Blog

My First Year at Chesterbrook

The Chesterbrook Learning Center is an amazing place for children and teens to learn and grow. At night on Tuesdays, there is a group called Prism for girls 5th grade and up, and Teen Center for 7th grade and up. Our director Max is very nice, funny, and responsible. There is one room for games & crafts and another room for homework and relaxing. All of the students in the center are learning how to be respectful by playing interactive games with each other.

Now, a little bit about my experience at Chesterbrook. I have been at the center for one year. During this time I made many friends. Also, I have learned to be less shy by interacting with nice, supportive people. As soon as I came to the center I felt very welcomed. At the center, we can do arts and crafts and fun projects. I feel like I can ask for help with my homework and my grades have improved in school. We also have amazing Bentley students that work with us on both homework and crafts. Another thing I love about the center is the freedom we get. For example, we get to choose what we want to do after we finish our homework.

One of my favorite memories is the holiday party. We had cookies, chips, juice, and presents. It was super fun I got a magnet making kit. I come to the center to do my homework and hang with my friends. The center is very fun – we also eat snacks that are yummy and we also go outside to the park or the basketball court. I wouldn’t do these activities if the center was not here!

From Chesterbrook to Bentley and Back Again

Katelyn and Veronica grew up attending the Chesterbrook Learning Center. The twins found a home at Chesterbrook among the families in their community and with the Bentley University students who served as mentors at the Center. Katelyn and Veronica are now attending Bentley University and serve as program managers in similar mentoring programs. They shared inspiring stories with us about what Chesterbrook means to them:

Whenever I hear someone mention Chesterbrook, I can’t help but smile. More than half of my childhood was spent at the learning center meeting new people and hanging out with my Bentley friends. From first grade until I was a senior in High School, Chesterbrook was my home. And even though I am not there as much now, I still visit the kids at Chesterbrook. The center has taught me to appreciate the people in my life. Bentley students who worked at the center would graduate and new students would come in, but I still talk to the past Bentley students because they were my role models and became a part of my family. The endless amount of support and memories created at the center should be available to anyone who need or wants it because it has made me very humble.

One of my favorite memories at Chesterbrook are the end-of-the-year cookouts with all the Bentley students and families of Chesterbrook. I loved seeing all the Bentley students together because they usually didn’t all come on the same days. This is when my mom and little brother would meet the Bentley students and put a name to face of all the stories she heard over the year about the afterschool program. My mom loved seeing the Bentley Students that made my sister Veronica and I happy and helped us over the year.

The Bentley students have made a huge impact in my life and led me to the opportunities Bentley has now given me; I am now a Bentley student myself and very involved in the Bentley Service-Learning Civic Engagement Center. I am a Program Manager working in another afterschool program similar to Chesterbrook called Prospect Hill. Now, I am friends with the Program Managers of Chesterbrook and it is great seeing how they keep the program running and inspiring the kids to keep working hard.

~ Katelyn

The Chesterbrook Afterschool Program was and still is a second home to me. It is a place where kids can get help with homework or extra help on a certain subject from a Bentley students but also have someone to hang out with. The Bentley students are wonderful people. They are always happy to come to see the kids. Building a connection with the kids is really important for the Bentley students because it shows the kids that they care for them but also want to support them and be their friend.

There were a lot of Bentley Students that helped me through my education who I still talk to today. I wouldn’t be where I am today, now at Bentley University myself, without them. They challenged me when something was easy but also motivated me to keep going when things got tough. I can’t picture my life without the center.

My younger brother has been going to the center for a couple years now and he loves it just like me and my sister did when we went. The Bentley Students are good role models for the kids, and I know I looked up to them for years. Each Bentley student that I met in my life taught me something.

I remember as a little girl wanting to be a Bentley student and help kids at the center and make a positive difference in their life. That’s what I’m doing today for a different program. I couldn’t be happier doing it. It’s so heartwarming seeing the kids get so happy when I walk in the center and they want to tell me about their day at school. I know I did the same when I was a child at the learning center, and sometimes I still can’t believe I got to where I am today.

When I was a kid I looked forward to going to the center every day it was open. I’d get so sad when Bentley students had school breaks because I enjoyed being around them. Moving into the Chesterbrook Gardens and going to the afterschool program was one of the best things that happened in my life.

~ Veronica