Monday, June 16, 2008
As an Americorps member, I experienced a lot of personal development over the past 10 ½ months. One of the biggest leaps of growth that I made was gaining stronger inner-dialogue. Prior to receiving this type of work I frequently worried about what others thought about me. However, thanks to my experience with Americorps, I worry less, and now I can express myself more confidently than ever before. I realize that being able to share ideas and opinions is a key component to creating a stronger and more effective team. Thus, I believe that I have acquired a more confident demeanor as a result of Americorps experience.
I believe that people who strive to be more confident, patient, or persistent will benefit greatly by joining Americorps. Americorps will not only guarantee personal development, but it will also hand you a grand educational award. Join Americorps and you will be making a wise choice for your future.
When I graduated from college, I knew that I wanted to do something in my country that allowed me to better understand the effects that poverty had on the education of America’s youth. Almost a year later, I not only have come to understand the depths of the problems we face educating students in low-income communities, but I know that it’s something I want to continue to work toward in the future. In that regard, I can thank AmeriCorps for showing me a path that I want to follow as I aim to mitigate the educational difficulties faced by children and their families in urban areas.
I’ve also come to understand more about myself and how to more successfully work as a leader. Whether it was working with youth or with fellow members, I learned quickly how to convince others how to work their hardest toward a common goal. I learned that each individual requires a different motivating force to push them to do their best. Discovering what those forces were was one of the most enjoyable things about every aspect of our job as AmeriCorps members in this community. The opportunities AmeriCorps has offered for trenchant analysis of my own personality and the personalities of those around me have been some of the most enlightening I’ve had a chance to experience. I feel more capable to tackle the problems in urban education because of my AmeriCorps service, and I’m convinced now more than ever that it’s something we can change in this country.
Thursday, June 5, 2008
The year is slowly starting to wind down and I am amazed at how fast it has been going! The students seem to be contemplating the end of the school year and as excited as they are for summer vacation, most realize that their day-to-day activities will be different and they are going to miss interacting with us. One of the boys involved in our Civic Engagement project stopped me and another member in the hall on separate occasions and said that he really missed meeting with us on Wednesdays and that he wished he could participate in it again next year. When I told one of my second graders that I wouldn't be at the school next year, he frowned and gave me a big hug. Those moments help me remember why I chose to be here in the first place and I am pleased to be ending my time on such a good note.
Monday, June 2, 2008
We have a chess club here at Naval Avenue Elementary. We have 10 students that show up on a regular basis. Eight out of 10 students are 1st graders who have never played chess before. But after just 3 weeks of having chess club 4 days a week, all 8 of my first graders are playing at intermediate level. In just 3 weeks, I am amazed on how fast these 6 & 7 years olds are picking up this game.
Photo credit: Crosstabs.org
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
We've tutored more than 100 students. We've put on family nights. We've hosted several community service events, from our Martin Luther King Jr. Day Career and Job Recruitment event -- more than 60 people attended and more than 10 organizations and college representatives were there -- to our work with middle school students, helping them come up with their own community service project. They decided to design a Website to address the issue of domestic violence in Bremerton. We spent more than two months with the 18 students, going through all the steps it takes to design a successful community service project.
We've got 17 days left, and many of us are going on to other things, but there's no doubt that we have all been impacted by our time tutoring students and working to better the Bremerton community. Some of us will continue to work in the schools here, and some of us are moving to other states to continue our work in community development and education.
Whatever it is that we will be doing in the future, hopefully the difference we've made in the students' lives will be felt for years to come.
Photo credit: Corporation for National and Community Service
Sunday, April 20, 2008
Thursday, April 17, 2008
Each morning, Alex comes running into our room, smiling ear to ear. He’s a kindergartener with so much energy that he tends to find himself in trouble more often than not. He can’t keep his hands off things and when he breaks down, screams reverberate off the walls and down the hall, or fists and forearms smash down on tables. Moving foster homes frequently will do that to a kid, it seems. So, when we get a chance to work with Alex and show him that someone really does care about him succeeding, we take advantage of it.
He comes every morning to our early reading club, and he laughs, talks, and seems to enjoy himself the whole time he’s there, usually, because he knows that we truly care about him. Seeing him finally be happy in school when we walk into his classroom or when he comes to visit us throughout the day helps us see just how important WRC members are. It's unfortunate that children with tons of energy like Alex are sometimes stifled and forced to live by rules no one has taken the time to explain to them in elementary terms. Alex is doing better in class now, and I’d like to think that we played a role in making him finally feel welcome in his school.
Wednesday, April 9, 2008
- Community service projects-Armin Jahr and Naval Avenue are leading a group of Mountain View Middle School students in a curriculum that helps them design their own community service project. View Ridge and West Hills are working with a group of fifth-graders from West Hills to help them create and implement their own project, too. Updates on both of these projects will come soon.
- Cementing solid programs for next year-A large part of being successful in a school setting is establishing consistent programs that teachers and students can rely on each year. All of our focus is dedicated right now to making sure that each tutoring program we run is as solid as it can be so that the members and volunteers who will dedicate their time next year can be successful from the first day of the school.
- Family nights-Although there are less than three months of school left, the Washington Reading Corps is dedicated to making sure that families are involved in their children's learning at school. By providing parents with an opportunity to get involved, students can receive the support they need at home to improve in the classroom. Check out our calendar to see what events we have planned as we close out the year.