As winter draws closer, ENERGY is looking for donations of children’s winter-wear as it prepares refugee and immigrant children for the impending season.
ENERGY, which stands for education, nurture, encouragement, readiness and growth for youth, is an after school program that teaches English language skills and American culture to children grades one through six. It already has a “recipe for success” to help its students acclimate to their environment as the weather gets colder. This list includes preheating the room before kids arrive and sharing a hot family style meal.
Many of the children have never experienced the kind of harsh winters that the West Side expects and will be using ENERGY’s outdoor playtime to learn how to do simple things that Western New Yorkers take for granted, like walking on ice.
ENERGY is run by the Westminster Economic Development Initiative (WEDI) and meets Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays after regular school hours. Carol Greetham, the director of ENERGY, believes the program is successful because it gives the kids kind of experiences, knowledge and companionship that they can’t always find at school.
“They don’t view it as class because they feel supported here. To me it feels like a family, we sit and have a meal together, talk about their day and make relationships with each other, which is really important for the kids. We do fun things too, we’re having a Halloween party soon. We sing, read aloud, and do all kinds of enrichment activities.“ Greetham said. By Nik Malahosky and Jason Saul