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May 9, 2008

last volunteer journal

May 7th.

Today was my last day volunteering at the Augsburg Fairview Academy highschool. I usually help the students with their math homework for the whole 2 hours, but this time I was sent to science for the last half. I was with a new group today and met kids I hadn't before. One of the girls asked if I'd be back next week to help with a project, and I'm actually a little sad that I won't be. I was skeptical of helping at a highschool when I first started, but I've grown to like it a lot. It's a very different environment than when I went to highschool and it's an interesting change, especially in terms of schedule and structure. They rotate subjects in a way that you'd become bored less often, which I think could help any school system. Although I'm relieved that school is over for the summer, I wouldn't mind volunteering there again at all. The teachers and other people who work there are very understanding and nice people, and I like the students as well. I hope they finish the year off well, and that they're all back next year.

May 5, 2008

Response 2

This group was responsible for environmental sustainability.

They focused on how we can ensure environmental sustainability. I chose to respond to this particular group because it was one of the only goals that affected developed countries. They started out by stating problems with the environment and how bad our footprint is. Then they went on to explain environmental health and what it means exactly to 'be green', which I liked because it isn't really explained that often. The format of their research was a website, and then the created a little booklet to promote it. Each page of the book had a different idea we could all use to help save the environment, like buy organic clothing or drive hybrid cars, or less often. A couple things they said, like about how hybrid cars aren't perfect, wasn't necessary because we all know that, but for the most part it was concise. I can't find their website, but I wish I could because it looked really well done. They had a really straightforward goal, and did a good job finding solutions that everyone can take advantage of. Most people can't afford to go out and buy a hybrid car, but they probably can shower less or buy more organic clothing.

Response 1

The first presentation I'll respond to was done by the group researching HIV/AIDS.

This group focused on subsaharan Africa and Southeast Asia. The started by reading their goal and then giving facts about the disease and then went into how it is spread. I though this was relatively unnecessary. Perhaps if they had had all the time in the world to present, it would have been acceptable, but they didn't and most of us know what AIDS is. They also decided to research the education and prevention on AIDS. They showed a map that helped us understand the parallel between literacy rates and AIDS, which was interesting. They went on to tell us that the best way to prevent AIDS was to educate people and be responsible; both things that have been thought of a million times. I understand that their goal was hard because it was so broad, but I feel like they could have found a fresh idea somehow. They went into the conditions of people; like their living conditions, water, and especially society in rural areas. They said that 2 nmillion people die a year from aids in those two regions. I can't remember how many died globally. They then said that AIDS can be blamed on a corrupt government, lack of education, and the cost of treatment. I thought they did well on their presentation, and their information was interesting for the most part, but they didn't ever come to a significant conclusion that I saw. The statistics they gave were devastating and kept our attention, but I think they could have done more with the future options; maybe sometime with charities, or designed some sort of missionary that educated people in these areas. These already exist, but they could have expanded the ideas. But who knows, maybe they ran out of time, or explained something I completely missed.

May 3, 2008

Journals

I wrote about my volunteer experience each time. And here are the entries.

February 20th:
This was my first day volunteering at the Augsburg Fairview Academy charter highschool. It's on Hennepin by the Orpheum and Pantages Theaters. I wish I had gone to highschool in downtown Minneapolis. I was told I would be helping in the math department, which kind of worried me. I'm alright at math, but probably not good enough to be responsible to teach it. I was helping with the older group of kids today, they were doing things I slightly remembered but hadn't done in years, so I was a little hesitant about ruining their hopes of a successful future in math. Hopefully I haven't sabotaged their careers. In a couple weeks it will be the younger kids because they rotate age groups and subjects they're taking throughout the day, and since I'll always be here on wednesdays from 11;30 to 1;30, the group will change.

March 5th:
The kids were preparing for a test this week. I feel awkward that I'm only a year older than a lot of them. I think I also come from a totally different background than most of them, which is cool, but I'm not used to it. I don't think they are either, though. Sometimes they say things I don't understand at all, and they know it. Some of the kids are a little harder to control than others, who put a lot of work and energy into studying during class and doing their assignments. I have a lot of respect for the people who run the program. It would be really hard to pay attention to all of these kids, and care about what they are doing.

April 23:
I haven't been here in awhile because I had springbreak and then they did. It's the younger group now. They're working on different types of graphs. I understand most of what they are doing now, which makes me feel better about helping them. I just needed to look up a few examples. The classroom environment is completely different than what I am used to. They have way more freedom than I did, they can leave when they want to, they answer their phones, and listen to music out lout. Maybe they're not supposed to... I never thought of that. But still, my highschool was way more strict. Now they're working on an assignment where they collect data and put it into different types of graphs and will have to present it to the class explaining which graphs work best and why. It's kind of a cool assignment actually. They are really nice kids in this class, even though sometimes it's hard to focus them once they've become distracted, they are pretty respectful and do their assignments. They really like their math teacher too, which I think helps. It's always easier to do what you're told when you like the person telling you. Still, I don't have the patience to ever be a teacher, but I'm glad some people do.

April 30th:
Today a couple of girls presented their graphs. They did really good jobs on them. A couple of the people who were supposed to present decided to just do it for the teacher, I think i may have made them nervous, I feel a little bad about it. But the people who did go really understood what they were talking about and what the graphs they had made showed them. I was impressed. No one really needed help today, because they all had to have their assignments finished for today, and weren't assigned anything new they would need help on. I felt a little useless, but I did help a girl finish hers so it would be on time, so i guess that was alright. I think next week is my last week. I'm a little sad, I've liked doing this. I think their school year is a lot longer than ours, so I have to leave before their done. I hope they finish the school year alright. I'm also interested to see how the seniors do, or what they do after highschool. I think this is only their second year open, so it will be interesting to see the results. I didn't really get to know any of the seniors though, unfortunately.