Nicole Pettiford wondered what productive activity her daughter Tamiko might do over the summer of 2015 before starting high school. Could there be anything of substance, something beyond the inevitable fall back of video games and watching TV?
Then a stroke of luck came in the Homeport resident newsletter serving Pettiford’s Pheasant Run apartment community in Reynoldsburg.
The Boys & Girls Clubs of Columbus would have summer programing at the Pheasant Run community center, the newsletter said.
From challenging “Brain Gain” thinking-skill activities to avoid learning loss, to hearing about the value of nutritional, healthy foods, to bowling and playing volleyball, Tamiko had a very busy summer of 2015 thanks to the programing arranged by Homeport.
Tamiko recalled that one of the more challenging aspects of her summer of fun and learning involved a trip to Nationwide Insurance. She and others got to participate in a mock job interview.
“I learned what to ask,” she said.
When summer ended, Tamiko started ninth grade at Pickerington North High School. The 2015-2016 academic year was one of her best.
“If it wasn’t for Spanish I would have made the Honor Roll,” Tamiko said. “I got at least a ‘B’ in every other subject.”
Before the summer of 2015, Tamiko said she was not a “school kind of person.”
Now, following a second year of summer activities through the Boys & Girls Clubs of Columbus programming, Tamiko has raised her academic bar and developed career aspirations.
“I’m doing honors classes. I’m doing Honors English, History and Biology,” she said. “I kind of want to work in forensics. I am thinking of joining the FBI. The military is another option . . . It’s a process.”
Of course there is the socialization that comes with the organized summer programing.
“I think of it like a school, but better. You have fun, make friends, enjoy yourself and learn something every day. It let’s you be you,” Tamiko said.
Her mother, Nicole Pettiford, is thrilled her children have engaging, creative and challenging group activities.
“My girls are able to take good care of themselves (but) I am glad there is a place available for them that is safe and fun,” Pettiford said.