This Thursday, I returned to ACH Clear Pathways on a beautiful, warm afternoon. Spring has officially arrived in Pittsburgh, spurring growth in the city’s flora and its people. As the temperatures continue to rise, it seems people’s energy and liveliness do too; at least this is what I saw in the kids of Clear Pathways this week. After a mad sprint to finish homework, the kids were eager to be outside.
The playground was vibrant. Groups of kids congregated to pursue different activities, from basketball to digging for worms. Somehow, I was recruited for a game of tag and “the floor is lava.” We ran through the mulch and under monkey bars and slides, attempting to avoid whoever was “it.” And most of the time, the kids outran me. Later, we scuffed our shoes against the mulch looking for worms to observe. A group of girls eventually found one they called “the mama worm.”
Though the kids were resistant to leave the playground, the staff soon moved them along to another high-energy activity – music practice. Watching the kids sing was something I had never experienced before; I was excited to see each kid’s personality come through in their performance. The music instructor handed out lyrics to Timberlake’s “Can’t Stop the Feeling!” and the kids got to work. A choreographed dance even accompanied the music practice. Many of them put the same energy into the practice as they did into playing on the playground. Others seemed to be thinking about going back outside; but on such a beautiful day, I couldn’t quite blame them.
After music practice, we sat down for dinner and Lego time. Even inside, the energy continued. As the kids began to build their creations, they discussed sharing with a staff member. One student exemplified their conversation with her actions, allowing another student and I to help build a house with one of her Lego pieces.
The kids’ energy will no doubt continue to rise as Summer quickly approaches. I look forward to the last couple of sessions I have with ACH Clear Pathways, in helping kids focus on homework and playing outside in Pittsburgh’s Spring.