Goodman Community Center | There’s a lot of choices in GCC middle…

There’s a lot of choices in GCC middle school mini courses

Goodman Community Center’s middle school program provides a variety of options for middle school youth

March 18, 2024 |
Howard Hayes of the Goodman Community Center instructs middle school youth on how to make peach galettes.
Howard Hayes (top), GCC’s assistant director of youth and community development, leads a group of middle schoolers in how to make peach galettes during cooking club.

By Beslinda Kastrati, GCC middle school specialist

Goodman Community Center’s middle school program has a variety of mini courses for our middle schoolers to pick from when they arrive. One of our most popular courses is the cooking club.

Every Thursday, students are learning a new recipe that is either connected to a culture or connected to a national holiday or observation if there is one for that week. For example, middle schoolers made their own French toast on National French Toast Day. On another week, they made frybread, a Native American cultural dish.

Another popular club that recently started — and has been growing in participants — is American Sign Language club. While a few students were making vision boards one day, a couple of them expressed their interest in learning how to sign in the future. Students have been learning the alphabet, basic daily signs and how to start conversations while partnering up with each other and practicing dialogue.

There are times when videos are shown that include how to sign specific signs or even interviews where deaf people are asked about popular beliefs about the deaf community. These videos are a way to teach middle schoolers about some misconceptions they may have or even make some personal connections between what they just watched and themselves.

After-school activities also focus on some sort of arts and crafts project once or even twice a week — sometimes as a mini course. Crafts might consist of making their own sugar lip scrubs (an exfoliant for lips), creating jewelry pieces and painting on various types of canvases to add a fun new twist to painting.

Previous projects have been making blankets for animals at the Dane County Humane Society; making personal pillows by stuffing and sewing fabrics together; and designing their own stickers through drawing and printing.

Goodman’s after-school program provides a space for students to unwind from their long day at school, connect with friends from other schools they might not have seen in a while and express or discover new interests outside their academic careers.

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