Shine On!

Hermione Illare, was voted “most likely to succeed” by her senior class. No surprise. Except when you realize that Hermione moved with family members to inner-city Philly last November, in the middle of her senior year!

Poised and confident from the moment she opened the Future 5 door her freshman year, Hermione presented herself with a smile that lit up our room. One might never know that behind her cheery disposition is a young lady who has overcome huge hurdles and many lonely sorrows on her path. Having been sent here from Haiti at the age of nine by her mother and speaking almost no English, Hermione has adapted to her new culture despite a lack of funds or a real family to rely on. An integral part of the fabric of Future 5, she now resides at Stephen’s Village in downtown Stamford, courtesy of Lisa Bratt. Hermione keeps a positive attitude each day on her way to Norwalk Community College. She has her eye on the prize and we are so proud!

“There’s No Place Like Home…”

Future 5 is up and running with our weekly schedule; Senior Mondays, Here-to-There Workshops, Brainwave, and more. Attendance is great and student “traffic” is high. The hustle and bustle of high school students up and down our stairs, here in Stamford, is a phenomenon that dates back to this summer. Future 5 was busier than ever and I often wondered why?

In July and August our students toured the Sikorsky Helicopter factory with Jack Donahue, arrived here with tales of cooking classes, learned how to get around on donated bikes and participated in community service at the Smith House Nursing and Rehabilitation Center. And, I am beginning to realize that the root cause for this continual buzz of youthful energy that our members are drawn to, is something more compelling than any event, college workshop or tutoring session.

It is the growing sense that for many, Future 5 is “home base”. Future 5 is the place to be; a place where they are greeted by name at the top of the stairs, have the opportunity to connect with a coach, find a quiet place to read a book or even play cards or draw with a group of positive friends.

Frankly, I had underestimated this “home base” phenomenon in the founding of Future 5. I knew that connecting high school kids with coaches, colleges, jobs, community and especially with themselves would be a model of success. But, I have since learned that at 135 Atlantic Street we have created a place where each and every member is welcomed and valued by our community of teens, coaches and staff…F5 is a place to call “home”.

Clif McFeely, Founder/Director