>Newark Connection: Make a Difference

>We continue TSTI’s Newark Connection project, which was inspired by our congregants asking “what can we do?” after Newark Mayor Corey Booker’s visit to our congregation. One of our on-going efforts is helping improve the lives of Newark’s children by sharing our time and talents with elementary school children at an afterschool program. How wonderful that Roger Landau has chosen to make a difference in these children’s lives:

“For the past year, I’ve volunteered at the St Ann’s after-school program in Newark. St Ann’s runs a day
care center with an after-school program for elementary school students. On alternating Thursdays, I
play games and lead athletic activities for the kids. I like to think that I’m channeling my inner gym
teacher. When the weather is good, we go outside to play on the narrow blacktop adjoining the
building. I start the kids with some calisthenics and stretching. Then, I teach basic basketball skills.
This is a little tough to do because the only basketball hoop they have is a rickety, portable hoop that
stands about five feet tall and is too small for a regular size ball to fit through. Despite the challenging
facilities, the kids love playing hoops and have even improved their basketball skills.
In addition to bringing basketballs with me, I pack a variety of jump ropes which the girls like to use.
The girls and one of the boys have also organized a cheerleading squad. When we take a break from
basketball, the cheerleading squad comes out for the “half-time” show. They are a little disorganized,
but once they decide which cheers to perform, they are actually quite good.
In the winter, it’s a little more difficult to run a gym class due to the tight space. Nonetheless, I’ve tried
to adapt and the kids are still enthusiastic. In addition to calisthenics, this winter I taught yoga to the
kids. They love to stand on their heads! While on winter break from college, my older son came with
me and taught weight-lifting. The kids loved it, too! My son returned to college and now I lug a bag
full of weights to St Anns.
Overall, volunteering at St Anns has been a very rewarding experience. I feel like I’ve touched the
lives of these kids while providing positive lessons in physical fitness. I look forward to continuing to
volunteer at St Anns.”

Arlene Gordon coordinates our efforts at St. Ann’s. You (and your appropriate age children) can volunteer (for as little as 3 times on a weekday afternoon) and do an activity you choose: art, gym, reading, etc. Make a difference! Contact Arlene Gordon jecasago@aol.com for more information.

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