Sunday, May 6, 2012
Working with the kids at the Boys and Girls Town has been a rewarding experience. It has been amazing to see how the kids grow as people over the course of a year, and how our presence as well as other volunteers affects them in a positive manner. Not only was this experience rewarding for me to see how the kids changed, but it was also a beneficial experience for me. I learned how to work well with children and with other volunteers. As the community contact, I also learned how to contact the organization and coordinate events, which will be a helpful skill in the future. The most rewarding part of this year was seeing how I changed. At the beginning of the year I was quite shy and reserved when it came to meeting new people. However, that quickly changed over the course of the fall semester because of how friendly the people were that I met; meeting people that were so welcoming helped me to be more confident in similar situations in the future. I am very glad that I was able to be a part of such a meaningful service project here in the community.
Over the course of the school year, I have grown to learn many things about the community of Springfield and the surrounding area through our group service project at the Boy's and Girls Town. As a college student, I was not often exposed to the issues that exist within the community until I was given a first hand experience at the Boy's and Girls Town. The Boy's and Girls Town is a program that is built to help children through difficult situations in their home lives and in some situations with foster care children. The most important thing that I learned is that these kids are no different than any other children. They have endured things that I have never had to experience, but in the end, they are still kids who want to act and play like kids should. I realized that the best thing for the children that I could do to help was to be a positive role model, and just to give them attention. It was amazing to see how our Summit group affected the children and left a positive lasting impression.
Saturday, May 5, 2012
Well, the end of the year is here at last. After 9 months of servicing the community of Springfield and gaining valuable experience as a both a leader and a member of a team, I can safely say that I have come away from it all with a new outlook on multiple things. I have a new found respect for the boys in Jones cottage at Boys and Girls Town, I have greater confidence in my leadership abilities, and I have improved my problem solving skills by completing a project with a team that I had to live with (which was definitely a challenge, at times). I would like to think that apart from these successes, our group has been a positive influence on those boys that may or may not have had many of such influences in their lives. Whether the time spent with these young men was life-changing or not, the laughs that we shared will always stand as proof of success in my memories.
As this Leadership course comes to an end, I try to remember what exactly I expected and felt at the very beginning. I was anxious to meet the boys who I thought would constantly display evidence of their troubled pasts. They have a long way to go and it is truly incredible to see people take care of them day after day as their jobs, but I was pleasantly surprised to see that they were as rambunctious and annoying as other kids who have been lucky enough to have a safe growing environment. I learned as a leader how important it is to be on the same page when two different groups are trying to communicate with one another. We had a couple of transparency issues along the way, in which the intended message was not the same as the received message. I will strive for more diligence in my communication skills, for the few errors we made could have been avoided or easily corrected had we been a little more 'on the ball.' The importance of speaking your mind was also highlighted during the course of the year. It is difficult to live with the people that you are having a project with...conflict will always arise. If however, a healthy dialogue setup is created where we can speak to each other clearly and directly, without being rude or raising any tone...then there is no reason to shy away from conflict but use it as a medium during the few times a conflict arises, to be more in sync with one another. I enjoyed this project very much and I do not believe I have played with the kids from Boys and Girls Town for the last time.
Tuesday, May 1, 2012
We really enjoyed working with Boys and Girls Town this past year. When we started this project our primary goal was to create relationships with these kids and let them know that we wanted to be a part of their lives. I think that our group accomplished. We always enjoyed getting to go over there and hangout with them, often just doing whatever they wanted to do, but all the while sharing experiences which helped our relationship develop. We also got to take the kids to several different events that they wouldn't normally get to go to and watching them having a good time was always rewarding for us. Also, I kept realizing that each time we were with them we were reminded as to how fortunate and blessed each of us has been and that it is our responsibility to help fill a void that other people have created in the lives of these kids. I think this realization helped to change me a person by not only helping me recognize but also truly appreciate the things that I have in my life. It also helped me to grow and understand the many different ways that I can help others and make a positive difference in my community. Another thing I realized was how important community service is to a community. People need to take a stronger initiative and go out to the places around them because there is so much that the we can offer to these non-profit organizations. I hope that in the future I will get an opportunity to continue my community service in Springfield because it has been one of the most enriching and rewarding experiences I've had during my college career.
Saturday, April 21, 2012
What I have learned from our project working with the kids at Boys and Girls Town is gaining a new perspective on the wide breadth of circumstances that can lead to a troubled home. Coming from a privileged upbringing in an impoverished country, my thoughts and conclusions on the cause for a broken home would go directly towards social inequity and social classes. However, seeing kids here suffering undeservedly and horribly during the first stages of their childhood have led me to open my eyes that what I though as the 'absolute truth' of causes for suffering is merely one of many reasons that a child is not receiving at least the minimum quality upbringing that any human being deserves. We played many games and interacted in a few conversations with these kids, and though overall they acted as normal, hyperactive kids, their personal issues would surface during times where they would go too far and be called out or reprimanded. Not responding well to authority, because the authority that they have previously known has been very abusive, is a major obstacle to break in the hopes of redirecting the lives of these kids. We were as a group very happy to see them enjoy the basketball and baseball games this semester which further proves that they are as normal as the kid sitting behind us with his family, and though there are some major barriers and obstacles to overcome given their marred past, it is through the collective work of their supervisors, volunteers, and other parties that these kids have a real shot of leading a wholesome life and not repeating their past. Pedro
Thursday, April 19, 2012
The thing that I think I have most come to realize through working with Boys and Girls Town is how vital and important family is. Each time you see these kids who, very often through no fault of their own, find themselves in this place where they are separated from their family. Their parents for whatever reason have put themselves in a situation where they are incapable of taking care of their child. This can create a situation where the child feels abandoned and alone because suddenly they no longer have any dependable family in their life. I cannot imagine what that feeling is like but I do know how important the workers are that give their time to these cottages. These people really do have a positive impact on the lives of these kids and help show them what it means to grow up and become a man. My time with Boys and Girls Town has been a reminder of how important the family unit is and also reminded me to always appreciate it and never take it for granted.