Horizons Season of Gratitude
It's Horizons' Season of Gratitude! During this time of year at Horizons National, we reflect on the successes and challenges of the past year, and express our gratitude for the people, partnerships, and passion that make Horizons programs possible.
2021 was another unusual year for out-of-school time learning. After over a year of interrupted and remote lessons, with students shifting in and out of school, we are inspired by the efforts of Horizons communities nationwide to bring students back to their programs.
One 9th grade student at Horizons at New Canaan Country School said it best:
I value the determination of the community. The Horizons community cared about us students so much that they put forth the utmost effort to coming here and setting up to provide us with the Horizons experience. Was it tough? Yes, but that didn't faze them because they cared about us getting here, even with masks and all the protocols.
68 Horizons sites across the country made it possible for over 5,700 students to connect, learn, share, and celebrate together, both in-person and virtually. To kick off this Season of Gratitude, we're feeling grateful for the many ways Horizons students have been engaged this year, from celebrations and Service Saturdays to online classes and Horizons' hallmark summer program!
Here are just a few snapshots of fun, resilience, and growth this year across the Horizons Network:
- Though their program was virtual this summer, Horizons Hampton Roads (VA) created opportunities for students to travel and learn together. One Reading Specialist shared, “I taught a class titled, ‘Traveling to Hawaii.’ It was truly an enrichment experience for all. I enjoyed seeing the students' faces light up as we visited a volcano, went underwater in a submarine, hiked to a waterfall, visited the Polynesian Culture Center and the world's largest maze at the Dole Plantation, and learned to do the hula. They also learned about Pearl Harbor and were able to incorporate their feelings, thoughts, and mood as they learned what happened there. This has been a great six weeks of happiness and a fun teaching/learning experience.”
- Horizons at St. Richard’s Episcopal School (IN) created environments for students to learn more effectively by encouraging social and emotional development for its 150 students, many of whom have experienced trauma. Students participated in weekly group counseling sessions with trained counselors, touching on topics like friendship, anger management, and loneliness, plus one-on-one sessions as needed. Students also practiced coping mechanisms like breathing exercises, yoga, and mindfulness.
- Horizons at Norwalk Community College (CT) held their first “Service Learning Day” this summer. They partnered with the Norwalk Community College Food Pantry, Open Doors CT, and a local church to host a food and supply drive on campus. Students made signs and cards to encourage the community to come out, and spent the day collecting goods, organizing care packages, writing positive notes, and learning that anyone can be charitable and make a difference in their community.
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