So, for the past few months and especially the past few weeks, I’ve been preparing for a new weekly after-school program called Hangtime. Jeremy and I stumbled upon the idea at the beginning of the summer and slowly, but surely opened our hearts and minds to the role it could have for our church and community. We had heard of a Michigan church that was running a very successful after school program and it was an inspiration for us to try our own. So we prayed and prepared and processed. We decided that it would be something that I would direct and God graciously provided an amazing team of leaders to come along side and make everything happen.
And today, was our first ever day of Hangtime. And it was awesome.
I’ll admit. I was apprehensive. I wasn’t sure what it would look like, and I wasn’t sure if anyone would come (my silly, random fears). I mapped out ideas and planned out the goals we’d have. I wanted to provide a safe and fun and helpful environment for children and I worked hard with the other leaders to get everything ready. And when I walked over to Eastport Elementary, and brought back 12 kids, I breathed a silent prayer of relief. What I didn’t expect, is that 19 other students, from Tuttle Avenue and a few surrounding schools would join them and that we would end up having 31 students for our very first day. It was crazy awesome.
As I mentioned, we have a great team of adult leaders (many of whom are certified teachers) as well as this amazing girl. Her name is Sarah, she’s in high school and she’s graciously offered to help out at Hangtime this year. I’m thrilled that she was willing to help out and she did a beautiful job.
I have to admit, the homework time was my favorite. The students were all excited to sit down with their friends and our leaders and get right to work.
I’m sure it had something to do with the dynamic of having other adults available to help. As I mentioned before, the kids were all just so incredible. I got to sit down with a few and it was so much fun to help them with their work and to see how proud they were to show off what they could do.
And I will totally admit. As a parent, I was so blessed to see our kids surrounded by help as they worked. It’s such a small thing, but it’s a big thing, having someone be there to help our kids on their homework and I was so happy to be able to go home and know that the work was done.
The kids that finished their homework early headed downstairs for a snack and some good old fashioned 4 Square. It’s a staple, for the kids that go to Eastport Bible Church. It’s their thing, and they love to play it. It was fun seeing kids them work together and have fun, just playing. Kids so much need to just have time to hang out and play, in my opinion.
I just wanted to note a few things, in case you’re reading this post and wondering about the program. First of all, it will run throughout the entire school year. So if you’re interested in having your child come, they are always welcome. Our awesome friend Emma saw the group of kids getting picked up at Eastport Elementary and wanted to join us just today, so she did. Her mom was there to send her with us and I’m so glad that she joined us. Also, if you have kids that have other commitments, but can make some of the days, we would love to have them. We have kids that will come every other week because of Girl Scouts and it’s totally fine. Also, we love to have siblings! Daniel and Sean joined us today and they were both amazing. I saw many instances where the older siblings looked out for their younger sibling and it was very cool.
We ended our day with a great group time. We will start up our workshops next week, and hopefully I’ll have a little more time to capture more pictures of the fun things we have planned. But this week we ended with a lesson time. I’ve made it my goal to take time each week to share with the kids about how much they are loved and how God has great plans for their lives. It’s so beautiful seeing kids work out their faith and I know this will be a highlight time for me and our group each week.
I walked away from our first Hangtime tonight, very grateful and very happy with how the afternoon went. God blessed our afternoon tremendously and I am so thankful for each and every child that came to our new program. I’m praying that in the weeks to come we will continue to have a wonderful time together and can’t wait to see what’s in store for this incredible program.