Isabella, 8 years old

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Describe your favorite memory at Carver.

“My favorite memory at Carver is when I was with Eliana and I first walked in to Carver. I thought it was a basketball camp because of all the basketball courts. I told my mom I thought she brought me to the wrong place but turns out, it’s not a basketball camp!”

Who is your role model?

“My friend Rowan at my school because she inspires me. She’s in magazines for modeling and it really makes me happy when she says nice things to me.”

What do you want to be when you grow up?

“I want to be a zoologist because I really like animals. I want to help animals so they’re not sick.”

What’s your biggest dream?

“To be a unicorn.”

Describe an accomplishment that you’re proud of.

“I’m proud of doing gymnastics. I can do lots of cool tricks!”

What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned at Carver?

“To not fight and to share, especially with ice cream.”

How would you describe Carver to someone who doesn’t know what it is?

“It’s a camp that I go to, and you should go there too.”

Analisse, 8 years old

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Describe your favorite memory at Carver.

“It was during my first year here. I was 5 years old and we went to the Maritime Aquarium to see The Incredibles.”

Who is your role model?

“My role model is my sister. She’s 15 and her name is Janelle. She helps me with a lot of things. If I find something that’s hard to do she’ll help me with it.”

What do you want to be when you grow up?

“I want to be a photographer. Sometimes my mom lets me take pictures and I really like it.”

What’s your biggest dream?

“My biggest dream is going to Universal Studios. I might go next month!”

Describe an accomplishment that you’re proud of.

“My mom put a bunch of different materials out from around the house and made a competition for me and my sister to see who could build the tallest tower. I won!”

What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned at Carver?

“Carver has helped me upgrade my math skills.”

How would you describe Carver to someone who doesn’t know what it is?

“Carver is a fun and educational place where people are really nice to you. It’s a really fun place to go to camp.”

Alyssa, 9 years old

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Describe your favorite memory at Carver.

“My favorite memory is when we went to Sky Zone. I had a lot of fun jumping around and doing the obstacle courses. I had a lot of fun with my friends.”

Who is your role model?

“My mom. She’s pretty, smart, and hardworking. She helps people get jobs. We like to hang out together and talk about our day at dinner. Also, we have the same favorite color. We both like pink.”

What do you want to be when you grow up?

“I want to be an interior designer.”

What’s your biggest dream?

“To be successful, to help people, and to never give up.”

Describe an accomplishment that you’re proud of.

“I’m proud of what I’ve done in art class and in music class in school. We played the recorder in music and I really liked it, even though sometimes I mess up a little bit.”

What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned at Carver?

“No bullying.”

How would you describe Carver to someone who doesn’t know what it is?

“It’s very fun. I think anyone would like it because they give us a lot of things to do. You’re never bored here.”

Alexandra, 8 years old

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Describe your favorite memory at Carver.

“The first time I was here, 4 years ago, I met my counselors and my friends. I’m still friends with some of them today.”

Who is your role model?

“I admire pop stars like Taylor Swift and Katy Perry.”

What do you want to be when you grow up?

“Lots of stuff. I want to be a teacher, a doctor, a nurse, a police officer, a pop star, an artist, I want to take care of people, I want to take care of pets, I want to be famous, and I want to help people who can’t see or hear or talk. I want to be a very nice person.”

What’s your biggest dream?

“To be a singer.”

Describe an accomplishment that you’re proud of.

“This year, when I was in third grade, we had a test on Native Americans and I got a 100. I was the only one in the class to get a perfect score. I studied day and night and almost couldn’t sleep! I stayed up late at night studying and when my mom came in my room to check in on me I pretended that I was asleep.”

What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned at Carver?

“To be a great person and to never let your friends down.”

How would you describe Carver to someone who doesn’t know what it is?

“Carver is a place where you go on lots of field trips and have fun. You make lots of new friends and you get to go swimming, bowling, and golfing."

Rafael, 6 years old

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Describe your favorite memory at Carver.

“Playing soccer here is really fun, but so are all the activities that we do here.”

Who is your role model?

“My role model is my soccer coach. I love soccer and he’s so nice. I really want to be like him. He’s fair and if someone makes a goal and it doesn’t count, he’ll say, ‘no goal!’. He really looks out for me.”

