Hey everyone!

So today we went to the Congress Heights Campus Center City Charter School.  One of the teachers at yesterday’s school had told us that this was in a rougher area, but we did not get to interact much with the kids while there today because we organized their library all day.  This experience was similar to our experience on Sunday of having the opportunity to clean the playroom for more experienced volunteers who have a rapport with the children, and can make more of an impact with them, in reflection we talked about how we were glad to be able to facilitate these dedicated volunteers’ in their service, and how important this ‘indirect’ service, that may not be as gratifying immediately, really is.

We spent the entire day on computers looking up books and organizing them into reading levels, which involved teamwork, and a lot of work, but we were glad to do it, as the kind librarian told us, we saved her about two weeks of doing it by herself! Whereas the 10 of us could get it done in the six hours we were there! The people at the Congress Heights school were so hospitable to us and really appreciated our help.

Today at the Boys’ and Girls Club we had more kids, so that was a lot of fun to really have the opportunity for a lot of us to really get the chance to interact and really have a lot of fun with them. We played hangman, parachuting games, ball games, basketball, colored bookmarks, coloring, and got to meet and talk to a lot of different kids.

I really appreciate that we get to see so many different sites and how so many different ones run differently, but I almost wish that we could stay at one Charter School all week and one Boys’ and Girls Club, so that we could really get to know these children and bond with them, instead of learning new names every day.  I think part of this is the Boys’ and Girls Clubs and Charter Schools, though they always seem appreciative of our help, I hear from the organizing side many of them did not want to commit to having our volunteers all week, so perhaps this is not possible.

I really appreciate the way this trip has been able to combine direct and indirect service.  Yesterday’s experience at the Brightwood Campus Charter School was really informative, and really gave us a lot to think about after watching ‘Waiting for Superman’ about the difficulty of teaching, and really made us a whole lot more realistic about how challenging and all-encompassing and consuming that job really is, as many of us got the experience of being a teacher’s aide, and actually TEACHING and being responsible for children, where we may have felt a little over our heads, but we really got a feel for what that is like. Sunday and today’s experience’s of organizing the library and cleaning and organizing the playroom really gave us the opportunity to see how much work goes into these programs behind the scenes, and to appreciate that, and gave us the opportunity to help.

I really think that this combination of direct and indirect service is invaluable to the trip and should not be changed, but makes the trip a much more holistically educational experience.

One Reply to “WOLFPACK”

  1. I’m so glad to be able to read about your daily experiences working with children in two different settings. I’m interested in learning a bit more about your service in relationship to the documentary you watched. Many of you have referred to it in your posts, and I’m wondering if there are some specific themes or facts from the film that have been reinforced through your work. Conversely, have you been surprised by experiences that may not have matched your expectations/preconceptions?

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