By Melor Suhaimi, MD Programs Manager
Photos courtesy of Melor Suhaimi
When asked to think of one word to describe AALEAD, Eastern Middle School AALEADers answers varied from “fun,” “family,” “laughs,” to “home.” The school year is almost coming to an end and time definitely flies by! This school year, AALEAD at Eastern introduced new 6th graders to the program, AALEADers participated in various in-class student service learning projects, and overall created a strong family bond. A memorable moment that occurred at the beginning of the school year involved AALEADers to get into teams, where they weren’t quite familiar with each other. Each team was required to build the tallest stand-alone towers using straws and paper clips. Teams worked together, despite not knowing each other too well, and created towers that they were all proud of. It was inspiring to see all youth step up in creating a tower for their team, which highlighted that all Eastern AALEADers had leadership qualities.
By mid-year, the snow days did not throw off AALEAD programs entirely. Eastern AALEADers created gingerbread houses to celebrate the holidays and the highly anticipated winter break. Using ingredients listed by the youth, Eastern AALEADers spent program time together building gingerbread houses, where it felt everyone was right at home creating memorable moments. The bond grew even stronger after youth came back from winter break, especially after they hadn’t seen each other for a week. It was refreshing to see that Eastern AALEADers had formed friendships and continued their friendships even outside of program time. Eastern AALEADers began finding each other at lunch and walking each other to their lockers in between classes.
Now with only one month left of AALEAD and with the school year coming to an end, it will be bittersweet to see 8th graders moving on to high school, but exciting to see our 6th and 7th graders slowly getting comfortable in their own skin and with AALEAD. These last few weeks will be focused on end of the year celebrations and a time to reflect on the school year with AALEAD. It will be moments shared that will be added to a long list of fun-filled and great memories!