What do you want to be when you grow up?

“I want to be a firefighter. Firefighters are really brave and I am really brave. It’s a really cool job.”

What is your biggest dream?

“To do a backflip. But in a pool.”

Describe an accomplishment that you’re proud of.

“I’m proud of my art. I make really cool drawings that are really realistic.”

How would you describe Carver to someone who doesn’t know what it is?

“It’s so fun. It’s really the best. You get to do all the fun activities that I’ve done here.”

Allen, 11 years old

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Describe your favorite memory at Carver.

“My favorite memory at Carver is making my first friends. They’ve stayed at Carver for a while. We met each other during free time. We started talking and we played tag, and we’ve been friends ever since. That was three years ago.”

Who is your role model?

“Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks are my role models. They broke down barriers for people and I think they have a lot of effects on kids because they make kids feel like they can do that too.”

What do you want to be when you grow up?

“I want to be a chef because I want a job where I can help people. So if there’s a person in need, I’ll be able to give them some food because I’ll know how to cook.”

What is your biggest dream?

“My biggest dream is world peace.”

Describe an accomplishment that you’re proud of.

“Helping people. Once, this kid got bullied and I helped him.”

What’s the most important lesson that Carver has taught you?

“How to be nice to other people, respect one another, and be responsible for our actions. The counselors taught us that, and now, everyone gets along here.”

How would you describe Carver to someone who doesn’t know what it is?

“It’s fun! You get a lot of exercise and you play around a lot. You also learn a bunch of things.”

Dewayne, 10 years old

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Describe your favorite memory at Carver.

“My favorite memory at Carver is having a water balloon fight. It was super fun.”

Who is your role model?

“My fifth grade teacher, Mr. Cingari, is my role model. He encourages us to never quit or give up. He reminded us that there’s no ‘i’ in team.”

What do you want to be when you grow up?

“I want to be a gamer. I play fortnite and I’m really good. I think it would be really fun to do something that I love.”

Describe an accomplishment that you’re proud of.

“I’m really proud of graduating fifth grade.”

What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned at Carver?

“That you can accomplish literally anything that you put your mind to. My dad has shown me that. Once, I thought I wasn’t going to be able to do my math homework, but my dad gave me encouragement. I got a 100 on it!”

How would you describe Carver to someone who doesn’t know what it is?

“Carver is a very fun and interesting place.”

Alejandro, 12 years old

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Describe your favorite memory at Carver.

“It’s really hard to decide. Almost every memory is my favorite. Every day is new and exciting. But if I had to choose, it would be going swimming or going to Lake Compounce.”

Who is your role model?

“My mom is my role model. We like the same music and we have a lot of fun together.”

What do you want to be when you grow up?

“I want to be a Youtuber.”

What’s your biggest dream?

“My biggest dream is to be famous. I want the whole world to know who I am. Also, I’d like to learn every language.”

What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned at Carver?

“Carver has taught me to be myself and to express my feelings.”

How would you describe Carver to someone who doesn’t know what it is?

“Carver is a way to make friends and get to know other people.”

Teagan, 9 years old

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Describe your favorite memory at Carver.

“I really like the field trips and the counselors. They’re super nice and they do their job well. My favorite field trip was going to monster golf because we had so much fun. You could go golfing, play arcade games, or play laser tag.”

Who is your role model?

“Harriet Tubman. She led the slaves to freedom and she taught me a really important lesson: trust what you believe in, and you will succeed.”

What do you want to be when you grow up?

“I want to be an OBGYN. I really like babies and I really like helping people.”

What’s your biggest dream?

“My biggest dream is to be a successful OBGYN.”

Describe an accomplishment that you’re proud of.

“I got a lead role in a play. It was called ‘Mother Goose Retires’ and I got the role of the Queen of Hearts.”

What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned at Carver?

“To care for everybody and to be kind.”

How would you describe Carver to someone who doesn’t know what it is?

“Carver is an after school and summer program that helps kids. In the summer, you go on really fun field trips but you still learn so that you don’t forget what you were taught during the school year.”

Student Spotlight: Lirik

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Interviewed by: Hanna Tulchinsky

Q: Can you describe your favorite memory at Carver?

