Creative Care for the Children of The Clark Inn

By Justin Feltman

IMG_8928Samaritan Inns has over 30 years of experience helping men and women in the District of Columbia recover from drug and alcohol addictions. The new Women with Children Program at the Clark Inn marks an opportunity for Samaritan Inns to help a new population that has been critically underserved for decades: addicted mothers and their children.

While the recovery of each mother in the Women with Children Program is of vital importance, their children need our help too.

With the overall goal of creating a safe, sober, and holistic family unit, Samaritan Inns opened the Child Development Center at the Clark Inn, licensed by the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE). Focusing on the earliest ages of development (zero to five years old), the young children who accompany their mothers to the Women with Children Program are in great hands.

IMG_9261Kelly Williams, the Director of the Child Development Center, has implemented a Creative Curriculum that gives the children the opportunity to learn things independently.

“The goal is for them to put in their own ideas and think about it. It’s more so about them getting the opportunity to have a lot of hands on activities and to think about what they want to do,” Kelly said.

The children engage independently and with each other through arts and crafts, dress up, writing, puzzle solving, and more – but it’s not just play time. Through these activities, children are able to express their individualism and explore new and exciting ideas as well.

“It’s not just play,” Kelly said. “The children learn different things from play with each creative curriculum activity. From math and science, to social skills, to proper exercise, techniques, and so on.”

IMG_2171Within the Creative Curriculum, Kelly makes sure our program fits each child’s needs. “Because child A is not going to be like child B,” she explains, “They’re not going to have the same needs. So you have to teach each child like an individual.”

As crucial as the development of the children in the Child Development Center is, Kelly benefits from working with them too. “I love working with children,” Kelly said. “I get to see the changes in them. They brighten up your day. If anything else is going on in your life, they just know how to give you that perfect smile that will make everything okay.”

For Kelly, the most rewarding aspect of the work she does at the Child Development Center is fostering growth within each child to prepare them for their future. “You get to mold them,” Kelly shares, “Just to know they are having positive social skills is rewarding to me.”

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