Empowering Urban Youth- Las Vegas Learning Center
The day begins at 2:18 pm when the first kiddo bursts through the door at the Las Vegas Center…even though we technically don’t open for another 12 minutes.
“Am I the first one?! Can I read the Question of the Day? Can I read the Fact of the Day? Who am I working with? How many passages have I read? When are we going to Chuck E. Cheese?”
The questions are endless and you can’t help but smile at the energy in the room. Homework is placed in the homework folder, hands are cleaned using “hanitizer”, and snacks are eaten. The first 20 minutes are a sight to see as the kids battle it out in Battleship, strategize during Connect Four, and build towers in Jenga. Taking the time to connect with students and build relationships with our students is one of our key values at the Learning Centers. Our kids need to know we care about them and love them and they do!
For the next hour, they spend half their time completing homework and the other half engaging with the online literacy program. They cheer each other on and joyfully add a sticker to their star as they successfully complete a lesson. “I finished a lesson! Almost at my goal so I can get my otter pop!” They are so proud when they see that their hard work pays off and their reading has improved!
Within the walls of the Learning Center, or the “escuelita” as so many of our students affectionately call it, there is a safe space where our students feel empowered and important. Where they can gain the confidence and academic skills needed so they can graduate high school and attend college one day. Where they can share the hurt in their lives and be comforted. Where they can learn about God’s love for them.
But it’s not just the lives of the students, their families, and their neighbors who are changed; it’s us too. Our hearts are a little bigger, our voices are a little softer, and our words are a little kinder. God is doing a work in us for His glory and His purpose. Come and visit us sometime; the kids would love to meet YOU!
The light shines in the darkness and the darkness can never extinguish it. John 1:5
Written by Angela, Program Director at Club Christ. Angela volunteered for two years at the Las Vegas Center and has been on staff for the last two years. Her favorite parts of the job are mentoring the teens and witnessing the academic and spiritual growth in the students!