Friday, September 21, 2007

getting involved

Living in the neighborhood where I do is definitely forcing me to get outside of my comfort zone.  The culture is completely different than any I have known before and I am finding myself stretched as I interact with my neighbors.  Mostly I’m getting to know the kids through playing jump rope and other street games with them.  All the jump rope songs have changed since I was in elementary school so I’m learning lots of new ones.  My favorite asks what kind of hair the jumper has, and then the options are repeated until the jumper misses: “Long, short, medium, bald head.”  Whatever option is being said when a jump is missed is what kind of hair the jumper has.  You should see the little girls laugh when one of them gets “bald head.” 

I’ve been looking for more ways to get involved in the community though, and this week an opportunity presented itself.  In my introduction to speech pathology class on Monday night our professor told us of an opportunity to tutor an 8th-grade girl through Eastern Avenue Christian Reformed Church’s weekly tutoring program.  The commitment was either 5-7 or 6-8 on Thursday nights, and I knew that if it was 5-7 I couldn’t do it because I have to work until 5:30.  However, if the program started at 6, I could do it and I wanted to do it.  So I spoke to my professor after class and got the email address of the contact person.  Tuesday afternoon I heard from her, and the program did indeed start at 6!  I told her to sign me up and got directions to the church.  Turns out the church is only about a half mile from my house, so I can bring my roommates home and continue to the church.  Supper is provided as part of the program, which is perfect because otherwise I wouldn’t have time to eat in between working at the admissions office and tutoring.  I will eat with my student at 6 and then start tutoring at 6:30.  The program actually only goes until 7:30 so I will be able to be home by 7:45 each Thursday night. 
So last night was my first time tutoring.  My student is named Ciara (pronounced like Sierra) and she is just the most agreeable 13-year-old girl.  She is involved, well-adjusted, and has high goals and aspirations.  She would like to play in the WNBA and/or be a doctor and/or be a lawyer.  She hasn’t quite narrowed it down yet but she knows that she’ll have to work hard for any and all of her goals.  She is entirely willing to work hard though and believes in her ability to achieve her goals.  I am excited to be a part of her life and possibly make a difference.  I know she’ll make a difference in mine.

Posted by Emily MacLeod on 09/21 at 11:04 AM
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