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Summer Bash Provides an Opportunity

Let's_have_some_fun

Learning positive, healthy ways to interact with others seems to be a need in our society today.  Look at the books and articles being written.  Note the frequent speakers and guests on talk-shows and their topics.  We are being taught how to communicate within our families, especially with our children, with friends and just about everyone else.

Participants at Saint Benedict Education Center have the same needs.  The staff   are particularly aware of the desire for positive, healthy engagement within the families of our clients.  To enjoy each other.  To have fun together.  In most cases, our parents can use some practical tips on how to do this – along with some resources.  The constant stress they experience and the lack of learning experiences from their own family backgrounds highlight this need.  

Summer Bash was intended to encourage our parents to have fun with their children through the summer and provide some means to do that.

Following the routine from “Travel thru toy pick-up” last December [See article in Archives] case managers compiled a list of clients’ children with their ages.  Two days were established for volunteer staff to go shopping for summer games. The focus: Items children could enjoy with others during the nice weather.  A shopping center was then created at SBEC for the case managers and their helpers to “go shopping”.  The selections were bagged, labeled, and organized for pick-up.

Wednesday, May 5 --- SUMMER BASH  2021
SBEC participants or their designated representative drove or walked to the door and picked up their bagged items for the children throughout the day.  Due to the continuing covid-19 restrictions participants did not enter the building and the number of staff was limited.  Staff continued to social distance even as they worked together -- masked.

Asked to comment on Summer Bash 2021, Nancy Sabol, Executive Director, spoke of “the need to have fun”.  She continued, “We try to teach parents how to interact with their children.  How to play with them.” 

Pennsylvania Department of Human Services (DHS) recognizes the full range of human needs, including positive and meaningful family interaction. This contributes to a person’s ability to be a productive, steady employee.  The DHS has encouraged family engagement activities to be incorporated into the programing of agencies like SBEC.  We have effectively responded, under the direction of Kara Bauer, County Program Supervisor.

Summer Bash also provided the staff an opportunity for engagement.  In-person interaction with each other has been scarce this year – and missed. Shopping and preparing bags for the participants offered a chance to work together again, even if on a very limited and distanced basis.  Activity, voices, and laughter could be heard in the halls.  Very nice!

Especially appreciative were two new staff members who began work five weeks ago:  Employment Specialists Candan Thornton and Sonya Smith.

Candan shared, “I had the chance to interact with my supervisor and with one of the instructors.  It was a good bonding experience and we learned lots of things about each other.  It was also really fun to run together to the library to get the bags so not to make the clients wait.”  

Candan added, “I received information about the clients I will work with.  I contacted 3 of them and we scheduled a phone meeting.  During my Summer Bash shift, they all came.  It was so nice to see them in person before talking on the phone.  It made me feel more comfortable when I called them for the meeting.”

Sonya Smith said, “I helped with meeting participants as they drove by to pick up the children’s items.  It was great to see the smiling faces when they picked up the toys.  One of the participants brought her child with her and she was so beautiful and excited to receive the items.  The smile on her face was well worth standing next to the door in the cold.”  Sonya added, “As a new staff member I can barely put into words how happy I am to be a part of such a great, caring team.”

Summer Bash 2021 seems to have provided opportunities for fun and engagement not only for clients but for the staff as well.  That sounds like success!
 

Just a few of the items ready for staff shoppers
Just a few of the items ready for staff shoppers
Candan schedules a pick-up time for her client
Candan schedules a pick-up time for her client
We can't forget the babies
We can't forget the babies
Sonya is ready to give out some toys
Sonya is ready to give out some toys
A parent has arrived to pick-up toys
A parent has arrived to pick-up toys
Our wish for you
Our wish for you