Thumbs Up for After-School Fun at LifeTown

Isabella offered a thumbs up for cheerleading as she and her friend Mae settled into their cooking activity at the LifeTown after-school program, which has resumed post-COVID. 

Socializing was on the menu for Isabella and Mae along with the rest of the group, as they started following their recipe, measuring and mixing flour, water, salt, sugar and yeast, mixing it all together into flatbread dough they pressed it into the pan. On top, artworks of olives, tomatoes, shredded carrots, onion, and cilantro emerged.

Elijah finished his flatbread and headed to join the other kids on the playground, bouncing on the trampoline. “That’s his favorite activity,” said his mother, Renee Williams. The after-school program is the most structure they have tried with Elijah so far at LifeTown. He receives plenty of therapy at home, she said, but LifeTown offers a place where he can practice what he’s learning. “He keeps improving each time he’s here,” said Williams.

Among the volunteers this afternoon were some longtime adult volunteers and newly minted teens.

Jenna Reed, 12, just started volunteering at the Friendship Circle. “I like working with the kids and doing new things and helping them,” she said, as she helped Molly form the dough.

Across the table, Norraine Henry was working with Yitzi on this particular day. Henry works with kids with disabilities for a living; several times each week, when her workday is done, she heads straight to LIfeTown to volunteer. “I love it here. I love the things we do and I love the kids,” she said.

Eventually, as they finished their dough, Molly and Yitzi popped up and skipped to the playground, where Isabella and Mae were playing with another friend, Sarah. Elijah had moved on to a swing.

After a while, they all returned to the kitchen to make pumpkin muffins. Isabella cheered and gave another thumbs up.

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