Last week when the kids had no school, we offered open hours at the community center. Though there was no programming, we told them if they wanted to come by and say hi and hang out. Eight middle and high school students showed up, and it was a really sweet time. They helped us decorate for Valentine’s Day, gave us feedback on resources for helping church partners learn about and engage the neighborhood, and they were just present with one another. They played games and talked and laughed.
The open hours gave them the opportunity to be with their friends in a comfortable and safe space for them. Instead of just being at home or hanging out somewhere else in the neighborhood, they jumped at the opportunity to come here. Their desire to show up and inhabit the community center space, not because they have to but because they want to, speaks to the trust and depth of relationships they have built with Casa in a really cool way.
Marissa Salgado – Programs Director