Thomson Tales: Lunar New Year

By Chelsea Iorlano, Development & Communications Associate
Photos courtesy of Chelsea Iorlano

The DC Elementary School Program youth at Thomson Elementary celebrated Lunar New Year and welcomed the Year of the Goat at their very own Street Fair in the Thomson Elementary gym yesterday.  The celebration happened in collaboration with the DCPS After School Program.

AALEADers and DCPS After School youth gathered in rounds and were able to rotate among six different stations of Lunar New Year crafts and activities: coloring the Chinese zodiac, hang bao (red envelopes), calligraphy, Chinese yo-yos, Chinese lanterns, and Chinese dragons.  At each station, AALEAD 4th and 5th grade youth were teacher’s helpers and facilitated the craft or activity.  Mr. Justin’s 4th and 5th graders truly stepped up and helped the event run smoothly and successfully, which was a tremendous help for the teachers and a valuable opportunity for the youth to build their leadership skills.

The collaboration between AALEAD and DCPS After School was a hit.  Youth were able to bond over activities, such as looking up their Chinese zodiac signs and finding out who else shared the same sign, and help one another with making crafts.  Amidst all of the excitement of the Lunar New Year celebration, youth did a great job of working together, listening to instructions, and respecting their peers.  At the end of the Street Fair festivities, all of the youth were able to take a goody bag of some sweet treats and fortune cookies with them!

After the younger grades cleared out, the AALEAD 4th and 5th graders and DCPS After School 5th graders helped staff clean up all of the stations with a positive attitude and willingness to contribute.  One 4th grade AALEAD youth, Simon, stepped up in his leadership role at the Chinese zodiac coloring station.  During clean up, he reflected on the day’s event and asked “I was a leader the whole time, right?”  Mr. Justin’s whole class did an excellent job demonstrating leadership and responsibility throughout the whole event, which was a wonderful reminder of the importance and necessity of AALEAD Programs.  Not only did the youth have an opportunity to simply have fun, youth were presented the opportunity for growth and development by building friendships with DCPS After School youth and putting their leadership skills to work.

A special thank you to: Mr. Justin’s 4th and 5th grade AALEADers for their incredible leadership, AALEAD staff and volunteers, and DCPS After School Program  and youth for working together to make this event a success!  Happy Lunar New Year, everyone!

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