Counting the days until Thanksgiving

Today Nienke and I headed over to The Helping Hand Rescue Mission for after school tutoring. As we walked in we noticed that today was a lot different than all the others as it is a short week of school because of Thanksgiving. I noticed a little boy all sad and quiet at a table, and that’s when Adam suggested that I help tutor him. This little boy seemed to be very upset about something, and I couldn’t get him to get his homework out. So I decided to get to the bottom of it. “Miss, I forgot my lunch today…” and little tiny tears started to stream down his face. Adam had given him a banana before I got there, but he was still very upset by not having a lunch at school. So instead of making him to do his homework right away I asked him if he wanted to play a game of hangman. Turns out he never played this game before and he had tons of fun guessing letters! He was able to guess the message I encoded “Happy Thanksgiving” after many many tries (and even when the man appeared)… although, he screamed in delight when he saw the message and said “I won! I won!” What a joy it was to see him stretch out his beautiful smile.

When we finally got to his homework he had an assignment where he had to write three sentences about what he is thankful for. Turns out his last sentence was “I am thankful for Amanda.” He made me smile. 

I notice over my time at Helping Hand that a lot of the elementary students do not know many of the simple things. I believe part of that reason is that they don’t get homework time with their parents. A lot of the kids in Penn Town are not challenged enough, and that’s why I really like being apart of the after school program at Helping Hand because the kids have someone to look up to. I’m not saying that every home in the neighborhood doesn’t challenge their own children, but this is just my observation over the past couple of months. It’s a good thing there is a program out there that really encourages, mentors, and inspires children of all ages right here in Philadelphia. I’m really enjoying volunteering my time and getting to know these young students. 

-Amanda