Alan, a rising 8th grader, is what is known as a “Mi Casa Super Participant.” Ever since he started 6th grade at Lake International School, Alan has come to afterschool programs at the Mi Casa Neighborhood Center almost every single day.
When Alan started 6th grade, he was quiet and reserved, often taking his cues from his more gregarious peers. But as Alan settled into the Mi Casa Neighborhood Center community, he discovered new activities that sparked his imagination and ignited his passion for learning and helping others.
STEM learning (science, technology, engineering and math) is at the core of many of the club activities at the Mi Casa Neighborhood Center on the Lake Middle School Campus. One of these clubs, iCode, introduces middle schoolers to computer science and basic computer coding, as well as the related career paths.
“Alan became his best self in the iCode club,” said Lauren Brown, Manager of Out-of-School Programs at the Lake Neighborhood Center. “He discovered a passion and grasped the information quickly so that he was even able to help the teacher instruct the class and offer individual support to his peers.”
Alan himself is a bit shyer about his contributions. “I don’t want to brag about it, but I was good at it. We worked a lot in teams and it felt good to help people,” he said. “Coding is fun. It’s like a puzzle.”
Alan also served as a host when 5th graders from Cowell and Colfax elementary schools visited the Mi Casa Neighborhood Center on the Lake Campus to get a taste of what middle school would be like. He led the students and teachers on a tour of the school, answered questions about life in middle school, and organized a soccer game for the elementary school visitors.
Asked what advice he offered the younger students, Alan said, “Listen to the teachers. They help you a lot. But you have to try and you have to do your homework. And if you want to have a good job, you have to work hard in school. I also told them they should come to Mi Casa because you can make friends and do your homework and the staff is really nice.”
Says Alan,“I think the world would be a better place with more Mi Casas.”