The Williamsburg Middle School Extended Day Program changes adolescents’ lives. It can even be said that this program can save lives. It saved my life.
Don’t take my word for it, Ms. Kia Martin, 15 year supervisor of the program said, “it’s all about making a lasting positive impression with the kids….It really means a lot to me when kids who used to be in the program come back to visit even when they are in high school [and] college.” This type of love and passion is what saved me.
When I was younger I lacked self confidence; I felt like everyone was better than me in school and sports. My parents believed that school was more important than making friends and joining sport teams. They kept me in my room with nothing to do other than read books and review homework; I was very unhappy. I felt like everyone else was having fun while I was stuck at home; I thought my life was always going to be empty and boring.
In 7th grade, my life was no longer a sob story; I met Ms. Martin and began to attend the Extended Day Program. I played games in the gym, cracked jokes, and made friends.
Most importantly, I could sit down with a counselor, or even Ms. Martin, at any given time and talk to them about anything. I will never forget the trust and love I developed with these people. They would listen to any personal problem of mine; whether it was about a petty crush I had on a girl or something serious like my fear about becoming a failure when I grew up.
In fact, that is Ms. Martin’s favorite aspect of her line of work, “I love building relationships with the children here, offering advice, and letting the children vent to me when they need someone to talk to. It makes me feel good and makes my job worthwhile knowing that the kids here feel confident enough and trust me enough to confide to me about any[thing] personal.”
Ms. Martin really is a life changer. What is amazing is that this wasn’t even her first choice for a career. She said, “When I went to College I originally thought I would be a lawyer or an accountant, but…I realized that I had an innate ability to work with kids, and I also enjoyed it…I had a knack for working with kids in the middle school age group.”
Ms. Martin continues to bring this love of life and passion for learning to work every day. She said, “I enjoy working with this age group because there is a lot of socializing and day-to-day conversations; you can also do a lot more elaborate and extensive activities, and also since I’ve been here for so long I’ve established relationships and become comfortable with the Williamsburg Staff.”
I remember sneaking out of class to see what Ms. Martin had planned that afternoon for the Extended Day program. That bell to end the school day couldn’t ring fast enough. 15 years later, students still get thrilled when that final bell rings and the Extended Day Program begins.