We had our first full week of volunteering and I felt it went really well. We volunteered at various organizations including Casa Hogar Ebenezer and Buen Samaritano – old age homes, Oasis – an after-school program, Welcome Home – a daycare, New Beginnings- a women’s shelter, and we taught English and an art class at a local school and a community center.
Throughout the week I really enjoyed teaching English at the Chula Vista Community Centre to kids in grades 1-3. Our class has about 15 children in it and more are joining as the class is becoming known in the community. It is an incredible experience to be these children’s resource to learn a new language. The ability for them to speak and understand English can open up numerous possibilities and opportunities in their lives. It is, however, extremely challenging, as I am not a teacher and have never taught English to anyone. We were lucky to have an English teacher in Canada devise a beginner program for us and then send a woman down to Mexico to teach us in person. Even with the program, it is difficult but we are all learning together and from each other as well. My highlight from our first class was when the children started to catch on to the sounds and letters we were trying to teach them. It is very rewarding hearing the children speak in English even though its only one small word. Seeing them starting to understand it is an incredible experience.
I had a great personal experience at Buen Samartiano. We got to work closely with the seniors and it was really nice to help them out in any way that we could. While we were there, Ally and I were painting the women’s fingernails. There was one woman who I had a strong connection with. While painting her nails, she was telling me all sorts of stories, which I couldn’t understand since they were in Spanish. I did my best and smiled and laughed when it was appropriate and she got noticeably happier as our time continued. It is amazing how happy this woman was to have someone listen to her stories and to share laughs with, and I was happy to share that with her too.
After this first week of volunteering I am very excited for what’s to come within these next few weeks, as we continue to strengthen relationships where we volunteer and with the people in the community.
~ Danica, Live Different Academy Student, 2015