Transitions are wonderful. On this school year’s first day in the after school program, our resident scientist and Monday Program Volunteer Shelly brought in two monarch butterfly chrysalises. Two days later, on Wednesday, a ninth-grader eagerly sought my attention. The transformation was complete! A beautiful monarch butterfly had emerged from one of the cocoons. A group of us took our new friend outside and watched in awe as the creature tested its wings. Heavy and clumsy at first, but a master of flight within minutes. Transitions are wonderful.
A fabulous summer ended just two day ago. The leaves are changing. The days are shorter. Students are back to school. The KYC staff has seen several changes. I am wrapping up my third month as the KYC’s Interim Executive Director. Pam Sweeney has settled into her new role as Development Director. We are thrilled to have welcomed Sue Valenti as our new Program Facilitator. Our Teen Director, Mara Michno is nearing the end of a parenting leave and we look forward to welcoming her back. Transitions are wonderful.
Do you remember your seventh grade locker combination? I do. It was 32-18-8. Why do I remember that all these years later? It’s because I must have repeated, “32-18-8,” in my head about 5,000 times on that first day of seventh grade. A forgotten locker combo was just one of countless fears accompanying the transition from familiar New Durham Elementary School to the vastness of Kingswood Regional Middle School. I did okay. I was so good at remembering my combo that I still remember it almost 20 years later! Another step in growing up. Transitions are wonderful.
Two years later, just as I was getting truly comfortable at KRMS, it was already time for another transition. When does it end? It doesn’t. Transitions are wonderful. Hard, but wonderful.
High school and middle schoolers are amidst many great transitions. They are yesterday’s children becoming tomorrow’s young adults. Emotional and physical changes mark this important transition in their lives. All adolescents need the support of an entire community as they navigate this great transition. The KYC exists to provide an important piece of that vital support. We offer our community’s teens a safe place to grow, learn, and engage positively with their peers. Students set goals and plan for their futures. We teach important life skills which foster independence. Substance misuse prevention is vital during this time of transition. New passions and interests are discovered and new friendships are forged. Transitions are wonderful.
The KYC supports our transitioning teens through several important programs. We just wrapped up a wonderful summer filled with weekly full-day programs. Our after-school program is now open each Monday through Thursday. BTAS! (Beyond the After School) programs are offered in the evening, during school vacations, and at other times when school is not in session. In January, the KYC launched a brand new individual mentoring program called Club 121! Club 121 consists of one-to-one (get it? 121!) mentoring services offered at Kingswood Regional Middle School by KYC staff members. We are very excited to continue these vital services and watch them grow. Transitions are wonderful.