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After School Program at Edison
This Program has Rededicated my Commitment to Learning
By Courtney Toops, Edison Student Volunteer

The program in my opinion was effective throughout the weeks. I think the children began to have fun learning, made new friends, learned respect. Some of the students are less than eager to leave when being told they are being picked up. The age group is appropriate as well, since K-4th grade is when they probably develop their habits with school. The earlier you get them trained to do their schoolwork right after school the better. I think the students benefitted most from knowing that there are people who care about their education and want them to succeed.

The program wasn’t just about helping the students; it has also evolved me as a volunteer. The after school program has rededicated my commitment to learning. I began volunteering when my love for higher education was coming to a slow halt; I was getting what they call “senioritis”.  I have been in college full time for five years and I was falling behind and becoming a master at procrastination. These behaviors actually got me dismissed from the four-year university I was attending, but now I am thankful for that awful experience a year ago as I got the opportunity to be a part of this program.

The After School Program was a great fit for Edison’s core values as it pertains to our Communications 121 class.  Edison’s core values are Communication, Ethics, Critical Thinking, Human Diversity, Inquiry/Respect for Learning, and Interpersonal Skills/Teamwork. Communication and Teamwork played a vital role in the after school program. If everyone listens and works together the night will go smoothly and all children will go home with homework completed and having had a good experience.

The beginning was rough with the pickup and checking in of children off the bus and making sure they go home with their trusted adult. As time went on, trying different things like the sticker book where they were filling out their daily accomplishments, and checking their folders for homework. Critical thinking played a role in knowing what to have the children do after homework was complete to keep them occupied and learning. The critical thinking came into play as well with some of the children’s homework; I personally haven’t done long division and such in many years. This is where using my skills to help the student to the best of my ability came into play. With human diversity there were many examples of diversity whether it was grade level, color, gender, level of learning, and more.

Rarely did I work with the same child every day. Sometimes I had to balance helping a first grader on one side and a fourth grader on the other side and being able to switch and communicate with both students was necessary when shorthanded. Also, there were some students you could tell that needed more help versus students that were faster learners. Ethics was the last core value which was expressed in the handout stating that we would report any aggressive behaviors any student came forth with.  The after school program expresses each and every Edison core value.

Opportunities for improvement in the program include adding more schools. Greenville is the most ideal as Edison is located in Greenville so it is easier for parent pickup. I think that Piqua campus could benefit from this program as well if someone would be willing on that campus to head the program and get it started there. The offer may have been extended already to other local schools such as Arcanum, Versailles, Franklin Monroe, Bradford, and Tri- Village but I do not really know. I also feel as if some parents are using it as a babysitting service; unfortunately, I’m not sure there is a perfect solution for that. Overall, I think the program should continue on as it is great for both the college students and the elementary students. Thank you for your hours of work with the after school program!

Courtney has completed 24 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.

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