As the Kid’s Club program coordinator, the first thing that I get asked is, “what’s it like volunteering at your program?” Usually I tell an anecdote about a particularly meaningful interaction with a child. Sometimes, I talk about light-hearted moments we have playing games, but the reality is, it’s so much more. Each day is a unique and special experience. To try and explain what it’s like I have decided to share a day in the life of volunteering at Kid’s Club.
2:45 pm – After a full day of classes and clubs, I meet with my volunteers in the parking lot to head over to Washington Elementary school. After we all pile into whatever Zipcar we’re using that day we begin the drive. There’s never a dull moment as we head over. We talk about classes, update each other on our weeks, and check in to see how everyone is doing.
3:00 pm - When we arrive at the school I go find where the 1st and 2nd graders I work with are lined up. They just finished up with a snack and are usually pretty excited. I always get at least one hug and lots of smiles. I get to hear all about the latest events in the lives of the students, whether it be their Halloween costumes or their new backpacks. The chaos and screaming subsides, however, when Ms. ‘G,’ their patient and loving teacher, begins leading them to their CORAL classroom. (CORAL is the official name of the after school program that we work with. It’s put on by Catholic Charities of Santa Clara County, which does some pretty neat stuff!)
3:05 pm - After the trek across campus, we enter in the class. The kids stand patiently and wait for Ms. ‘G’ to call their team to sit down. The kids are divided into fire wolves, laser wolves, and power wolves, each sitting at their own table. They love these names; you can’t mention them without shrieks of excitement coming from the class. The kids do their very best to stand still so that Ms. ‘G’ will call their team name. Once they’ve sat down, they begin to work on their homework. Usually, this involves a lot of sharpening pencils and trying to figure out where the right folder is, but eventually everybody settles down and begins to do work. This ranges from math problems, to counting syllables, to reading comprehension, and anything in between. My favorite part is watching the kids collaborating together, they are so willing to share and help build each other up.
4:00 pm - After almost an hour of homework, you can sense the anticipation building in the room. The kids are antsy and ready for a change of pace. Ms. ‘G’ finally calls for everybody to put their homework away. The room bursts with excitement as everyone tries to contain themselves enough to be released outside.
4:05 pm - Once we’re outside, Ms. ‘G’ has the kids run a lap around the field to get out their energy. The kids sometimes try to do extra laps and show off their speed. Once even the fastest child has collapsed on the ground, the group decides which game to play. My favorite is basketball. Even though I have no skill myself, it’s fun to watch how excited the kids get about it and how enthusiastic they are. Seeing the kids in a less formal setting you really notice their personalities shine through, it’s the best!
4:30 pm - Once the games have subsided, it’s time to head into the library. The kids work with a computer program that focuses on reading comprehension. I usually go around and help them with whatever they need. Sometimes, I get to read with them as well!
5:00 pm - As the kids finish up on the computers, I have to run. Unfortunately, my volunteers and I have to get back to our busy lives, so we can’t stay with the kids forever. I get lots of waves and big toothy grins as I head out and back to the Zipcar.
5:15 pm - Once we’re back on campus I say goodbye to my volunteers and head to whatever I have planned next. I always feel refreshed and ready to go after spending an afternoon with my favorite kids.
SCCAP has been such a light in my life and has challenged me to be a better version of myself. Getting to spend time with these kids is the best part of my week. No matter who you are or what you like, I believe that SCCAP has a program that will make your life brighter. I encourage everyone to find the program for them, and if you need any help I’m more than willing to lend a hand. SCCAPiness and happiness to all!
- Isabella Whitworth
Kid’s Club Program Coordinator