Nov 27, 2015
This week we only had tutoring on Monday, so I only worked with one girl. I didn't catch her name, but she was in pre-calc and I was impressed with how much she understood. She didn't do great on a test and she wanted to go over a few of the problems, which we worked through together. After that, she had a few questions on some of the homework problems that they had done previously and she didn't understand, so I helped her to understand and we did some practice problems to make sure that she really understood all of the concepts. I had never worked with her before, but I had a good time and I hope that we work together again soon. It was a positive experience.
Posted at 01:20 pm by Emma Katz
Nov 23, 2015
There weren't many people at El Centro today because a lot of the tutors have already gone home for Thanksgiving. As a result, Eduardo and I gained an additional tutoree to work with. This tutoree's name is Juan. He's also in fourth grade, but he is not in the same class as Eduardo, so he had different homework. It was quite difficult to juggle helping two students with different assignments, especially when Juan is a very demanding little boy. I think that he is a part a sort of gifted program at school, so it seems that his assignments are "special" (and more difficult). This also means that he already did the homework that Eduardo was working on, and he often would try to tell Eduardo the answers, however I had to tell him that wasn't helping Eduardo to learn. He seemed to understand what I said, because he later told Eduardo to "read the sentence with both words to figure out which one is right." as a piece of advice. Juan was waiting for Eduardo to finish his homework so that they could read a book together, and it was obvious that he was losing patience, and I had to remind him to sit still for just a few more minutes several times. When Eduardo was done, they took turns reading pages from short Spanish books. Juan was very good at reading out loud, and I noticed that Eduardo was trying harder because of this, which I think is good. Although Juan can be a handful, I do feel sorry for him. His tutor hasn't been at El centro in a while and Juan seemed to be annoyed and somewhat sad because he said, "this is the second week in a row." I can tell Juan needs a lot attention so I tried to give that to him this week. I hope his tutor comes back soon.
Posted at 10:04 am by Rachel Herman
Nov 17, 2015
Today I couldn't work with Eduardo as usual because another student that tutors him needed to teach him a lesson for her education class. So, I was assigned to work with another tutoree named Evelyn. Evelyn has a best friend in the class named Joanna. Joanna and Evelyn are always giggling together during the session, and previously when I would see them working together as I was with Eduardo, I thought it was nice that they were having so much fun. But, I realized that working with Joanna and Evelyn together makes it a lot harder to get work done. The girls love to joke around together, and they apparently know each other very well, so they also like to talk about their families and other things. I found it much harder to get Evelyn to focus than with Eduardo. That may be in part because I know Eduardo a lot better, and I now how to get him to focus. At this point in the semester, I think all the tutors have formed good relationships with their tutorees and when I tried to just jump in with Evelyn, it was obvious that I didn't know how to handle her. In this way, I am glad that we consistently have the same student for the sake of the tutoree, but also to be more effective. Evelyn also struggled with her work more than Eduardo did and required more explanations, which was hard to accomplish as she was constantly trying to get the attention of Joanna. However, I am glad that I got to work with another student, because I think I've mentioned before how I couldn't imagine working with an unruly student. Evelyn wasn't misbehaved or anything, but she was different than Eduardo and required more effort, which is good. It is important that I understand all the types of students at El Centro and not just Eduardo. But, I do admit, I'm excited to be back with Eduardo next week.
