Autumn Joy at Thea Bowman Center, Sept- Nov 2019

Community Education: GED

“Another GED student has earned a diploma, HOORAY!!!” announced Cheryl Johnson, Coordinator of Community Education. “The other day I knew Steven was taking the test,” She wrote. “He came to the Center right after taking it. When I opened the door, he stood there with tears in his eyes. I said, ‘Are those happy tears?’ He said, ‘Yes I passed!’ and we jumped for joy.”

Tutor Vicky Aron, says, “Thea Bowman Center helps those who life has hit the hardest.” Cheryl and Vicky provide an encouraging environment, one-on-one tutoring, and flexible class hours to allow for daily life demands. Students are encouraged to learn at their own pace. Another graduate, Tiffany, said, “Thank you Thea Bowman Center, Ms. Cheryl and Ms. Vicky for helping me accomplish a long lived goal.” Congratulations to one and all!!

Community Education: Computer Literacy

This fall, Thea Bowman Center held Basic Computer (Computer, Internet, e-mail) and Advanced Computer (Windows 10, Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint) classes. An Open Lab was available two afternoons and evenings per week for online job searches, resume writing, and class projects. The program provides a priceless opportunity for all ages in a community without broadband access. The classes are especially popular with our seniors!

Youth: Homework Help, Keyboarding, Music, Kung Fu!

Homework Help: Every Monday-Thursday, 15 – 20 students in Grades 5-8, arrive at Thea Bowman Center for a free meal, followed by tutoring, music classes and other learning activities. This semester’s tutoring focus is on creatively teaching math! Students have learned about inches and feet through measuring each other, fractions through cutting up pizza, decimals through working with coins (which they were able to keep!) and equations using Post-It notes!

Keyboarding Kidz: Ten students are transported each afternoon from Nathan Hale Elementary School to attend these classes. While all of them know how to use a cellphone, in Keyboarding Kidz, they learn computer basics that will help them in every future endeavor. And they love it!

Music and Kung Fu at Nathan Hale: This program has been held for several years in partnership with Starting Point. Thea Bowman Center sponsors after-school Music and Kung Fu classes at the school for 15 students. Music classes, at the school and the Center, are taught by long-time instructor, Faceta Ward. Our young violinists performed to great acclaim at our recent Thea Bowman Benefit!

Thank you for all YOU do to support these programs!!!

Summer Fun at Thea Bowman Center, July 2019

“This summer was our best ever!” exclaimed Willa Walker, one of the three retired teachers who coordinated eight weeks of activities for the twenty-five children who attended summer camp at Thea Bowman Center. “The children seemed more involved in the programs,” continued Ms. Walker. “Kids learn a lot from the organized activities, and we made sure it was fun.”

Executive Director Ella Thomas agreed. “We stress positive social interactions, teamwork, respect for each other, and the importance of learning new information and skills.” Campers from 5 to 13 years of age participated in arts and crafts, wood working, field trips, outdoor activities, and even music and Kung Fu programs. “They especially loved the field trip to RollHouse Entertainment in Solon,” said Ms. Thomas. “Many had never gone bowling. Glenn Gable (owner of RollHouse) provided food and fun that they will never forget. One of the girls cried when we left.”

Through Kids 2 Kids, introduced to Thea Bowman Center by volunteer Susan Cheshire, campers shared activities and worked on three projects with Solon students. Along with other sponsors, Kids 2 Kids provided a number of camper scholarships, which gave more children the opportunity to attend. “It’s so important for the children to have something to do during the summer,” said Ms. Walker.

Camp Director, Sylvia Little-Harris, was assisted by the retired teachers, four teenagers from the community, who were supported by Youth Opportunities Unlimited (YOU), and two Vista workers. Summer music and Kung Fu classes were taught by instructors who teach in an afterschool Thea Bowman Center- sponsored program at Nathan Hale School. 

Facility Management Coordinator, Ed Caffey, and volunteer Bob Schiele, oversaw woodworking and other creative projects where campers learned to turn ideas into reality. Both men were amazed by the ideas the children came up with.

Camp wrapped up with an Intergenerational Picnic, where Thea Bowman Center seniors shared a day of fun and food with the campers and their families at Garfield Park Reservation. Children and families, 90% of whom live in Mt. Pleasant loved the picnic and the camp experience. However, the most vocal supporter was a young camper from Euclid, who said, “I woke up my mom early every day to make sure I arrived at camp on time!”