit that our members are constantly asking about and looking forward to the next one. We have also dedicated time to Girls Gym, which has initially focused on basketball fundamentals.

Family-style meals are back this fall as well as our commitment to non-disposables. The family-style meals have been so successful that all our young people, including our teens, are committed to making that time entirely screen-free. It’s been great to see the conversations flowing among everyone. As always, all scratch dinners and snacks prepared and served include fresh fruits and vegetables, lean proteins and whole grains to ensure a healthy balanced diet.

College & Career Readiness:
FAFSA Fridays are back! Every Friday offers a drop-in session for our college-aged youth to attend and focus on access to their institution of choice. If that wasn’t enough, nearly 200 students are enrolled and being supported by our College Coaches whether they choose a higher education experience or a career path, our College Coaches are here to help. Three times a week, our Coaches have been on site at campuses with our largest cohort of students, making it even easier for students to access our support.

Our Rodgers Fellows, a cohort of five college students who are part of a scholarship-based peer-to-peer learning group funded by Charles and Fran Rodgers, hit the road this year. They started off their college tour road trip by going to University of Massachusetts Amherst and having a personalized tour guide with Camila Fonseca. Camila is a first-year nursing student. Their goal is to continue hitting the road and visit all five colleges and further develop their leadership skills.

Hispanic Heritage Month:
A month of celebration kicked off with members signing up to read about a country over the intercom. Proud to share with their peers the music, traditions, and famous artists from their countries, members taught each other, and staff, the music and dances from home. Fiesta Fridays added to the cultural celebration by highlighting a dish served in different Spanish speaking countries around the world. Our kitchen did a fantastic job of incorporating a healthy and delicious dish every Friday of the month. Boards and walls were filled with information and facts on renowned artist Frida Kahlo, and a board displaying flags from multiple Hispanic countries that members enjoyed flipping through and guessing which flag represented which country.

Family Food Program
We are always looking for volunteers to sign up as drivers or grocery packers on Saturdays. Our Family Food Program has continued to run because of dedicated volunteers and staff, committed to playing their part in ending food insecurity in our community. With your help, a quick volunteer orientation, and your time, we can deliver fresh produce, groceries, and staple foods to 150+ families every weekend. To learn more, please sign up here


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