Fighting Poverty with Passion
|I really enjoy working with volunteers, especially when volunteers are as wonderful as the group we were able to host from PACE University in New York. These volunteers were AMAZING. Twenty-five PACE students came to Ashe for four days from 8:30 am to 5:30 pm and completed a massive amount of work. They completed an intricate mural that spans the entire wall surface of the cafeteria. They also created motivational letters for all Ashe students taking the LEAP, created motivational signs, tutored math, science, and English, served as teacher assistants, and worked to catalog the library. While doing all of this they also spent quality time with the students, playing for hours with the students in the playground, teaching them how to play volleyball, dance, and creating an Easter egg hunt for them. These volunteers single handedly helped to create a relaxed, cheerful, fun, school atmosphere during the stressful time of LEAP test preparation. The last Thursday they served at Ashe. I could not stop smiling and neither could the student, teachers, and volunteers. I received more hugs from the students in that one day then I had received the entire time I have worked at Ashe. Thank you PACE volunteers!
Not all volunteers management is as easy as the PACE university experience. But, I still love volunteers and what they have to offer and I’ll take the good with the bad. A difficult management experience was working with the Tulane Business TIDES freshmen, all 90 of them. For two semesters 90 freshman youth worked 40 hours tutoring at both Green and Ashe. It was a lot of work for several reasons. The biggest conflicts were transportation and attendance. Recently, I helped to facilitate a reflection session for the TIDES students. What I learned from the session was despite all of the frustrations throughout the year, several of the students had grown from the experience. They said that they felt they had become a part of the New Orleans community; something that they noted probably would not have happened if they had not been forced to do so. If this experience helped to change only a handful of students’ perspectives and encourage a life time of service, it was worth it. So there you have it, I like volunteers. Cheesy but true. -Kelly Holmes, AmeriCorps VISTA