Family Nights at Albemarle Road Elementary School…by Ehsan Akbari
Throughout my term so far as a VISTA, I have been working at HandsOn Charlotte to help design and implement a Family Night program at nearby Albemarle Road Elementary School. Our Family Nights are modeled after a similar program at a nearby middle school that is currently in its seventh year of existence. We have teamed up with partner organizations around the Charlotte area to provide fun, educational activities for the school’s students and their parents. Among the programs provided are the ever-famous Soccer Club, Dance Club, and the parent-centered Healthy Living class.
My job centers on the student programming aspect of Family Nights. As we do not yet have a partner organization to run science programming, I have stepped in to run the student-centered Science Club during Family Nights. I worked as an ESL tutor over the summer at Albemarle Road Elementary School, so my teaching experience has made me feel comfortable running the Science Club. We have had a vast array of hands-on activities that the children have enjoyed, from making colored crystals to putting solar system kits together. My goal is to recruit volunteers to support the programs and then transition them into volunteer leaders.
Currently, I am helping organize the student programming for next semester. I am putting together a subcommittee made up of individuals from our program partners who have helped run the student programming, such as the Dance and Arts Club instructors. Going forward, we are seeking to build up the program’s sustainability so that instructors, volunteer leaders, and funders will be in place to help run the program in the years to come. While the Family Nights program is still in its initial stages, it has shown promise and I look forward to helping it further expand into the second semester of the school year.
The exciting aspects of this work are realized everyday not only be myself but the students who ultimately benefit in the end!
Student Academic Success Projects