“I love playing the flute. It’s my favorite instrument” says eight year old Ingrid Torres. She is among 70 kids who have taken advantage of MEND’s Summer Youth Program. Two years ago, Ingrid’s grandmother and current legal guardian, Audelia Hernandez, enrolled her in the Youth Services Program after learning about its services. During the regular school year, Ingrid receives homework help, one-on-one tutoring, and participates in enrichment activities offered through the program.
“Education is really important. That is why I bring Ingrid here” says Audelia. Since the summer program began, from Wednesday through Friday, Audelia sits patiently in the lobby for four hours while Ingrid attends art, music, cooking and self-defense classes.
“It is good to keep children occupied – especially during the summer. If MEND did not have these summer classes, Ingrid would have been playing video games all day at home. That is no way for a child to learn.”
For Ingrid, one of the highlights of her summer is the friendship she has developed with her music teacher, Amber. “Amber lets me take the flute home to practice. She is really cool.” Ingrid looks forward to getting better at playing the instrument and would like to keep practicing even after the summer classes are over.
Audelia is grateful to MEND for giving her grandchild the opportunity to learn the arts. “When the kids learn here, the hope is that they pay it forward when they get older. Kids are really our future.”
Photo: Ingrid Torres and grandmother, Audelia