August 5, 2011
Throughout the summer, the Bobcats continued their sponsorship of Seigle Point, a school in the Freedom Schools program, showing their support with an abundance of volunteer assistance. Friday, August 5, 2011 marked the culmination of the 2011 summer program as the students held a presentation to celebrate a successful year and to show their knowledge gained from Freedom Schools in an extremely fun and entertaining way. To help commemorate this, Bobcats volunteers, including the Lady Cats and Rufus, helped out and gave away Jordan Brand backpacks to all the Seigle Point campers.
Freedom Schools aim to provide "summer and after-school enrichment that helps children fall in love with reading, increases their self-esteem, and generates more positive attitudes toward learning. Children are taught using a model curriculum that supports children and families around five essential components: high quality academic enrichment; parent and family involvement; civic engagement and social action; intergenerational leadership development; and nutrition, health and mental health," according to the program’s website.
To show how much they learned over the course of the summer program, the children performed an amazing variety of songs, dances and skits all exemplifying the essential foundations of Freedom Schools. The kids, or scholars, spoke highly of the program’s emphasis on reading and having fun doing so. During a talk show skit, one scholar noted how during the summer, students often forget most of what they learned during the previous school year and how their time at Seigle Point combats this. Further, the dances, chants, step teams – everything – were electrifying. As the event continued, the crowd clapped to the beat and sang along after catching on to the words.
"The first part is jubilee – that's the part we do in the summer for our sponsors, but the parents don’t come to that. We wanted to bring it in so they get a chance to see it this time. The children all plan it and make it up themselves. We just help direct them," said Site Coordinator Jackie Hinds.
After the performances finished, Hinds, or "Miss Jackie as she's known to just about everyone, shared special and emotional thanks to her interns who helped serve as counselors and teachers for the scholars. As she called up each intern for their certificate and gift, the children showered cheers upon each one and it was more than evident that all of the children had a fantastic experience at Seigle Point and took the lessons they learned to heart.
Hinds said, "It means so much to them. For one thing, they don't lose the connection between school years going further. They don't lose their reading time; their scores stay the same or go up. And there are actually educational things that they go to. Even though we have field trips, they're to museums, they're to different types of places that can help them grow and continue their education. They're not sitting at home in front of a TV doing nothing. They’re reading every single day with fun things so they fall in love with the books, and that’s really what it's about."
And not only did Hinds make note of the interns who gave extraordinary effort for their work over the past few months, but also the Bobcats and their volunteers. She called the Bobcats volunteers onto the stage to recognize their dedication, praising them for their help and devotion. They were awarded with a frame of a t-shirt signed by all the campers and interns at Seigle Point.
"They have helped tremendously. I want to say 300 percent. They just came in, took care of it. 'Miss Jackie, where do you want me?' They were there: 'We're here already, what do you want us to do?' They really had a hands-on with the children as well. They were not afraid to interact with the kids, which was good," Hinds said.
Now that the summer program has finished, Seigle Point and the rest of the Freedom Schools will begin afterschool sessions for the next few weeks.