Lirik: My favorite memory was when we went to Lake Compounce during summer camp. It was awesome! We went on rides and we swam. My favorite part was buying souvenirs. I bought a cardholder to put my Pokemon cards in.

Q: Who is your role model?

Lirik: My role model is Ms. Cherae, a teacher at Carver. She’s kind, caring, and always determined. I want to become a writer, and when I become successful I’m going to buy her a buffet meal!

Q: What do you want to be when you grow up?

Lirik: You know, they say if you do something you love, you never work a day in your life! That’s why I want to be a writer. It’s my dream. I want to go to Fairfield University and get a degree in writing. I want to write all types of novels, but mainly adventure and suspense stories for kids. I have a bunch of favorite writers who mesmerize me with their stories. I want to be able to do that too for other kids. My favorite authors are James Patterson, Jeff Kinney, and Suzanne Collins.

Q: What is your biggest dream?

 Lirik: My biggest dream is to write a New York Times #1 bestselling book that will be remembered forever. Like Moby Dick but combined with something suspenseful and humorous like Diary of a Wimpy Kid.

Q: Can you describe an accomplishment that you’re proud of?

Lirik: I had high honors all four quarters.

Q: What is the most important lesson that Carver has taught you?

Lirik: From Carver, I’ve learned that the greatest memories don’t have to be at the best places or on the greatest holidays. The greatest memories can happen any day, anytime, anywhere.

Q: How would you describe Carver to someone who doesn’t know what it is?

Lirik: It’s the kind of program where you’re going to have lots of adventures and meet lots of people.

Hanna's Blog to continue with support from Greenwich Academy

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Starting last summer, volunteer Hanna Tulchinsky, class of 2020 at Greenwich Academy, has been interviewing students participating in Carver programs. The initial stories were of those students who attended Carver’s 2018 Summer Enrichment Program for grades K to 5 (ages 5 to 13) located at the Carver Community Center. Since then Hanna has continued to profile students in Carver’s after school programs this year.

Hanna’s storytelling is available here on this dedicated Carver blog. Hanna’s reporting gives us all a glimpse into the goals and accomplishments of Carver kids.

Additionally, Hanna has created thank-you videos for Carver donors and other videos that document Carver events.

Hanna’s good work caught the attention of the Greenleaf Foundation at Greenwich Academy, which just awarded Carver a grant of $1,000 to support Hanna’s continued volunteer work for Carver, particularly her reporting and videos this coming summer.

Established in the year 2000, the Greenleaf Foundation’s mission is “to effect positive change in the community by funding programs that focus on issues impacting young people in need, especially girls.” Carver is grateful to Greenwich Academy for encouraging volunteerism among its students and now for the school’s foundation providing financial support of Hanna’s excellent work to promote the Carver mission and capture the stories of Carver kids.

Student Spotlight: Kobe

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Interviewed by: Hanna Tulchinsky

 Q: Can you describe your favorite memory at Carver?

 Kobe: One of my favorite memories is from one of the first times I came here. We were playing five-on-five basketball, girls versus boys, and we just goofed around. We weren’t playing seriously– we were just having fun the whole time, and it was amazing.

 Q: Who is your role model?

 Kobe: My biggest role models are my two older brothers. They are two different parts of me. The middle brother loves gaming, and my oldest brother loves basketball. He was so obsessed with it that he actually went to college to play basketball! But both of my brothers helped create the person I am now because one of them taught me about gaming and the other taught me about basketball.

 Q: What do you want to be when you grow up?

 Kobe: I want to major in electronic engineering. At my elementary school, we had a program where we could do robotics which I loved. That really inspired me to be an electronic engineer. But honestly, I’d love to be a professional basketball player, either overseas or in the NBA. They say that you have a better chance of being struck by lightning than getting into the NBA. But to be able to do what I love at the professional level is a goal for me.

 Q: What is your biggest dream?

 Kobe: My biggest dream is to be a professional gamer and own a company that creates games with my brother. Starting a new business will be hard, but I’m willing to work for it.

 Q: Can you describe an accomplishment that you’re proud of?

 Kobe: I had high honors for all four quarters last year.

 Q: What is the most important lesson that Carver has taught you?

