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By Samantha Johnson, 2012-2013 AmeriCorps member serving on the National Grid team with the Blackstone Elementary School

Before and afterschool programs are an important part of the City Year model. At the Blackstone elementary school, we run an afterschool program called Starfish. On Mondays and Wednesdays, Starfish is filled with enrichment activities, such as fun and educational projects, crafts and even sports and games. On Tuesdays, we host a variety of clubs, such as Poetry Club, Cooking Club, Dance Club even Science Club. On Thursdays we teach the children about social justice issues, focusing on topics such as poverty and bullying.

Needless to say, the students are always busy and growing in this program. Starfish is a great way to get students engaged in their school community, finish their homework, and build important socio-emotional skills for the future. Here’s a peak at what we’ve been up to:

Here, two students working very hard together on their homework.

The students can get very into their reading, which makes us so proud.

Corps members Madelyn Pimentel and Lola Francisco and the students look like they truly enjoyed yoga club.

Identity masks for enrichment: face on one side, things about ourselves on the other.

In one of our recent clubs, The Mad Scientists, we learned about DNA and made our own DNA strands out of candy!

This photos from one of our scavengers. We had to find our wonderful Ubuntu tree, which illustrates our three core values: respect, unity and excellence. This student was so excited he ran to the tree.

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