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The end (of school year) is near

Well, 5 more sleeps and Grade 4 comes to an end for Miss Leila. Hard to imagine as I state every year at this time. Not sure why I am confused, we are both aging and the natural progression in schools one grade follows the other. Happily, I can state that Leila is engaged in her learning and living at school inside and outside the classroom, in community, and home.


This past week was a week that provided countless opportunities for me to participate in the richness of human connection both at work and in Leila’s world. The number of hours invested in the experiences exhausted me physically, however were balanced with the understanding it is together we will grow into solutions.


Greater Sudbury Police Service makes a concerted effort to demonstrate the members are here to be of service to all. Last Sunday GSPS and YMCA Immigrant Services together welcomed about 30 people new to our community from Chad, the Ivory Coast, India, China and Thailand to provide an opportunity for them to see the inside of the building and meet GSPS staff. The children were absolutely adorable. The adults were appreciative of the tour, the lunch and conversation. We spent Father’s Day with people around the world. Love of family permeated the day. We are better together.


This week was BURST Youth Leadership Camp Facilitator training week for new facilitators. This is the third year for the BURST Camp and we are growing the opportunity for youth. Staff from Elizabeth Frye, the group homes, Northern Youth Services, and Greater Sudbury Police Service came together to build the team that will work alongside the youth. We challenged each other to go deep, break down walls, build understanding of each other to better serve the youth. A group of virtual strangers started the week and a family ended the week. We are better together.


Leila advanced to the City Championship Track & Field Meet this week after winning two preliminary meets for the softball throw. She placed 2nd and I was there to witness her throws. To say I was impressed would be an understatement, this child could excel at baseball. To speak of her physical prowess in her accomplishment in the event is one aspect; the action that spoke louder to me was of her own volition to congratulate the girl who won the competition. Remember, she finished first in the competitions before this one. She had to reconcile she was no longer first, the distance between 1st 27.44 m and 2nd 27.19 m was .25 m (about 10 inches). Our conversation following the meet was around her working through the mechanics of her throw and the disadvantage she may have endured because she did that all on her own vs. being coached to throw properly. I listened, I learned, and she is already thinking about what to do for next year. We are better together.


Leila played her 2nd last 3-on-3 games for this season. There are 3-10-minute games and one was won. Leila was thrilled because it was her first shut-out which, began the conversation to balance the excitement associated with the shut-out and the recognition this also means the players were on their game. Team sports are successful when the athletes are aware they are interdependent. Each athlete has the right to feel the emotions associated with individual accomplishments because this will hopefully be the fuel that motivates further skill development, to push them to be better. With their commitment to work towards betterment and the recognition they are interdependent, teams will become stronger. The players on this 3-on-3 team keep coming back each week and it is not their win-loss record that brings them back. No, they keep coming back because of the relationships they created over the hockey season and this league provided an opportunity for them to continue spending healthy, happy time together. They continued to hone their skills, their determination to become better – believe me, no matter the score, no matter how much time was left on the clock, they never gave up. I looked forward to each week because this meant more time to spend with the parents. We are better together.


What was more insightful were the dreams Leila shared. Yesterday we spent time discussing her future and I was in awe of her clarity and belief it was all possible. Leila and her friend, Daniella, are going to travel the world to help other countries to build restaurants with their cultural foods. They would give the money to start the businesses and then donate the money back to those in need. In countries that required it they would assist with evacuations. Leila, the dentist would ensure their teeth were taken care of; Daniella, the police officer would make sure all were safe; Leila would assist as an undercover officer; other friends are planning to become doctors and they would be there to take care of the sick. This is a summary of her monologue, the words evacuation, cultural, undercover – all her. Leila, gets – “We are better together.”


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About The Author

Anna Barsanti is a retired educator who is sharing the experiences of raising her niece.

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