 Kobe: It has taught me that with hard work and dedication, things will work out. The first time I ever played basketball was here. Because of all the practice I’ve had at Carver I’ve been able to play on competitive basketball teams.

 Q: How would you describe Carver to someone who doesn’t know what it is?

 Kobe: Honestly, when I first started coming here and people explained to me what Carver was, they didn’t do it justice. They said it was a fun place, but it’s so much more fun than I thought it could be. I never get bored here. You do your homework, you talk, you eat snacks, and you play with your friends. It’s a really good experience.

Student Spotlight: Justin Forde receives a scholarship to attend the University of Miami

At the recent New Balance Indoor Boys in March 2019, here is Justin in the Triple Jump.  Photo by Dave MacCauley

At the recent New Balance Indoor Boys in March 2019, here is Justin in the Triple Jump. Photo by Dave MacCauley

Justin Forde, a senior at Brien McMahon High School and a student who has been a member of Carver’s after school Youth Development Program, received a full athletic scholarship from the University of Miami.

Here are his latest high school stats. On March 11th, recovering from ankle injuries, Justin competed and won the triple jump competition at New Balance Nationals Indoor with 51-3. Here is an interview with Justin following that victory. At the last outdoor season at the CT State Open, Justin won the triple jump (49-6.5) and second high jump (6-4), and at the Class LL he won the triple jump (48-3.75), won the long jump (22-2.5) and achieved the second high jump (6-4).

Here is Justin and school friend Kelete Sherald reporting to Carver readers about what they discovered last year at Villanova University during Carver’s annual Spring College Tour.

The Carver community is so proud of its students, and we congratulate Justin on his many academic and athletic achievements as he continues his career at the University of Miami.

Student Spotlight: Trinity McFadden

Five RIT/NTID students were named the university’s first Maguire Scholars. Pictured, from left to right, are Ethan Misal, Nathan Murray, RIT/NTID President Gerry Buckley, Cameron Carey, Trinity McFadden and Ty Brady. Photo credit:  A. Sue Weisler

Five RIT/NTID students were named the university’s first Maguire Scholars. Pictured, from left to right, are Ethan Misal, Nathan Murray, RIT/NTID President Gerry Buckley, Cameron Carey, Trinity McFadden and Ty Brady. Photo credit: A. Sue Weisler

The Carver community abounds with successful students. Trinity McFadden achievements keep inspiring us all.

Trinity is a first-year criminal justice major at the Rochester Institute of Technology. She is among the inaugural group of Maguire Scholars, an academically based scholarship valued at $5,000 per year. This is by no means the first scholarship awarded to Trinity. During her high school years at Brien McMahon High School she won a scholarship to study in Japan with the Center for Global Studies. Upon graduation in 2018, Trinity won many scholarships, including from Carver the DeAndre Parks Scholarship, which is given to the Carver student with the highest GPA. Other awards included the Norwalk Lions Club Scholarship, the Greenfield Everyday Heroes Award, and the BMHS Alumni Association Scholarship.

We just learned that Trinity is being recognized at her school’s annual Senior Luncheon. The seniors recognize one student from each class. Trinity also made the Dean's List with a 4.0 GPA, and she was invited to join the school’s Honors Program. Trinity is learning Russian sign language as an elective, and will be traveling to Russia for three weeks in May as part of the curriculum.

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Years ago, we asked Trinity to write an essay about herself and her experience to date at Carver. Here is what she had to say. Read this and you’ll realize why she is a hero to many of us who know and admire her story.

My name is Trinity McFadden and I am a thirteen-year-old, eighth grade student at Ponus Middle School. I started in the Carver C.A.S.P.E.R program in the middle of my fifth grade year; I am now a member of the Junior Youth Development Program. I am a high honors student at Ponus with a 4.0 GPA, which means I have an A average.

I am a hard working, intelligent person and my school work is very important to me for many different reasons. In addition to wanting to make my family proud of me, I was born with a progressive hearing loss and, if you listen to me talk, you will notice that I speak with a lisp. When I talk, my tongue does not always move, which at times creates articulation challenges for me. Because of this it makes me a little hesitant whenever I am asked to give a speech. However, I refuse to allow this challenge to interfere with my goals and with my day-to-day functioning inside and outside of school.