Posted at 10:29 am by Rachel Herman
Nov 16, 2015
Today at the Soup Kitchen felt like a very busy day, although only 47 people showed up, as opposed to the over 50 from last week. We served lemon chicken, tater-tots, string beans, and gravy for firsts, and pretzel-bun hot dogs for seconds. I talked to Jan about one of the men, we can call him G, for whom my friends and I raised money for to get new shoes. He had been limping into the soup kitchen for weeks with duct taped shoes and a cane, and I wanted to make sure that I did my part to help people in need when I could. I remember Jan saying awhile ago that he had told her that it was either new shoes, or not eating that day. However, we gave him an over $60 gift card to the FamousFootwear in the outlets, and money for the bus ride there, over a month ago, and we have yet to see new shoes on his feet. Jan and I talked about how, since we don't really know this man very well, we can't know for certain that he didn't sell the money and gift card for drugs. She told me not to be discouraged. It really got me thinking after this conversation, because we also talked about how you can never really know who will really appreciate a donation and put it to good use, or who will exploit it for drug or alcohol abuse. She also told me that this is the problem of working with strangers. I started to think about how some people may not want to donate to homeless or low-economic peoples for fear of this very situation. Yet, why do a few people who take advantage of the donations have to ruin it for others? And how can we tell who truly needs it? There must be a way around this sort of situation, as I am determined not to give up on trying to help people who really need help, while also not (possibly-it should be noted that there is no certainty that G really did take advantage of the money, but maybe he hasn't gotten around to it yet) aiding drug or alcohol addicts. Working at the soup kitchen has only helped me to grow my compassion, and I am learning these lessons one step at a time. I won't give up putting my heart and soul into helping people-yet I will keep you posted on if I find a way to do so absolutely.
Posted at 02:30 pm by Molly Vorhaus
Going to stay the night at Gettysburg C.A.R.E.S. was an eye opening experience. You hear stories of people who have no where to go or anywhere to rest but it is a whole new reality when you y get to experience it for yourself. The most shocking sight for me at C.A.R.E.S. was seeing children who were staying at the overnight shelter. As a child the last thing you should have to experience is what it is like to stay in a homeless shelter. Children should be worry free and experience all the greatest joys of this life. I feel like it is unfair to bring a child into this world and then not be able to provide for them. Children who are born into poverty already have such a disadvantage in this world. They shouldn't have to pay for the mistakes of their parents, and I understand that sometimes people are put into improbable situations and you can't help where you find yourself. And for those parents who put their kids needs before anything else in this world, bravo. However, for the many who do not stop and think. Why bring a beautiful being into this world if you can only give them half of the life that they deserve?
Posted at 01:02 am by Tiffany Hill
Nov 13, 2015
This week I switched it up on Monday an went down to the computer lab. I worked with three little boys, Eduardo, Jair, and Oswaldo on their math homework. They were in elementary school, so their homework was different from the high schoolers I'm used to working with. I primarily worked with Eduardo (the other two were already done with their homework), but we got a lot done. Most of his homework problems were word problems. A basic example is: If we were to split up two pies among 8 people, how much pie would each person get? To solve them we did a lot of drawing and seeing how many times that we had to cut each pie to make sure everyone got a piece. It was a fun change of pace, and I really enjoyed working with the younger kids.
On Wednesday I worked with Mario, and an interesting thing occurred this week. Before we started working we were talking about the upcoming week, and he mentioned that he was being inducted into something. I asked him what it was, and he was being kind of weird about it, averting his eyes and just kind of shrugging his shoulders. I told him he didn't have to tell me if he didn't want to, but eventually he took out a piece of paper and tentatively wrote down "NHS" on the sheet. The national honor society is something that he should be proud to have been inducted into, and I'm really not sure why he was acting so strange about it. The only thing I can think to explain this is that he may have been being modest, since most of the other kids around us I assume wouldn't be inducted. I'm not sure if Mario was just being modest, or if he was thinking about the environment we were in and he was embarrassed. After that we just worked on some pre-calc, and he seemed to be in pretty good shape by the time he left.
