Sunday, September 21, 2014

A Sense of Belonging

Over the years, Melissa and I have worked hard at building our team culture. It is important for us to have a connection with each of the kiddos. We believe that when students know that the most important part of school for us is them, then they will trust us, buy into the program and learn more than they would have otherwise. To that end, we encourage kids to contribute ideas for helping develop the culture of Team Harmony.

One thing we've always done to foster a sense of belonging is have team t-shirts made. Most teams and schools do this. It is nothing outstanding or unique. However, we have long since gone beyond team t-shirts to an  entire line of Harmony Gear. Several years ago, kids started asking if we could have hoodies. Then they asked about pants. Then shorts. You get the picture. Kids wanted choices. They wanted different colors, styles and designs. We took their wishes seriously and found a company that offered an entire line of goods that the kids could choose. Now, our Harmony Team logo is attached to t-shirts, sweatshirts, hoodies, cinch sacs, flannel pajama pants, basketball shorts and other miscellaneous items. Each of the choices comes in various colors and styles. The kids can show their individuality while still maintaining a sense of team. All of this came from ideas that the kids have had over the years.

Often we are visited by former students. They come back from the high school to tell us how their year is going. Many times they will tell us of a conversation they struck up with a younger or older high school student because they were wearing their Harmony Gear. There was instant recognition and so they started talking. Those are the stories we like to hear because we try to cultivate a family atmosphere on team. The kids show a sense of pride that they were on this team and it shows because, even in high school, they are still wearing their team gear. We are just as proud of them.

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