Having speech and hearing concerns presents its own set of challenges for me, but these issues do not prevent me from pursuing my dreams and working hard in school and achieving.

Participating in programs at Carver make me forget about my speech and my hearing issues. At Carver, I am comfortable, everyone knows me, and it’s like a second family to me! The Carver staff and students accept me for who I am and they treat me the same as anyone else; they have high standards and expectations for me, regardless of my hearing and my speech issues. I try very hard to achieve success because I want to be a role model for other students who may have a disability. There are many students who may be deaf, have a hearing loss or are hard of hearing; I want them to know that they can also be successful despite their disability. I work hard at being a confident person to set an example for them as well as for others.

The Carver has played a major role in my life. I attended the C.A.S.P.E.R. program, the Junior Youth Development Program and I have also attended the Carver summer camp. I enjoyed being in the summer program; it was also a big benefit to my parents because they were able to find an affordable summer enrichment plus recreational program for me during the summer months while they worked. While enrolled in C.A.S.P.E.R. I learned Lacrosse, and I received a scholarship to attend Camp New Pond Farm in Ridgefield, CT. I was away from home for a week and we lived on a farm, and got a chance to see and care for the farm animals and eat fresh eggs. It was a great experience and I enjoyed it very much! Carver offers so many programs. For example, I am a member of LEAP, which is an amazing Leadership program, and I am so fortunate to have all of the opportunities Carver provides. I hope that my leadership inspires other students, particularly those with a disability, for many years to come.

All these years later, Trinity’s accomplishments and example indeed continue to inspire us all.

Carver college student, Tonie Bennett, named to Dean's List at the University of Hartford

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We just learned that Tonie Bennett, who began her experience with Carver in our Youth Development Program at Brien McMahon High School, has been named to the Dean’s List at the University of Hartford. Toni also worked at Carver as a counselor for our Summer Enrichment Program for the past several years.

Now in its sixth decade, the University of Hartford sits proudly on a 350-acre main campus that includes parts of Hartford, West Hartford, and Bloomfield, Conn. It provides  a beautifully landscaped vista with grassy expanses and wooded areas with a branch of the Park River winding through it. Despite its bucolic setting and relatively small size, UHart offers a dynamic student experience charged with diversity in its programs, activities, and student body. International and U.S. students of color comprise nearly 30 percent of all undergraduates.

We are so proud of Tonie and all that she is now accomplishing at the University of Hartford!

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Norwalk High School Student Spotlight: Baylee Tuner

Baylee Tuner

Baylee Tuner

By Veronica Mora Urdata (a Carver YDP Intern)

Baylee Tuner is a sophomore at Norwalk High School. She is a very intelligent young lady, but even more importantly, she is a hard worker with an amazingly positive attitude. She counters a problem and attacks it with all the resources available to her. She is also passionate about always learning something new every day.

Baylee has been a member of the Youth Development Program (YDP) at Norwalk High School since September 2018. She is currently taking two honor classes. She has admitted that she’s been improving in all her classes, especially in her sciences classes. Additionally, she is grateful for all the support and appreciation by all the passionate, generous, creative teachers who are part of YDP. She extremely likes that the staff makes the subject more understandable in ways that are fun, and it helps a lot.

Outside of the studies, this program has helped her socially and now, Baylee enjoys talking and hanging out with friends from all over the world. In the same way, since she started this program she has experienced interesting activities such as yoga, which has helped her to control her stress along with  her ability to spread kindness to the world. She also mentioned her interest in playing sports during her free time with her three siblings. 

Finally, she hopes to continue with YDP as a very mature young lady who takes school seriously which in turn will help her be very successful in life and in her path toward college.

Student Spotlight: Carla and Rashida

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Carla and Rashida

Interviewed by: Hanna Tulchinsky

This is the first of a series of interviews with current students and alumni of Carver’s after school program.

Q: What is the most important lesson that Carver has taught you?

Carla: I would say how to be a leader. Whenever we’re doing something, instead of stepping back and waiting for someone else to lead, I’ve learned to take charge and become a leader myself in order to get things done. When I was younger, I used to let other people do their thing and I would just follow them, but Carver has helped me learn to take charge and step in to help get things done. 

