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Saturday, April 20, 2024

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Project Vision Offers Choices

 

By Maureen Cawley

When the school bell rings at the end of the day, kids face lots of choices—some of them difficult ones. But a select group of fifth and sixth graders from Sandman Consolidated School have already made a good one.
The boys and girls in Cape Assist’s Project Vision program meet after school in separate groups twice a week to hang out with friends and to make new ones, while they learn about navigating life’s tough choices.
Occasionally, the kids go out into the community to do service projects like this past Wednesday when they volunteered to clean up the beach at Cape May Point. Other times, they spend time together at school: making crafts, playing games and talking about their day.
Meanwhile, they are also learning to talk about things they might not otherwise talk about: relationships, conflict resolution, drugs and alcohol and many of the difficult decisions they’ll likely face over the next few years.
“(Project Vision) is really about alternatives,” Education/ Prevention Specialist, Elene B. Fiordaliso, said. “It’s about doing activities and lessons that help us to make better decisions.”
Sixth Grader Autumn Marie Pilczuk, 12, says an important aspect of the program is that what they discuss remains confidential. “What we talk about there stays there,” Pilczuk said, and in that safe and confidential environment, the kids can talk freely about their problems and concerns.
But last Wednesday, with the wind blowing hard along the beach at Cape May Point, there was work to do and very little talking going on. Instead, the friends spent the better part of an hour doing their part to make their community’s beaches nicer.
Fiordaliso said it’s important for the kids to realize they can play a positive role where they live.
It’s a mission that boy’s group leader, Wil Kauffman shares. “I facilitate for young men to learn who they are and to learn to be leaders in the world,” he said.
It’s bold vision, but one they are creating one day, one conversation, and one piece of trash at a time.
Contact Cawley at: (609) 886-8600 ext. 47 or mcawley@cmcherald.com

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