TOGETHER, WE WILL WIN
When we were setting up the shot list (video production speak for getting the video we need), I asked our Director of Success After 6, Brenda Scott, and Success After 6 Manager, Tara Walker-Pollock, to ask some families if they would like to be a part of the video. About 10 families showed up to the Youngstown Community School (YCS) on the first day of filming in the summer of 2017. Some of the families were from YCS and some were from Taft Elementary in the Youngstown City School District.
YCS is the site of our pilot Success After 6 program. It'll be entering its 3rd year in the 2017-2018 school year. The Parent Committee at YCS is phenomenal. They're are group of highly engaged parents and family members who want the best of their children, the school, the Youngstown community, and our United Way. Several of them were there for the first day of filming. I was glad. I knew a lot of these smiling faces.
Two of those smiling faces were Maeson and his dad Pete. When I think of Success After 6 at YCS, I can't help but think of these two. Maeson started the program in 2015. His dad took a chance on this brand new program, and not only let his son be a part of it but he also hit the ground running - always helping and always volunteering.
But let's talk about Maeson. I got to know him pretty early on during that first year. He was a good kid, but you can tell he could get an attitude if he wanted to and he could talk back if he wanted to as well...he actually told me when he did some days.
Maeson loves playing football. He was always telling me about his upcoming football games.
Every time I saw him at the after-school program, I made sure to ask if he was behaving. Sometimes he said, yes. Other times, he was honest and said no, he was having a rough day. He talked back to his teacher. Or he wasn't getting along with his classmate. I appreciated his honesty, a trait that is sometimes hard to come by. I told him to try to be good. And I'd check on him when I was back at the school.
Then we started a Mobile Food Pantry with Second Harvest Food Bank. So every third Friday of the month, I went to YCS to help. And Pete, Maeson's dad, was there helping. So Maeson was there too. He'd sit by me. Ask me to play on my phone. Ask me to play on snap chat. We'd laugh and joke. He's a great kid.
When we were ready to shoot the video, Maeson and Pete were first to go. We took them up to the Library and had them interact. They were gold, stars in the making! They knew what to do, and it was natural...because well, we tried to make as comfortable as possible.
So when Ed, our voiceover guy and amazing donor, says, "We Fight for Maeson" We do fight for Maeson...and actually Maeson and Pete are in the fight with us. Trying to make life better for everyone in the school and everyone in the community.