Manaka’s Experience with Kumon Okinawa

This summer I volunteered with Kumon in Okinawa, Japan. Kumon is a place where students come to study math, humanities, and English. I was a teacher over the course of three weeks, and I worked with elementary school students on their English. I read books to them, and I also went through vocabulary flashcards with them. In addition, I graded student’s math worksheets. It was rewarding to see the children’s faces light up when they got a question correct or comprehended a part of the book. I hope to use my knowledge to teach others again in the future. 

Manaka’s Experience with Bank Street School for Children

Recently, I volunteered to be a tour guide at the Bank Street School for Children open house twice. I attended this school from 4th grade (9/10’s) to 8th grade (13/14’s). I have volunteered to be a tour guide at this school when I attended there, but going back as an alum was a very different experience.

Because it is a K-8 school, the parents were very interested in my experiences adjusting to a new school after going to the same school for such a long time. In some ways, I could relate to the parents on the tour; they were looking at every detail they could possibly see, asking all sorts of questions, just like when I went on tours for the high school application process.

As much as this service experience helped the school and the admissions team, I think that this experience also helped me practice my public speaking skills to a large audience, which is something that I struggle with. It also forced me to reflect on my life so far. What accomplishments have I achieved during my time at Bank Street? What were some challenges I had to overcome? What are the most memorable academic experiences that you had?

I was initially planning to do this when I graduated, even when I didn’t know about the community service hour requirements. Bank Street has a special place in my heart, and it always will. Through this experience, I got to reconnect with friends from my grade and the grades below me. I got to reconnect with parents I knew in the school. I got to reconnect with teachers and faculty. Because I got to work with my previous school, it was a very personal and fun experience and yes, I would do it again.