Rashida: The most important lesson I’ve learned is that it’s good to help and to give back. This year I worked on Carver’s annual Thanksgiving food drive. I also helped with Christmas present wrapping for Carver’s annual holiday party for hundreds of kids in the community and it made me feel really good. These opportunities and more helped me realize that I want to help people now and when I’m older, and that helped me realize that I want to be a social worker.

Q: Describe your favorite memory at Carver?

Carla: I would say my favorite memory is my first summer at Carver when I started working here as a counselor during the Carver summer camp. I remember our first field trip was to the Maritime Aquarium and all the kids had a really fun time, so that was definitely one of the highlights of that summer.

Rashida: My favorite memory was when we went on a field trip to an amusement park called “It.” It was really fun. Everyone went and I had a great time.  

Q: Who is your role model?

Carla and Rashida in unison: Erika Stanley (Carver’s Youth Development Program Director)

Carla: I would say “Miss Erika” because we share the same interests–we both want to be our own bosses and we both want to be entrepreneurs. I want to go into mass media, and she helps me find connections the stuff that I’m interested in and ways to use my talents now while I’m in high school so when I get into the real world I’ll have prior experience. She helps me reach the goals that I want to achieve, but she’s also a good person to talk to and to vent to. When I was applying for college earlier this year, at one point I thought to myself, “I’m not going to get into college so what’s the point? I’m not going to do this anymore.” But Miss Erika helped me to believe that I will get into a college and that my hard work will pay off. It’s motivational pep talks like that which have really made a difference for me.

Rashida: Miss Erika is my role model because she always pushes me to do my best and think better of myself. Like Carla, I also thought I wasn’t going to get into college, but Miss Erika has made me believe that I will go to college, even if I don’t get into my top choice.

Q: What are your career goals? 

Carla: I want to work in mass media with a concentration in film and television. I want to be something like a producer or an editor, and I also want to minor in design of media such as websites or background sets. It’s something that I like to do in my free time that I would like to do full-time when I grow up. Whenever I have free time I make a little logos and other drawings, and I have a lot of fun doing that. 

Rashida: I want to be a social worker and maybe work with kids. There’s a social worker here and there’s one at school, and I’d like to do something like that.

Q: Describe an accomplishment you’re proud of?

Carla: One accomplishment I’m proud of is getting the Student of the Year award each year. Carver gives this award to the student in each grade with the highest GPA. I’m also proud of getting into college.

Rashida: I’m proud of finishing my college essay.

Q: How has Carver changed your attitude towards school or the future?

Carla: The college tour showed me how much I wanted to go to college. Over spring break, we get to see two colleges per day every day for six days, and that really got me excited for college.

Rashida: I procrastinate a lot, and Carver has helped me study and get stuff done on time. I’ve learned that even if I don’t have homework it’s good to study. I’ve also learned through my time at Carver that I want to work with kids and I want to give them hope and encourage them.  

Q: What’s your favorite subject?

Carla: My favorite subject is IB (International Baccalaureate) business management. It teaches you how to create a business and what the structure should be and how to keep it going and successful.

Rashida: My favorite subject is English. I like to write.

Q: How would you describe Carver to someone who doesn’t know what it is?

Carla: This is going to sound corny, but I’d describe it as a family. The people here are people you can rely on, and the staff are people you can talk to and be open with. If you have a problem they’ll ask you what’s wrong instead of just watching you go through it. Even after you graduate, they’ll still call you up and ask you if you’re doing okay at college.

Rashida: You’re right, it is a family. Everyone looks after each other here.

Staff Spotlight: Waid Ramsubhag - CASPER Program Manager

Q: What’s your favorite memory at Carver?

A: When I was running the high school program, the college tour was my favorite part. That was when I truly connected with the kids. When I first came to Carver, I was worried that some of the kids didn’t trust me. But when we went on the college tour, we really became connected and they started telling me what they wanted to do once they got out of high school and what type of careers they wanted to get into. It was a lot of fun and we really became friends.

Q: What’s your favorite part of your job?

A: My favorite part of my job is when parents and kids are happy with the progress in school. I love seeing how happy the parents are when their kids are doing better in school. I have some kids who make significant jumps in their reading, and as a result their parents are less stressed. When you see a kid who’s finally picking up on things a bit, and you see how confident they are, it’s a great feeling.

