Sam’s a 6th grader. He had no interest in being in an after-school club. In fact, he didn’t like being at school. He didn’t have friends and while at school spent most of his time with his aide. He preferred to stay home and play video games. He lived with his grandmother and she is the one that signed Sam up to attend an 8 session after school Club Comfort.
So you can only imagine how excited Sam was to be there on the first session of the club. He was not only extremely uninterested in the club, he was downright rebellious and combative. He disrupted the first session shouting out things like “This is stupid” “I don’t even want to be here”. He was asked to leave early at the first session because he was so disruptive. But he was given another chance.
The second session he sat outside of the circle of the other club participants with his aide and with his arms crossed in defiance. He had a few outbursts but was not asked to leave. He did not pay much attention nor did he participate in discussions. But he did stay and watch (with his arms crossed) and he did make a plaque for someone he and his aide had identified to be in need of comfort.
By the fourth session Sam was sitting in the circle with the group. Not participating in the discussions but his arms were no longer crossed and had followed through on his tasks since the second session.
Fifth Session – Sam walked in the room asking if it was Club Comfort day. When he was told yes, he said “good”.
Seventh Session - The following question was posed to the group during that day’s lesson: “how would you feel if you didn’t get to see your family for a long time”. Sam – YES SAM - raised his hand and answered: “sad, disappointed, discouraged”.
Eighth Session – Sam arrived early in the room and helped sort out the plaques by color (wow). Group discussion that day was talking about when people don’t feel appreciated, they can be lonely and sad. The kids were prompted to think of people who help them every day but may not get much appreciation. Sam’s hand popped up! And he offered up “The Janitor”. And that’s who he made a plaque for that day.
Club Comfort’s after-school club focuses on creating a safe and trusting environment where kids are comfortable collaborating and sharing with each other. Witnessing Sam move from combative, to attentive to participating to initiating was the most amazing thing to see.
Even his grandmother reached out after the program to thank the club facilitators for making such an impact in his life. When Sam was asked if he would do the club again he answered, “Yes I would.”