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Meyzeek coordinator shares her praise for CLASP

January 20, 2016

We love hearing from others about our staff, programs and activities. It helps us understand how we are doing, what and where we are doing well or excelling and where we may need to strengthen our efforts, through training, new ideas, programs or policies, or additional services.

clasp-books-10This 360-degree review is a constant for us, to ensure we continue to provide best in class service to all our clients, whether they are enrolled in HANDS, work with the PAL Coalition, our after-school programs, Family Stabilization or counseling and care for children and families hurt by physical and sexual abuse and neglect. It’s important, too, for our grantors and funders, to show the impact their gifts and support make, for very real boys and girls and their families.

One recent letter touched us deeply. The writer, Sarah L. Baker, is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Youth Services Center Coordinator at Meyzeek Middle School, a part of Jefferson County Public Schools. She wrote about our CLASP (Collaborative Learning After-School Program) at Meyzeek, managed by our Family & School Services team, including Nate Thumas, Robbie Fenwick, Jo Cruz and Bobby Cortes.

CLASP, she wrote, “is an essential and impactful partner of Meyzeek Middle School’s Youth Services Center and Meyzeek’s Community School,” which is located in the Smoketown/Shelby Park neighborhood, the poorest ZIP code in Kentucky.

“Children living in poverty often lack positive role models, pro-social skills, nutritious diets, health and wellness opportunities, mental and emotional health care, and educational support,” she wrote, adding, “CLASP assists children and families in filling those gaps and provides opportunities for student success.”

“Students participating in CLASP are able to complete their homework in a safe, focused environment and receive assistance and tutoring. CLASP staff members collaborate and communicate with teachers to ensure students get the help they need and are often the bridge between home and school.

“Students participate in groups focused on team building, communication skills, leadership, cooperation, and respect. Students are exposed to activities that may be new to them such as, gardening, arts & crafts, knitting, video production, engineering projects, cooking, and volunteering in a variety of community service programs.

“Students learn the importance of healthy lifestyles, nutritional food options/preparation, good hygiene, physical fitness and exercise, and refraining from drug/alcohol/nicotine use. Family nights provide an opportunity for students to share what they’ve learned, present their projects, learn about each other’s families, and enjoy a healthy meal while engaged in great dinner conversation.

“There are no adequate words to describe how valuable CLASP is to our school community! I have had the great pleasure of witnessing children blossom, grow, and transform into young men and women who feel more confident, focused, successful, cared for, and healthy. Students become great role models for their peers, are willing to take on new challenges, step into leadership roles, and give back to both the school and greater community.”

We see CLASP as a transformational program, and consider the team driving its success as nothing short of amazing, so it’s always nice to hear from others who see its benefit and the positive change it creates in the community and in the students and families enrolled in CLASP.

Thank you, Sarah, for your kind words, and for your support for CLASP!