At the beginning of the summer, I spent one week participating in a Fellowship program at Robin Hood. Over the course of the week we focused on learning how poverty in and around the New York City area impacts so many people. We had the ability to work closely with, and spend our time at some of the best poverty fighting organizations in New York City. Specifically, we learned about educational differences, hunger issues and work programs. We presented on this issues at the end of the week. It was both an eye opening week and an incredible experience.
I dedicated five weeks (July 7-August 10) of my summer to help out a non-profit in Jersey City called Liberty Science Center.
During this session, for the first two weeks, I was trained how to engage with large groups of people at exhibits, I learned valuable job skills, and learned a lot about science through doing a scavenger hunt in the first week. After these first two weeks, they sent us out onto the floors to actually start engaging with guests and making sure to make their days better for the money they paid. I had to address customer complaints, act promptly on task requests, and constantly be open to new situations on the floors and in the exhibits. Talking to groups of families, couples, school/camp groups, (of which there were so many) and disabled persons enriched my ability to feel comfortable immersing myself in a social job environment. On certain days, thousands of guests arrived, and these were the days where the volunteer work was stressful, but the feeling of accomplish regarding community service hours topped everything as worthwhile.
This was my third summer working with the Hunter Summer Enrichment program. The program runs through the month of July, four days a week, and kids ages 5-12 take three classes a day in math/science, art/music, and writing. I worked as the head of a group of four student aides with a group of 17 rising third graders. They had science, writing, and art every day.
In my previous summer as the head of a group, I didn’t take on such a responsibility-heavy role as I’d expected because of complications with the people working in my group which resulted in the head of the student aides remaining in my group for the entire month. This meant that the disciplinarian role mostly fell on her instead of me. This year, it was up to me to really assume the position of bad cop, which meant I had to learn quickly how to deal with difficult situations and arguments. It wasn’t the most fun I’ve had in my three summers working at Hunter, but it definitely taught me that not everything can be handled by a gentle nudge in the right direction.
Overall it was a great learning experience not only for my students but also for me. I definitely learned a lot working at Hunter this summer.