NEP Team Unites to Help New East Chicago Summer Enrichment Program

Whoever said “it takes a village,” never met Lake County’s powerhouse of a team. Seven of Lake’s 11 NEPAs joined forces to provide programming for almost 175 students during a new summer enrichment program.

The collaboration began in January when CWC Veronica Jalomo introduced NEPA Estelle Jensen to Dr. Rasheeda Green, the principal of East Chicago’s McKinley Elementary School.

“Earlier in the year, I met Principal Green when I collaborated with Veronica and McKinley Elementary on a different project,” Estelle said. “I taught nutrition lessons to the third and fourth grade classes and had an amazing experience!”

While Estelle moved on, her impact lingered. Dr. Green remembered. In April, Veronica heard about East Chicago schools starting a first-time summer program at Washington Elementary.

“According to Veronica, the students and staff at McKinley enjoyed the CATCH program so much, it was the reason why Principal Green recommended NEP to the board for the summer school program!” Estelle said.

When Estelle started working with school officials, she said program registration numbers were low.

“There was a need for only two or three NEPAs to teach a few lessons through out the month of June,” Estelle said. “As we got closer to the start date, registration numbers started to climb and the lesson schedule for the summer schedule kept changing.”

“When I learned that the final summer schedule called for seven NEPAs to accommodate their needs, I had doubts on whether this could actually happen.”

Fellow NEPAs Amy Moore, Alicia Rodriguez, Arielle Reeves, Berenice Valle, Sindel Keister, and Maddie Haskell volunteered to help make the program a success.

“This summer project was a success because we worked collaboratively to deliver nutrition lessons to the School City of East Chicago students,” Estelle said.

“I really felt a great sense of teamwork and enjoyed doing this,” said NEPA Amy Moore. “It was a summer school program that wanted nutrition classes, but didn’t have a lot of flexibility in their schedule.”