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After School Program at Edison
I’ll remember forever
By Kinsey Goins, Edison Student Volunteer
The After School Program was a very unique, fulfilling, and satisfying
experience. At first I wasn't sure if I was going to like the program
since I didn't know any of the kids, or have any previous experience
working in that type of environment. All of the Edison core values were
used over the course of my participation in the program and it was a
memorable experience that I will remember forever.
The first week was full of adjustments and figuring out the regulars,
types of homework each student would have, and speed at which each
individual child learned. Communication was key in the beginning few
weeks of the program. Many of the children weren't comfortable with us
at first, so we had to open ourselves up and engage them just as much,
and even more in the beginning, than they did. After we built
relationships with different children it made each day a little easier.
One of the harder things to gauge was how truthful the kids were being
with me. When it came to homework I would just check their folder, but
when it came to personal stories it was hard to tell if they were being
truthful, so I just learned to listen, share empathy, and make sure
they knew they had someone who would listen to them.
As young as these children were their sense of ethics wasn't very
developed. They tended to fudge, or just completely not tell the truth.
One kid might think name-calling or saying things that weren't
appropriate is okay. It became our jobs as helpers to show these kids
how to act and what was acceptable or not.
I remember one specific instance where critical thinking was something
I had to use very quickly and on the spot. One child had made fun of
another kid because he looked different; he was born this way and I had
to explain to him how being different isn't bad or wrong, it is just
different. I really had to dumb the explanation down since they all
were first grade and younger. Not only did I have to explain why it was
okay that he is different I also had to make sure the kid didn't feel
discouraged or embarrassed in any way.
The kids came from different lives, grades, had different body types,
and were even different races. For the most part the kids interacted
well, which was a relief. They didn't seem to really care about the
differences since they were so young and their peers or society hadn't
told them any different, which was very encouraging to see. There were
a few instances where some of the differences were a problem, but the
volunteers handled each situation and every kid came out unscathed.
Inquiry and respect for learning was the main reason for this After
School Program. We were there, and the children were there, to learn
and become better students. Throughout all the sessions I got to see
the individual children I worked with grow in their educations and
succeed. I was able to witness a child who had struggled, and still
does in a certain subject, make honor roll. It was so encouraging to
see all these kids push themselves. From asking if I could write out
math problems on a board to asking if they could read me a
Teamwork and interpersonal skills developed over the course of the
program. The kids formed groups with kids that were different ages,
races, and grades and worked together helping each other learn and
succeed. All the kids were able to work with kids they didn't see
throughout the day without incident. As a volunteer I was able to bring
kids together to make learning a little more fun and easier for them,
and I was able to see relationships grow and have many, many laughs.
The only suggestion I have for improving the program would be nametags,
especially in the first few weeks, and even more than what was done
split the kids into their different grades and have them help each
other and maybe have game time, or different activities planned out to
keep the kids engaged.
This program was a phenomenal experience. It showed me that I would be
good in a job that involved kids, even though I don't think it is
something I would do. It helped me grow as a person; some days I didn't
want to be there or was having a bad day, but I would have to put all
that aside because one of the kids may be having a rough day and I had
to be there for them.
Kinsey has completed 24.75 hours in Empowering Darke County Youth’s
After School Program on the Edison Darke County Campus. To get details
about her assignment, go to Edison Students Speak Out
To get more details about Empowering Darke County Youth and the After
School Program, go to the Empowering Darke County Youth link.
This opinion is being published with permission, and was chosen for CNO
readers due to the quality of the assignment submission and relevance
of the topic. It does not necessarily represent the opinion of County
News Online or Edison State Community College.