No, this post isn’t about Sugarland’s latest hit, Stuck Like Glue, but the song did give me the idea for the title of this posting. Last week I had a unique opportunity as a community leader to visit an after school program at one of Appleton’s elementary schools. The program is run by the Boys and Girls Club and funded largely through a federal grant. I was able to spend time with a group of children on an art project and got close and personal with a substance I haven’t worked with in a long, long time—Elmer’s glue!
I’m not sure we realize how many children these days are involved in “before school” and “after school” programs—day in and day out. It strikes me how we, as a society, rely on our community schools to be there for our kids and provide care, food, oversight and opportunities to grow and learn at almost any hour of the day. What struck me in spending just a little time at this local school, though, was also the wide diversity of students who were there that afternoon—the diversity of races, cultural backgrounds, abilities and learning disabilities, attention spans, and of course the wide range of enthusiasm and other emotions playing out in the group. I also learned that more than 50% of the students in this school were eligible for free or reduced lunch—a key measure of family income levels and the extent of poverty in the community.
I really commend the work of the after school staff, the Boys and Girls Club, the Appleton Area School District, and all who work tirelessly to make a difference in the lives of these kids! We, in education, have all got our work cut out for us with the challenges at hand.
It’s been awhile since I had to peel Elmer’s glue off my arms, but this experience with the children has certainly “stuck like glue” with me ever since.