Q: How have the kids at Carver impacted you?

A: One thing I’ve learned with these kids here is they keep you up to speed with pop culture. You learn what’s in style with the youth. Something that’s cool about this job is that I get a chance to see what kids are talking about– what type of clothing they’re wearing, what type of haircuts they like, or what phrases they use. I get a chance to keep up with what’s going on in young people’s lives in kindergarten all the way up to high school. I learn all of these things by interacting with them, and it’s amazing.

Q: How would you describe Carver to someone who doesn’t know what it is?

A: I always like to talk about Motown Records- this small building in Detroit where artists would go and interact with all these different writers, producers, and actors, and as a result they would emerge as a great artist. They brought out Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, and Marvin Gaye. Carver is kind of like Motown-- kids are coming here, they’re working with teachers, the program managers, and volunteers, and as a result, once they graduate high school, they have this great sense of where they want to go and what they want to do.

Q: If Carver kids were to take away one thing from their time here, what would you want it to be?

A: Confidence. Knowing that people care. If you have a group of people in a place that you know care for you, it gives you confidence. I get kids all the time who ask me for college recommendations because they know that they have someone here who aims to help them. It’s a great feeling for these kids to know that they have somewhere to come back to if they need anything once they go out into the world with lots of unknowns. Carver is an amazing home for kids to have away from their actual home.

Q: What are some of the extra-curricular activities for the CASPER kids?

A: One of my favorite activities, and the kids’ favorite activities, is going to see the Norwalk Symphony Orchestra. The kids get the chance to see professional musician and learn about different types of instruments, and if they’re really interested, the kids can go to a real concert with their parents at city hall. And that right there is a nice exposure to music at a young age and it helps motivate kids to learn new instruments or to practice more if they already play.

VIDEO: Carver Students Share What They're Thankful for This Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is a great time to reflect and express gratitude for the blessings that we may otherwise overlook in our everyday lives. At The Carver Foundation of Norwalk, we are extremely grateful for all of the supporters, donors, volunteers, students, parents, teachers, staff members, and everyone else who plays a role in helping to build lifetime achievers.

In the spirit of giving thanks, here is a video of a few Carver students sharing what they’re thankful for. Check it out and see what they have to say!

Thank you to everyone playing a part in helping Carver students succeed in school and in life!

Here's a short video of Carver students sharing what they're thankful for. - Created by Hanna Tulchinsky

Meet Gabriella, age 8, the gymnast!

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Describe your favorite memory at Carver.

“My favorite memory at Carver was when we went to the Wilton Y to swim for the first time. I made new friends there. I got to hang out with my three best friends.  

I had never been to a pool at camp before, so it was really fun.  

We did free practice in the water but we also got tested to see what our levels were. I think all of the kids 7-9 did really well. Even though some of the girls thought they didn't do well, I thought that everyone tried really hard. I liked swimming a lot. I've been in other swimming pools before, but this was my first time going on a field trip at camp to a swimming pool."

Who is your role model?

"My dad is my role model. Whenever I can't do something, my dad tells me to keep practicing and to try my hardest. He encourages me to do better and when I have problems, he always gives me advice. He always faces his problems and he doesn't let fear get in the way. Another role model is a gymnast in the US olympic team named Gabby. She teaches me to work hard."

What do you want to be when you grow up?

“I want to go to the olympics and be on the USA gymnastics team. I started doing gymnastics when I was 5 and that became my passion. I like gymnastics because you get to be more flexible. Also, most gyms give out medals when people accomplish something. I have two medals. One of them was from 2017, and one is from 2018. My friends Laura, Daniella, and Aniya help me practice gymnastics at Carver."

What is your biggest dream? 

"I want to be famous for being a flexible gymnast."

Describe an accomplishment that you’re proud of.

"I'm proud of being independent when I was with my uncle in Maryland and I was far away from my parents for a week. I learned to be fearless, even without my parents' help."

Describe Carver to someone who doesn’t know what it is.

“Carver is a really fun summer camp. It's the best summer camp you could go to. There are awesome field trips, and you get to make lots of new friends. If you come to Carver, you'll learn to work more. Carver also helps you with your summer reading.”