Fun times on Wednesdays at Robinson Gardens Apartments
Wednesday is fun day at Springfield Housing Authority’s Robinson Gardens Apartments.
For the entire summer, parents and children are welcome to the ‘Lunchtime Fun’ activities that will happen every Wednesday from noon to 1 p.m. in the Community Room in the family housing development located in the city’s Pine Point neighborhood.
The program is being run by SHA’s Talk/Read/Succeed! Coordinator Lynne Cimino, who aims to involve as many families as possible in a regular dose of educational and fun activities, and in a cool spot that provides blessed relief to the heat of the summer.
Every Wednesday at noon, children grab a bagged lunch from the Springfield School Department’s lunch program which stops at Robinson Gardens daily, and head inside for the day’s activity.
“This is a fun way to get together with our families and do something that everyone can enjoy,” Cimino explained. “And it’s a great way to get together with neighbors and friends.”
SHA Executive Director Denise Jordan applauded the program, saying it provides ingredients of fun, learning, and socialization.
“Every Wednesday, families at Robinson Gardens can get together for fun activities that involved reading and writing, and being together with their neighbors,” Jordan noted.
The fun got off to a great start on a recent Wednesday, when mothers and children filled the room for an arts and crafts activity that had participants drawing, cutting, pasting and putting their minds to work to imagine their perfect summer.
Children like Sebastian Rosado give the activity time a big thumbs-up.
“This is so much fun,” said the 8-year-old. “We’re making some bucket lists of what we want to do on summer vacation. My list says go to the water park, go to Six Flags and slide on the water slide.”
Teens like Esperanza McClurkin, who visited with her brother and a cousin, also liked the activity.
“I love this,” she said. “I can just draw and make things. It makes me think about what I really want to do this summer.”
Ivette Fernandez brought her sons Hancel, 11, and Alberto, 7, and all were pleased with the Lunchtime Fun hour.
“We come by whenever we can because there’s always something good going on here,” said Fernandez, an avid gardener who also helps out with the Robinson Gardens community garden project.
“The boys love it. It gives them something good to do, and they get to do something with the other kids. Plus that, it’s nice and cool in here,” she added.
Parent Juanita Chapman brought her daughter, son and nephew for the fun.
“The children always love doing things like this, and I like it too,” she said. “We’ll come back whenever we can.”
Chapman’s son, 4-year-old Jacob Mayo-Caraballo, chimed in, “I love this. We get to play and color.”
Other activities planned for Lunchtime Fun include tire art, making kaleidoscopes, paper bowl jellyfish and a noodle race track.
“We have Lunchtime Fun activities to engage the children and families who are at Robinson Gardens during lunchtime hours,” Cimino said
“What with the summer heat, the T/R/S! office provides an air conditioned spot to eat their lunches. What better way to capture an audience, provide fun activities along with food! T/R/S! wants to continue to engage children in activities that are fun and educational,” she added.
The program is one of many offered by SHA’s Talk/Read/Succeed! program, which focuses on involving entire families in an early literacy effort. The program unites three SHA housing developments – Duggan Park, Robinson Gardens and Sullivan – with their feeder elementary schools – Indian Orchard, Dorman and Boland.
T/R/S! also involves other organizations including Behavioral Health Network, Springfield City Library, and the Eric Carle Museum in Amherst, among others.
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