LifeSTEPS After School Programs Boost Confidence in Shy Youth

Each week at AMCAL’s Villa Esperanza in Avenal LifeSTEPS facilitates after school programs.  Focusing on the hours between 3:00 and 6:00 pm, after school activities help children like Jason* succeed in school and build positiveVilla Esperanza social skills. Importantly, they also provide a safe place for children to explore their creativity.

When Jason first attended the LifeSTEPS After School Program in 2013, his mom told our Program Coordinator (PC) that he was very quiet and shy.  His mom was hoping that participating in the program would help him make friends and feel more confident in social settings with his peers.

The LifeSTEPS PC made an extra effort to include Jason by engaging him in easy conversation about things like the weather, his favorite color and favorite cartoon characters.  Jason responded well and soon began asking his own questions of the PC and other students.  Now he is one of the first to arrive and quick to offer help.  His grades have improved as have his social skills.

In his own words, Jason says, “I like the after school program because there are games, snacks and I get help with my homework.  We do activities…like making flowers and butterflies for my mom.  I like that we paint here.  …I like to paint dragons!”

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