New Place, Familiar Faces!

By Steph, Summer Intern at Kingston-Galloway

I’ve had the privilege of working as an Outreach Worker for the community of Kingston-Galloway for the past five months on a short-term contract. My passion has always been working with kids, and having graduated last April with my Bachelors of Education, I was grateful for the opportunity to work with TCM to help run their after-school programs. While I loved being able to work with the kids after school; helping them build interpersonal skills through games and activities; teaching them about God’s love through Bible time; and supporting some academically through tutoring; it all reminded me of my passion to return to the classroom setting as a full time teacher. I had only dreamed of the opportunity of being their teacher someday, and by the grace of God, that day came just a few weeks ago when I had the chance to be a supply teacher at one of their schools.

Seeing the kids at school and them seeing me as a teacher, to their shock and surprise, brought huge smiles of excitement to each of our faces. In an unfamiliar place, I was relieved to see the familiar faces of the kids I have come to know so well through TCM. It was also eye opening to be able to bridge the gap between what our kids experience on a daily basis, to the time they come through our doors at 3:30PM. Since I was able to spend the first half of the day with some of our kids at school, I was able to observe and understand what kinds of things happen at school and what the kids carry with them as they enter our after-school programs.

As teachers, we are taught to be sensitive to the events that a student may go through each morning. What kids experience in the morning affects their ability and willingness to learn. As I think about the attitudes, energy levels, and behaviours our kids bring into programs, I am able to better understand just how long of a day they already had, and what that must feel like to come to an after-school program. Recognizing that they have been at school since 8:30AM reminds me to be patient when they don't listen.

Lastly, I hope that having seen me as a teacher in a different capacity and setting would remind them that God is with them wherever they are, not just at programs, but at school too. I am incredibly grateful that they were able to see me not only as a Christian at church, but also as a Christian in their school community. As I ran into our kids throughout the day, many were excited to tell their friends that they already knew me, and even knew my first name. I was grateful that they showed a sense of pride that I was someone they knew from church (where we ran our programs). Additionally, many of our kids asked me when camp would be starting and if I’d be there; and a couple of kids said they wished the after-school program was still going or that camp would start earlier. It was incredibly encouraging to hear so much of their appreciation for programs and camp, especially when it’s something we don’t always hear or see. I can’t wait to see each of our kids (and new faces too!) at camp again, and see all the things God has in store for the summer!

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Steph first got involved with TCM as a summer intern in 2013. Since then, she has had a heart for TCM's ministry.