Posted at 01:12 pm by Emma Katz
Nov 12, 2015
Office for the Aging Week #6
Today at ACOFA was pretty low-key. When I arrived a bunch of the ladies were sitting at a table and making homemade Christmas ornaments for their little Christmas tree in the lobby. Kathryn was sitting at another table alone so I went over to talk to her. She said she wasn't doing the craft because when she came down they had already started so she didn't want to interrupt. We talked for a while and as we talked, Myrtle joined us. I was asking about Kathryn's education because apparently back when she was young it was normal for most kids to only get the equivalent of an 8th grade education. After asking if she had wanted to go in schooling she said she did and she would've loved to go on to high school and then to college. I asked her why she didn't if the desire was there and she stated that they couldn't afford the new clothes she had to get for school. Maybe it's me being unreasonable but I don't really think that's a good reason not to go to school so I feel like there's some other reason that maybe she just doesn't know or she didn't want to share with me. Her mother hadn't gotten much of an education so she couldn't read or write so she made sure her children got at least a bit of an education. Another woman actually came over to us to say hi to me and she started talking about how she just sold her collection of tea cups and saucers for $30. She was disappointed because she was sure they were worth a whole lot more. She advised me to start collecting something and not to get rid of it easily. I enjoyed talking with the ladies today and seeing them interact with each other!
Posted at 06:18 pm by Laura Fodale
Nov 11, 2015
Eduardo and I are were really distracted this week and it took all but fifteen minutes of the entire time for us to finish his homework. We would do a few problems and then start talking about something for ten minutes and then I'd have to bring us back to his homework. It went on like this the entire time. I don't think that this is a bad thing; I actually think it's nice. We have gotten to the point where we could happily just sit there and talk for almost two hours. And it's so fun to talk to him. Like a lot of kids, Eduardo has the silliest way of thinking about things. He's also very imaginative. One of the first things he asked me when he came in today was what I thought would have happened if we didn't win the Civil War. He kept wanting to talk about that the entire tutor session. It's fun to see how his brain works, and how he truly thinks about the things he's learning at school. I think that children can teach a lot of us more about seeing the world from different perspectives.
Posted at 05:58 pm by Rachel Herman
Nov 7, 2015
Today there was a different host, I had only ever met Jackie. This week was a very slow week to work. By 9:30 all the work had been done and I sat at the table with one of the volunteers, Drew who used to work at servo, and talked about the college and his work right now. It was very interesting to talk to someone younger who volunteers, I learned that he works in a computer programming business and he told me all about the servo events and where he preferred to work. By 11:20 we decided to let people in to warm up and get coffee. There were quite a few people–so many in fact that we ran out of food and began serving soup with rolls! People are always extremely grateful at the Soup Kitchen which really makes me appreciated, I am very blessed to have made these acquaintances and have been given the chance to make even a small difference in someone’s life. I think of that every time I work at the Soup Kitchen and today was especially memorable because even though we ran out of food, people were still very happy to eat soup in a warm place surrounded by others. I think that although many people are in unfortunate situations, they have been offered something many people never have; they know the value of the small and seemingly insignificant matters in life. Food, shelter, family, recognition–We never learn to merit these aspects until we don’t have them.
Posted at 02:55 pm by AnnorabethM
Nov 6, 2015
Office for the Aging Week #5
Yesterday I visited the senior center just like normal. This week nothing particularly noteworthy happened. I sat with Myrtle and Kathryn and just like normal Kathryn was happily talking away and Myrtle was contently sitting and listening. She was talking about how she had cats growing up and they would keep them in the hen house to eat the mice. Apparently one time a cat made a pile of 24 mice that she killed (Kathryn counted them). Towards the end of my time she mentioned that she had some family members that were in different wars like WWII and the Korean War. She also briefly mentioned that she remembered what it was like living in the great depression. Unfortunately because she talks so much its sometimes hard to get a word in so next time I go I would love to hear more about that. Like normal she told multiple stories about when she was young and when her children were growing up. She spoke about how she took care of and loved her dementia ridden mother. She has some great stories and I find it incredible the great detail she can remember about stories and memories. She told me one story about her and her children and she remembered all their ages at the time. I love going to the senior center because its so easy to talk to these ladies. They're so open and honest.
Posted at 03:06 pm by Laura Fodale