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Made to Shine

Maria* is in first grade. When she joined KIND last year as a kindergartener, she almost never spoke. She rarely raised her hand in class, or played with other kids, and was one of the few to not join the soccer league. Trying to make conversation, I once complimented her shirt, but she didn’t seem to realize that it read “Made to Shine.” I’m sure a big part of her reservation was related to learning the English language, but she also seemed to lack confidence and trust. Still, she came regularly, she listened, and she observed.
A year-and-a-half later, when Maria arrives she can’t wait to tell her teachers all about her day in fast, fluent English. Her hand is often the first one up and she brings a contagious enthusiasm for learning. When students recently wrote thank you cards to 1 or 2 teachers, she asked for help crafting sentences in the process of writing to 10 staff members and volunteers. She does extra reading and math practice at home using KIND Online.  She not only made friends her age, she appears to know all the students’ names from every grade and school. She signed up for the spring soccer league and is also showing an amazing talent for art.

While there’s no way we can take full credit for these heartwarming developments, I think KIND provided Maria with a loving environment and opportunities she may not otherwise have. She was shown great patience, acceptance, and support by her teachers and peers. For example, one of our teachers asks the kids not to say that a problem is easy, because it may be difficult for someone else. Another teacher has the kids agree not to laugh when someone makes a mistake, but to gently help them correct it. A third teacher has the kids practice writing things that they like about each other and about themselves. In this caring space, Maria has emerged from her shell and is proving that she was indeed “Made to Shine.”

*Name changed to protect the child’s privacy
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