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I choose to volunteer at Patrick Henry High School in north minneapolis based on a couple of reasons. My brother had been on a high school exchange with the school and I this is why I choose this school out of many other possibilities. I am the only student from this class that is volunteering at this place. I also choose to volunteer here because I knew the cultural diversity of the school would be much different from the high school I attented. I had hopes of working with some students that live a bit differently than I do. The first day I went there I was quite excited to meet the people I would be working with. Getting there was no problem and I met with the man in charge of the career center at the school. His name is Yusuf and he is a very funny guy that loves to provide fun in the classroom. The first time I went I learned the ropes and what I would be doing. The room is a computer lab where students come to explore their options beyond high school. The first visit went well and I met some nice people. The next visit was the next week and he had a class in the room completing an interest survey(which was quite interesting). I helped him answer any questions the students had on calculating costs of school and possibilites for college. It was a great experience and I helped several students answer simple questions. The next visit was a bit different. I helped Yusuf look at applications and such that students are pending on sending to colleges. I also took a survey my self on qualities that I value in a job. Looking through the applications and letters was very interesting. Some of the students have applied to prestigious schools. The next couple visits consisted of previous activites along with helping prospective U of M students determine things about the college and give them any feedback I had on the college.
With connection to the class I discovered some important aspects of working with people of a somewhat different culture than my own. I think this is important when it comes to helping a client in an area in which the architect is unfamiliar with. It is important to learn the values that the people of the community have before proposing any sort of design. It is also important to become connected with the people personally to learn some things that they need in order to live happily. I found that the students at this high school face a situation where poverty is sometimes an issue. Many of the students applying to colleges received many grants and means of financial aid in order to fulfill their future dreams.
Overall it was a great experience. The school's diversity made it much different from my own high school and I loved working with the students there. Just driving there brought me the feeling of leaving a quite wealthy college community and entering a lower class of individuals. The students that I worked with were all nice and kind to their elders. Some of them are not as fortunate as I have been but they all seem to have high hopes in their future which was great to see. This volunteer experience was a great way to learn about another culture and their values. I believe this is a key element in designing anything for a client.