Boys Town New England serves kids and families through the LIFT Together program, an initiative that sees Boys Town partner with school systems to address behavioral challenges both in the classroom and at home. School Support Specialists stationed in six Pawtucket schools support students and their families.
Ariana Wynn started as a School Support Specialist at Samuel Slater Middle School in the spring of 2022, after having been with Boys Town since June 2020 in various positions supervising youth. Personally, Ariana's goal has been to help make a difference in the lives of children.
“I've made some meaningful relationships and connected with kids in a short amount of time, she said."
Ariana is proud of having built connections with students that started off with behavioral challenges.
“I would see this one 13-year-old sitting in the hall, quiet and unengaged, skipping all her classes," Ariana said. “I started meeting with her every morning."
Soon after, a note given to her by this once unapproachable student at the end of this school year shows how successful Ariana has been in her role at the school:
“The day you came to Slater, I was this girl who had a horrible, horrible attitude, and didn't know how to control it, until the first time I met you. I always had bad days and sometimes I would give you attitude, but you would still have a nice attitude. No matter what, and even though you're working with kids, you would always try to make time for me, and you have no idea how much I've appreciated you this year. You helped me with my schoolwork after school, gave me snacks, you even got me a birthday gift, and I loved it. So, I thought I should give you a little gift, too. You're one of the nicest people I met in my life, and it's not easy to find those kinds of people, I'm glad I did. Have an amazing summer, Miss Ana. See you next year."
Ariana says she strives to keep things upbeat, while providing an outlet for the kids, focusing on both listening to them and helping them.
“Everyone's voice is heard," she said. “When they get to express themselves, they're more receptive when being taught. They can work for what they like, such as dances, clubs, or a pep rally. We'd like to incorporate these incentives as motivators next year."
School administrators have told Ariana she is seen as a source of positive energy for everyone.
Having Boys Town New England's LIFT Together School Specialists working with kids in the classroom impacts the entire community.