As fall quarter draws to a close, I am eager to reflect on what I have learned from being Program Coordinator of Chandler Tripp. Chandler Tripp is a preschool for students with special needs. SCCAP volunteers go to the school for one hour a week to interact with the students and assist the teachers. I only started volunteering for Chandler Tripp this year, so I am new to the program, but already going to the school has become an essential part of my week.
Volunteering with the kids of Chandler Tripp is always the best hour of my week! Every day we do something new, whether that is playing with racecars and other toys, making crafts, eating snack, or singing. It is always a fun and busy hour. Playing with the students of Chandler Tripp is, in addition to being generally great, always an educational experience for me. The students of Chandler Tripp, in just one quarter, have taught me more than I would ever be able to teach them. They have taught me to be patient, and silly, and, most importantly, always present. No matter what activity we do, the hour that I am at Chandler Tripp it is an hour where I am completely present with the students; while I am at Chandler Tripp I am not worried about looming deadlines or school-related responsibilities. I believe that serving others can also be an excellent form of self-care, and volunteering for Chandler Tripp has been a wonderful way for me to get out of the Santa Clara bubble and help me to refocus on the bigger picture.
One of the best aspects, for me, of being Chandler Tripp PC has been working with all of the amazing Chandler Tripp volunteers, who are, in my only-slightly-biased-opinion, some of the most compassionate, committed, driven students at Santa Clara. I am so so fortunate to get to work with such extraordinary people, who inspire me with their enthusiasm and humility. I asked some of my most committed volunteers to write their own reflections of their time with the students at Chandler Tripp. They have way more expertise than I do with Chandler Tripp, and I was blown away by their thoughtful and poignant responses. (Also, how awesome is it that these girls take time out of their lives not only to volunteer, but to write reflections?!)
Bella Norelius, who has been a committed Chandler Tripp volunteer since fall quarter of her freshman year, wrote this:
“I have been working with Chandler Tripp for just over a year and it was one of the best choices I could have made at SCU. Whenever I tell people about my volunteer work with them I try to emphasize how important it is to me to work with these kids, my week is always better when I go to Chandler Tripp. I want to be a pediatrician when I am older, this plan comes with a lot of school work to prepare. I work tirelessly on my academics, reading a biology textbook is not the most exciting thing, but working with Chandler Tripp reminds me why I am working so hard, it reminds me why being a pediatrician is my dream. Every time I go and work with these kids and the amazing staff there I am uplifted and excited for my future.
No one would deny it, being at school is hard, hours in the library coupled with lab and lecture is intimidating but working with this school, and seeing the kids progress through their own hard work brings me a joy and satisfaction I could only find with this program.”
Sam Estacio, who has volunteered at Chandler Tripp for two years (!!) and always impresses me with her reflections as we drive back from our Thursday morning visits to the school, wrote:
“I'd have to say my favorite part of working at Chandler Tripp is the opportunity to see the children grow over the last several years. I've been working with this program for almost 2 years now and I've been blessed to stay with the same classroom for the last several quarters. My most powerful memory from this experience is my first day back this last quarter. I had thought that my favorite student had aged out of the classroom I was working in, but I was thrilled to find that she was not only still in the program, but had made massive progress beyond what I had ever imagined. I was able to see how much she had grown since I first met her- most remarkably she was able to walk almost entirely on her own which is not something I had seen before from her. It was amazing to see this level of growth in her and I am excited to see where this program takes me.”
I am so grateful to the students of Chandler Tripp, and to the wonderful volunteers who make my job as PC so worthwhile. What a fantastic quarter; I can’t wait to see what the rest of the year will bring!
- Madeline Eiken
PC of Chandler Tripp