2 + 2 =?
Where does one begin describing their very own volunteering experience?
My experience began at the beginning of first semester in the class design fundamentals. For this class we did not get to pick where we wanted to volunteer, we were told where to go, and when to do it. It seemed simple enough, go to the organization for two hours every other week and help elementry school kids with their math and reading homework. What I didn't know is that getting to the organization would be the most difficult part.
My only option of transportation was the city bus, and being a freshman from a town of less than 4,000 people, I did not have a ton of experience in doing this. I left an hour early (just in case) for my organization, and jumped on the 16 bus headed towards St. Paul. I looked at one of the bus maps, and asked a few people if they knew where I should get off, but nobody knew; it was starting to come down to a guessing game. I decided to stay on the bus untl the last stop, ( It took right around one hour to reach this destination ) which in the end payed off. The bus driver must have noticed that I looked confused and lost, so she asked me where I was trying to go. I told her Jackson St. Village, and luckily she knew where this was. She directed me to another bus stop and told me to get on the 68 headed north. I had no idea I was going to have to transfer buses, but right now I had another problem, finding the next bus stop in downtown St. Paul, a place I had never been before. I eventually found it, just in time to see the 68 pulling away. Now I had to wait another 15 minutes for the next bus to come. Finally the bus came and I got on, but I still had no idea where to get off. Once again, it came down to a guessing game. I rode this bus for right around a half an hour when finally some things started to look familiar. I finally had made it to the right place after about 2 hours of traveling!
I walked inside to find one lonely kid sitting at a table. I found the leader of the organization, and she admitted that she didn't think I was going to show up. I told her what had happened, which she understood, because she too rode the bus. She then told me that I could go and help the kid with his math. His name was Marcus and he was working on some addition problems. By some addition problems I mean two, he had two problems left. He was already pretty good at math so he answered them quickly and then left. Now it was just me in an empty room. I waited for about ten minutes but nobody showed, eventually Ms. Z (organization leader) thanked me for coming and told me I could leave. I felt frustrated that I was leaving already especially because I had to ride the bus for 2 hours to get there, but I left anyway.
At first I admit that I hated this whole process of riding th bus forever to volunteer for a little bit of time, but eventually that all changed. Instead of dreading the bus ride, I started to look forward to it. Even though I was on the bus for such a long time it gave me time to catch up on other things, like homework....or maybe more importantly, sleep. However, most important of all I started a realationship with the children. Every week you would help the same kids with there homework and you could begin to understand who they were, instead of just helping them. This is the main reason why I decided to stay at Jackson St. Village for this semester too.
I still had to ride the bus for about ninty minutes to get there, but this didn't bother me at all anymore. What was different about this semester was that I felt more at home. It was easier for me to interact with the kids and help them because I felt more comfortable. The children knew who I was and I knew who they were it makes things so much easier.
Towards the end of the semester a few of the kids realized that I was pretty nice, so they started to try to take advantage of me, by making me do there homework for them. Eventually I learned how to make them do it themselves with some encouragement, and some bribery. Such as, "if you do all these problems we can play a board game after!"
Like a lot of other things you start out not wanting to do it, but in the end you are very happy you did. Even though this volunteering was a requiremnt for class I think it will encourage me to volunteer again in the future, with less skeptisism.
I guess what I am trying to say is Thank - you Ozayr for continuing the volunteering requirement from last semester. It makes your students more rounded and most of all appreciate what they themselves have already. I would surely hope that you continue this requirement in the future, even if other students complain.