Normal shouldn't be exclusive.
We are always trying to grow and learn and that means occasionally reevaluating our program and what we do.
AspireKids wants to be able to reach as many children in our community as possible. And for the last several weeks I haven't been able to shake a concern as to whether or not focusing on certain types of extracurricular activities is actually limiting the number of kids and families we can help. Is providing a scholarship for a couple of months of dance, piano or art lessons, really helpful? Does taking an activity away from a child really make sense? Does getting to a weekly lesson present too much of a challenge and end up creating more disappointment? Maybe... maybe not.
This week, I had the privilege of speaking to Dawn Rains, Chief Policy and Strategy Officer of Treehouse for Kids in Seattle, WA. Treehouse is an amazing organization (amazing is not the right word, but I don't think there's a word great enough) that supports thousands of foster children in the state of Washington. To say it simply, Treehouse is what AspireKids wants to be when we grow up. Dawn gave me some great suggestions and confirmed that my current train of thought is valid and what we really want is to help create a sense of normalcy for kids.
As a result, at our Board Meeting this week, we voted to redefine extracurricular activities to include the day to day things that help build a sense of normalcy to include prom tickets, field trips, school pictures and more. Normal shouldn't be exclusive to kids whose families can afford it. Normal should be for everyone.
AspireKids can help!