Ten young men were celebrated last Wednesday at Ecoff Elementary School after completing a 12-week program that will send them off to middle school a little stronger, a little more confident and ready to tackle the challenges ahead of them.
Imagine Me is a program that took root four years ago under the leadership of Ernest and Torasha Armstrong. It was inspired by their son, Keion, who at the time was a fifth-grade student, very shy and diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome.
With permission from then principal JoAnn Crowell-Redd, the Armstrong’s created a 12-week program for boys who could use a little extra push to help build self-esteem, respect, rules of a gentleman and getting along with others. The 45-minute session was held during the boy’s resource period. “It was amazing the change we saw in Keion when he was with the group and what he took away from the sessions,” said Ernest Armstrong.
The Armstrong’s were so excited with the success of the boys and their turnaround in academics, that they continued the program next year and have for the last four years, conducting two sessions each year with 10 to 12 boys in each session.
“It has helped them with their self-esteem and feeling more confident,” Armstrong said. “Respect for their parents, themselves and adults.”
Dr. Joshua Cole, principal at Ecoff welcome’s the Armstrong’s volunteer help at Ecoff. “It is a fantastic experience [for the boys] and I am very grateful for their involvement. Fifth grade is a perfect time for the program to get ready to head on to middle school.” Cole told the boys during their celebration graduation exercises that the program helped them to become better men. “The more help you get, the better man you become,” he said.
The boy’s parents also had a chance during the ceremony to express how the program has helped their sons, and the changes they saw in them.