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Letter: After-school program draws praise

| October 22, 2009 12:00 AM

Dear Editor:

A friend once told me that she loved taking part in “grand conversations.” I wasn’t sure what she meant until recently at the Troy New Horizons after-school program.

A group of little people were busy playing Legos and amidst all the showing and telling, was a grand conversation. As their hands were busy creating, their hearts and minds were freed up to just “be.” Each took their turn to both listen and speak about their day at school, their favorite teachers and what they had for lunch.

One little girl described how her feelings got hurt while playing on the teeter-totter that day and another spoke of being thankful for his foster family. Open, honest, vulnerable conversation … encouragement, compassion, respect and empathy – all while building Legos. 

Many kids all over Montana find themselves alone after school – sitting in front of the TV; looking around for something to do until Mom and Dad get home.

In Troy, kids are doing far more that that! Drama, select choir and art lessons, sign language and Spanish classes, hiking and rafting are among the many activities offered by talented caring adults in our community.

Special thanks to the number of junior high and high school students who have chosen to be involved as mentors in the after-school program. Positive mentoring opportunities are important in any community, but in a small town where little ones look closely to older ones for lessons in what it means to be “big,” positive role models and healthy relationships are vital.

Thanks to the visionaries, the planning team and the volunteer staff for all you do to ensure that our kids are not just kept busy, but are truly cared for.

Maggie Anderson