A Tale Of Two Afterschool Programs

As the days turned into weeks, the parents and the kids are used to me standing at the intersection where they turn to go to school and waving.

To me, I think a wave is the closest thing we can get to a hug these days and from 20 feet away, a wave has never killed anyone.

I haven’t done any scientific data work to prove that someone waving and smiling at you can, in fact, make your day a little better, but I am convinced that is a fact.

And during this pandemic, I feel like even the smallest acts of humanity are neccessary.

And so I smile and wave.

To everyone.


The bus drivers always wave back. Most of the parents wave back. The kids are even getting in on it now and they like to make sure I see them waving from the back seat or from the bus. And it makes me super happy.

There are two afterschool programs who come to pick up kids in their white 15 passenger vans. One is a large program called Emerald Youth Foundation. The other is another “foundation” that shall remain nameless to protect the guilty.

Whenever Emerald Youth pulls around the corner, they usually have 2 staff, in masks, going the speed limit and paying attention, and they both quickly raise their hands to wave and I’m pretty sure they are smiling under their masks. The other van has one staff member who is usually looking down at her phone and/or making a very clear effort not to look in my direction because she would rather die than wave back and crack a smile. And she’s super pretty so it’s kind of a shame she has perpetual resting bitch face. And after she picks the kids up, she’s always scowling on her way down the hill and speeding….and if there are no cars coming, she totally runs the stop sign. Everyday. I’ve thought about calling the program director to let her know that her staff is probably endangering the students, but I’m pretty sure she’s the program director/owner/operator so instead, I just continue to wave at her.

Friday, she accidentally waved back. She caught herself mid-wave and like someone who was just caught picking their nose, she quickly retreated her hand back to the wheel and looked away.

BUT… then a miracle happened. On her way back down the hill from getting the children, she was smiling. I didn’t even know she had teeth. And she was beautiful. She was still speeding and she still ran the stop sign, but progress comes in all forms, right?

I’m not saying that she was smiling because she accidentally waved at me, but I can’t prove that it’s not because of that.

My point is, I think the world needs more smiles and waves. Especially now.

So be an Emerald Youth Foundation person and not a “the other Foundation” person.

One comment

  1. I used to work at a City recreation center as a director. I would yell out good morning to everyone who walked in the door to everyone grumpy or not. One particular woman would pretty much growl at me each and every time. I was finally told by another woman that I should probably stop saying it to this particular person because she absolutely hated that I said that to her every single morning. Apparently, she did not appreciate the fact that I was a white woman in a predominantly black center. Well, I wasn’t about to stop my daily routine and wish everyone a good morning so when I recognized it was ‘her’, she got an extra dose of Good Morning from me with an even bigger smile. What was she going to do about it anyway, complain?


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