In this installment of ask the expert Article we have our very own Ms.Shante. She is one of the facilators of our Saturday program here at Mercy.
Mercy is doing amazing things for the children in the Afterschool program. Our list of partners continues to grow and now a. In the spring of 2016, the Voices of Faith Gospel Choir from the University of Notre Dame chose Mercy as a venue to perform for their alumni. We opened the doors of the Mercy Family Center to a wonderful group of Notre Dame Alums and very talented students. During their performance, each student mentioned where they were from, what they were studying, and what drew them to Notre Dame. The choir, made up of 95% African-American students were inspiring and our Executive Director, Sister Ann Provost, imagined our students on that stage one day. Continuing our efforts to show our students a world outside of their immediate neighborhood, we began our talks with Nia Daye, a member of the Notre Dame Alumni Club of Philadelphia and the chair of their Diversity Initiatives.
The program is geared towards getting the children more engaged in political views, social issues and educational experiences. Children in Mercy’s afterschool program were surveyed about what they would like Each topic is different and interesting to the children. Notre Dame Alums meet the children once a month on a Saturday from 10:00am to 12:00pm. Children from fourth grade to eighth grade were the ones initially invited, but children in second and third grade were interested as well and welcomed with open arms.
Staff at Mercy have encouraged these children to come and get involved. Each Saturday the program grows more and more. Children are even eager to come on their own.
These children come to the program to socialize with the alumni of Notre Dame, their peers and faculty of Mercy. Each time the children come there has been something exciting involved. During their time here, the alums present the topic of the day. The students participate in general discussion of the topic, work in small groups to find solutions to social issues, and discover new ideas and skills.
Adding to the program and development of social skills there is either morning breakfast, a pizza party, a dance-off or another extracurricular activity going. The children get to express their opinions about anything without any judgement being passed. This leads to an environment where they can truly enjoy themselves.