"Has been a lifesaver so many times!"
- Catherine Rampell, student @ University of Washington
"Exactly the help I needed."
- Jennifer Hawes, student @ San Jose State
"The best place for brainstorming ideas."
- Michael Majchrowicz, student @ University of Kentucky
Spring Semester 1997
The first agency I volunteered to work for is a program called Summer Quest. Summer Quest is designed to help students that are in the sixth through twelfth grade experience a "positive summer experience." What this actually means is that it provides students an opportunity to do fun and exciting things, in a positive atmosphere. Instead of the students sitting at home alone the entire summer, they have a place where they can hang out and enjoy themselves. This is a great program that offers students an alternative to getting into trouble and being alone during the Summer. Summer Quest is also setup in a way that all the activities are relatively inexpensive.
This is where I come in. I was in charge of putting together a schedule of activities for each week. The schedule included an activity for Monday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Thursday from 4:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m., and Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. This was a very difficult assignment. I had to plan fun events, but also make them very inexpensive. This was an interesting task that allowed me for the first time to use many of the skills I had learned in my Organizational Communication classes. I had to negotiate prices for admission, and figure out transportation and food cost. It also taught me a lot about planning and time organization. I had to plan months in advance, and fill in every second of the day with activities to keep the students busy. Now I know that in the future when I am in the real world, I can plan big events and pull them off successfully because of this experience.
The second agency that I worked for was Parkway Preschool. This agency has two types of programs. They call the first program "Moms Day Out." This program allows parents who cannot afford, or do not have the resources of proper child care, a chance to drop their kids off three times a week from 8:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. The second program is a regular preschool program running from Monday to Friday. I had the opportunity to work with both programs during my volunteer work.
During my day at the program I would sit in with different classes and help the teacher teach. I would read the children stories, sing songs, and play games. I had too often think of games that would teach a lesson, or come up with a creative way to learn things like the alphabet. If a year ago someone had told me that I would be working with preschoolers I would have called them a liar, but the fact is I loved it. The time I shared with the children was a great joy. While at first I dreaded knowing I had to go to the preschool, as the semester went on, I looked forward to the time I could be there with the kids. I can truly say that I not only taught them, but they taught me.
The lesson I learned does not deal with what I thought I would learn, but was the greatest lesson of all. It deals with the male role model in children\'s life. I noticed as I worked at the preschool that there was several boys who, from the time I walked into the building to the time I left, would stay clutched to my side. Everywhere I would go, they would follow. They would always give me a hug and want me to play with them. During lesson time they would all flock around me, getting as close as they could. On the play ground they would gather around and want me to throw the ball to them, play chase, or push them on the swing. The first day it began to happen I thought they were only doing it because I was new, and that it would wear of in a couple of days, but to my surprise it did not. In fact, they began to become more zealous about my time at the preschool, and would ask the teachers every day, "Is Mr. Jamie coming today."
I soon began to wonder why all
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