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The Meaning of Clapping

This year was my first time hosting a holiday party for the Homework Club students as a new co-facilitator. I admit to being a little nervous about what the night would bring, but it was nothing short of absolutely wonderful. The kids were so excited to be there, to spend time with one another, to be celebrated. I think it was so important that their efforts and determination be acknowledged with praise, good company, great food and endless treats.

One moment throughout a night of many wondrous happenings was with the tutors. We wanted to be sure to thank them and their tireless efforts and in the midst of singing their praises the students responded with hooting, hollering and clapping that went on quite endlessly. I thought it was such a pure testament to the extraordinary impact these tutors have had on our kid’s lives. It made me momentarily reflect on how many times I had seen kids run to set up the chess board because they were determined to beat the pre-med tutor this week or share some inside joke with one of them, how many times our kids have smiled shyly when being greeted or praised or even just casually acknowledged as someone worth noticing. It spoke to the significance of what it means to these kids when a tutor will patiently sit for hours working on something little or remember to ask about a big test that another kid was feeling anxious about.

We see these moments as inconceivably small and unremarkable but to young minds who have perhaps never been seen as smart or worthy or capable it has an incredible effect. The endless clapping was not just a simple thank you, but a means of gratitude for letting them be seen, heard and understood.

~ Kaitlee Simonson

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