Marbelia, mother of Joshua and Jesus (pictured), steadied herself with a deep breath while this picture was taken. While her children were engaged in play based learning, she learned that Soar in 4 began at one school and has now expanded to multiple downtown locations through the generosity of our community. Jesus, Joshua, and Marbelia have been attending Soar in 4 for two years now; they were invited when Jesus attended VPK at Rogers Garden Bullock Elememtary. Marbelia had been gushing about how Soar in 4 provides exciting activities tied to the school curriculum. She appreciates the free ideas for the family to continue learning together at home. Every time they attend, Marbelia says she is able to observe sons Joshua (3rdgrade) and Jesus (kindergarten), both attend Rogers Garden Bullock Elementary, play with a feeling of contentment. Joshua (3rd) has been struggling with reading comprehension for a few years, and she laments that this was not available when he was younger. Jesus, however, has been at Soar in 4 nights for two years. He also enjoys United Way Suncoast’s ReadingPals and LearningPals who help out weekly in his kindergarten classroom. The community collaboration and his mother’s dedication has placed Jesus at the top of his class in reading. “From one mother, please thank [the donors] who started Soar in 4. It has made such a difference –helping Jesus to learn,” Marbelia finished, patting at the corner of her eyes where tears of gratitude collected.
Jesus Torres, a kindergartner at Rogers Garden Bullock Elementary, learns about buildings and structures through play at the South Florida Museum at the December 19thSoar in 4. In the background, VPK Sea Breeze teacher, Mary Braeger, connects with families and instructs the activities of the evening. Braeger is in her third year supporting the Soar movement and enjoys the opportunity to share engaging activities that can be enjoyed in the home.
Third grader Joshua Torres of Rogers Garden Bullock Elementary has accompanied his younger brother and mother to Soar in 4 activities for two years. “There are opportunities for Joshua, too…he has just as much fun as the younger kids!” laughs mom.
“He loves to run and play; he wants to visit each activity when we come,” a mom says about her third grade son who attends Blackburn Elementary. “This is our first time at the Central Library, but our third time overall,” she explains and shares that, usually, her son is very shy and struggles to interact with others. It is different at Soar in 4 where he interacts with numerous adults and alongside other children of varied ages. “We have loved seeing all three very different places…but always finish up at the Museum,” mom smiles as her son runs from one activity to the next, almost soaring.