Guest Post – The Kids of Green Street

Kiene is one of our Middlesex Community College interns this semester and we asked him to share some of his experience with us. It has been great watching him learn more about working kids and learn more about himself. Here is his second guest post.

If you’re interested in signing your child up for Discovery AfterSchool classes, our spring semester registration will open the week of December 8th. Call us today to set up an appointment.

The Kids of Green Street

Green Street definitely helps serve as a getaway for the kids that are part of the Discovery AfterSchool Program. With such a wide variety of classes offered, there is truly something for everyone to do. That is one of the great benefits of having a place like Green Street in Middletown. It gives each individual kid the opportunity to find a class that best suits them and provides a safe place for self-expression.

After watching the kids participate in these classes for weeks, I thought it would be an awesome idea to give the kids in the program a platform to share their favorite things about Green Street. The middle school kids are what I like to call program “veterans”. Most of them have essentially grown up in the program and really gotten the chance to experience a lot of what Green Street has to offer. One of the students I talked with made mention of her love for the Musical Mentoring Program. She spoke to me about how much she loved the step-by-step approach to learning to play the piano and that she feels like she is beginning to master the instrument. Another one of the sixth grade students beamed with excitement as she told me about the Wesleyan Bound Program she attends as one of her AfterSchool classes. Going to classes on the Wesleyan campus and getting to learn with her friends were just a few of the many things that made this particular student so enthused about the class.

Getting to have fun and learn amongst the company of friends was a reoccurring theme in my conversations with the kids. A fifth grade student shared these feelings along with a love for his the Computer-Aided Art class. He mentioned who much he enjoys getting to learn about computers – how they work and all the different things you can do with them.

Even the littlest members of the Green Street family have very specific opinions about what makes Green Street an awesome place. Dancing and Art topped the list for one of the first graders. He highlighted that drawing fish in Art class is he area of expertise but made sure to mention that his artistic ability stretches way beyond that.

As many rounds of interviewing came to an end, one thing was very clear about how the kids of Green Street felt about the Discovery AfterSchool Program. Not only do they appreciate it, but they genuinely love the time they spend at Green Street. Hearing all these kids proudly explain their answers to my questions reconfirmed to me how great of a place Green Street is for the youth of Middletown. Knowing that the kids are taking away such great things from AfterSchool, makes it all the better working with them. After hearing about all the fun things the kids do on a daily basis, I know that the sky is the limit for every single one of the kids involved at Green Street.

Guest Post – Then vs. Now

Kiene is one of our Middlesex Community College interns this semester and we asked him to share some of his experience with us. It has been great watching him learn more about working kids and learn more about himself. Here is his first guest post.

Then vs. Now

Prior to getting involved with the Green Street Discovery AfterSchool Program, I knew that I liked kids but I had no idea how much I’d enjoy working with them. I did a lot of second guessing toward the beginning of this internship experience. I second guessed myself and what I was capable of when it came to effectively working with the kids. As time went on however, I began to realize that I had sold myself very short. It only took a few days at Green Street for me to come to the realization that working with kids is not only something that I enjoyed but it is also definitely something I could handle.

What has played such a major part in that realization is my ability to connect with the kids and that I’ve made it a point to really get to know and talk with them. I vividly remember being around the age of the kids in the program. I guess you can say that somewhere deep inside me still lies that little kid that wanted nothing more than to be taken seriously by anyone older than me. Although that might sound a little cliche, I honestly think it has a lot to do with my success this semester.

I didn’t come into this internship with thoughts of ruling with an iron fist. I really wanted to go in,  get to know the kids I was working with, and makes strides in truly making a difference in at least one life if not more. Even through all the occasional attitude and misbehaving, I can see that the kids of Green Street appreciate that I’ve taken the time to see them as individuals.

My experience at Green Street has shown me all the great potential that kids possess and that it is important to make sure that they are just as aware of it as everyone else around them. It has been a great pleasure to watch all the kids in the program progress over these past couple months and be welcomed into their world with open arms. Its been great to get hands on experience with this particular community  and learn some things about myself in the process. I wouldn’t change a single thing about my time at Green Street.

From the Director – Girls in Science Summer Camp

This summer, I had the pleasure of spending a week with a group of incredible women – 10 young campers, 2 artists, 3 science college students, a biologist, a biochemist, and a physicist. That week was the first ever Green Street Girls in Science Summer Camp and ladies, it was a hit!


Have you ever heard of oobleck? It’s a material that acts like a solid in some situations and a liquid in others (a physics phenomenon known as non-Newtonian liquids). Young girls made oobleck at Green Street last week and got to watch it liquify in their hands, harden to a solid when they dropped it on the table, and dance on a speaker when hit with just the right frequency.

One of them described the experience in her lab notebook – “I noticed that it melted in my hand. When it was in the cup it was hard but then when it was in my hand it melted! I had a great day and I want to be a scientist.”

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Green Street education staff, biology professor Ruth Johnson, chemistry professor Erika Taylor, and physics professor Christina Othon designed the program. It was important for us to have the girls do real science and to expose them to a variety of careers in science along the way. We also worked with two of our Green Street teaching artists Lindsay Behrens and Meredith Arcari to use art projects to reinforce science concepts – like the parts of a bacterial cell or the structures of insects.

We learned about insects, life cycles, bacteria, DNA mutations, states of matter, non-Newtonian solids, light, and more. Did you know spiders aren’t technically insects? They have too many legs!

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The girls learned how to use scientific tools like lab notebooks, pipets, and microscopes. The girls set up experiments involving fruit fly diets and bacterial transformation of DNA. We spent a day in the science laboratories on the Wesleyan campus and had lunch with visiting scientists and engineers.

We had 10 campers in Grades 4 – 6 join us, totally free of charge thanks to a generous grant from the Petit Family Foundation. Some of them came in already excited about science, others were a bit quiet at first. By the end of the week, all of them were ready to look into science jobs when they grew up.


The science-filled week was inspiring and reminded me of that first “spark” of science for myself as a child. I still remember seeing DNA for the first time. We did an extraction experiment in high school and I remember thinking how amazing it was that our whole blueprint existed in a blob of goop. We saw the science spark in the campers over and over throughout the week and we hope to do the same for more girls in future years.

The Middletown Press ran an article on the camp as well as a photo gallery.

Help bring science to life! You can contact Green Street if you’re interested in sponsoring a young girl for a future camp who may not be able to otherwise afford to attend.