Middle school. That awkward time when hormones confuse our moods and emotions, our bodies are developing rapidly and our growing social awareness makes every day an internalized TV drama. Throw in a heaping spoonful of technology and social media advancements and we've got one flavorful concoction of a young person. A young person in need of support and mentorship as they navigate such a tricky season of life.
This week our organization embarks on its 5th year of CASE (Character and Skills Education) After School Program through the Nashville After Zone Alliance. The program, which serves 5th -8th graders, has been a growing success since its inception in 2013, where we began with just a few students,to now what will be over 80 students at 5 different middle school sites around Metro Nashville. In addition to expanding our program to two other area middle schools, we are also initiating a site dedicated to performance art this fall (called ArtLab).
We recognize that middle school students are at a pivotal age when they are still making up their mind as to whether or not they are going to appreciate their school/educational experience. It's our effort to create a safe space for students to learn to appreciate what it means to build character and skills that will help them move responsibly and successfully into their next season of life.
In addition to this goal, we also recognize how much of a need it is for middle school youth to have healthy extracurricular activities. Statistics communicate that adolescent crime is actually at its peak between the hours of 4-6pm when youth get out of school, but often times aren't yet under the supervision of their parents. What better way to combat this reality than giving youth better outlets for spending their time finishing homework and learning gardening, cooking, woodworking, sports, small business development and the list goes on.
As we embark on this year of service, we are more committed to provide quality programming that not only makes the learning experience enjoyable, but one that can continue to make students hungry to learn and become young people of character.
The C.A.S.E. program at Dupont Hadley Middle Prep is a program of the Nashville After Zone Alliance. The Nashville After Zone Alliance is a network of coordinated after school programming for Metro’s middle-school students. NAZA is a partnership among the Nashville Public Library, MNPS, and other existing youth-serving groups. It is modeled on successful efforts in other cities and is organized around geographically-defined zones.