Project Transformation 2018

Courtney WaggleEducation & Empowerment

PT is about changing lives through relationships and that is where we have seen changes made. There are two stories you should know about Project Transformation. The first is about the campers; the second is about the AmeriCorps members who spent their summer in our community.
The campers range in age from 6 to 12 years old. The youngest have completed kindergarten and are entering first grade this fall. Some of them are non-readers; some cannot even identify letters of the alphabet or numbers. But daily, volunteers work with these children one-on-one to learn/reinforce the basic letters, sounds, sight words, etc. and begin to read. We also have 3rd graders that have been told they cannot advance to the 4th grade this fall because they did not pass the 3rd grade reading proficiency testing. Our staff and volunteers worked with these children and strengthened their foundation. A 3rd grade boy had been told he would be retained if he did not improve his reading scores. Our site-coordinator, worked with him one-on-one to prepare him for the test. She taught him strategies to relax and focus on certain critical parts of the questions. He passed the test and will be advancing to 4th grade. Without that personalized attention, he would not have succeeded. One of our 5th graders has been with us since 1st grade. She was in a foster care situation and was very hyperactive and unfocused. She struggled with reading, especially comprehension. As she completed this summer, she was reading fluently at or above grade level, well prepared to start middle school. She has been adopted, her life has stabilized, and she has grown into a positive, leader within the group. That is the blessing of this program, we can keep in touch with these kids over time and see real growth and success. Not all of those changes in her growth can be contributed to PT, but we feel strongly that our program made a difference. Another of our 5th graders, started 4 years ago, not liking school, struggling with reading and her self confidence. At the end of the summer, she shared/sang a song she wrote in front of the large group at Parent Night. These are only a few stories of the impact on our campers
Another impact, which is often overlooked, is that of the college-aged interns who run the daily activities. They work hard to develop the trust of the campers and the campers respond so positively to the interest and encouragement of the interns. The campers love them! They cajole, challenge, and encourage positivity in the campers. They appeal to teamwork and excellence rather than punitive ways to handle the campers. In addition to the day to day guidance, support and encouragement they provide, they spent some of their “off” time serving in non-profits in the community. They worked at the Gospel Rescue Mission, Murrell Children’s Home and Fostering Hope. They gave back to the community where they lived this summer. (None are from Muskogee). They helped make our community better by the caring concern they provided our campers. They campers love these young people and their energy and talent so generously shared with our kids.
In conclusion, there are dozens of stories about the impact of this program; many will remain unknown and untold except in the future lives of those who experienced the impact of caring, concerned staff and volunteers.