We worked as volunteers for the Junior Achievement program. Junior Achievement is a non-profit organization targeted in teaching children about free enterprise system and education. Two of us were assigned to a kindergarten class, in which we taught the children about "Ourselves." My group included G and Kenya. We spent time yesterday preparing for our 5 lessons that we were responisble to teach. G and Kenya took turns reading the storybook and boy did they do a great job!
As we arrived at the school we were greeted by Niambi Brown, the coordinator of the JA program. She was so welcoming and was a pleasure to work with! She filled us in about the programs' goals, as well as the area of Atlanta.
We worked in Ms. Samples' class. The classroom was top of the notch! As a future educator, I was thoroughly impressed with all of the posters, manipulatives, and centers. I especially liked the fact that groups were named "perserverance, tenacity, and determination." It's a great way to integrate ideals to children at such a young age. I was also very impressed with how intelligent all of the students were. Several of the children were able to read and most knew all of their coins as well!
The JA program was a great success. We were able to complete all 5 lessons, which was very exciting for our group! Great work Kenya and G. The children were very well behaved and sat quietly while we read the story. The loved all of the activities too, especially the stickers and piggy bank. I think the lessons were well planned and organized and really focused on important topics that were relatable to children in kindergarten. I will be contacting the JA program in NJ to possibly start at my site because I enjoyed it so much!
Hill-Hope Elementary School is a Title 1 school[ just like Hedgepeth]. As you walk in the front doors of the school I felt like I was walking into a school in an area like Princeton. The walls were filled with bright colorful and inspirational murals, some with quotes and some with famous people. I walk away from that school with new determination to create similar murals at my site with my Girl Scout troop. It is amazing how a small thing like a painting on a wall can affect an entire atmosphere.
One of the greatest things of all about this trip is my renewed passion to make my site the best it can be. It is so easy to get wrapped up with small details and things that go wrong, but I realize I need to focus on the positives. The week before coming to Atlanta I had the best experience thus far at my site. We started a second Girl Scout troop as well as a Boy Scout pack. The children loved it, as well as the Bonners involved. Again, a simple activity like this makes a difference in these children's lives, and it is the children's smiles that fuel my passion to help. Atlanta has allowed me to reflect on why it is so important to work together with others towards a common goal. The Civil Rights Movement involved people of all races, religions, and classes, and I hope we all can continue to work together to make this world we live in a better place.
This trip also allowed me to get to know each of the Bonners in attendance a little bit better. It is opportunities like these that really bring people together, and I can not be more grateful. From 15 hour van rides to sorting cans to teaching kindergarteners to eating Southern soul food to laughing at eachother- I have not had a better experience than this one. I also am grateful that G was such a great chaperone. G and I just recently got to know eachother because of this trip, and I don't think this trip could have been as much of a success if it was not for him and his persistence.
Tomorrow morning we are leaving very early to drive back to Jersey. Although I am excited to go back home, I am saddened to leave such a diverse area. We could not have picked a better location for this trip because it truly is a melting pot. The different sections of the city represent all of the different people living in this area. Although they are separate, they have one thing in common, southern hospitality. It actually upsets me that we all do not act this kindly to others in NJ. If you think about it, is it really that hard to be polite and nice to others? I will go to sleep tonight with a new mindset to treat all people with respect and politeness.
I really do recommend all to visit this wonderful city. You will have a lot of fun and learn just as much along the journey.
Until later, Dana
Until later, Dana