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
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
Being a department coordinator has been the most daunting task I have encountered at Santa Clara. Past DC’s I have looked up to made the process seem effortless and seamless, but when the torched was passed on to me I quickly realized that appearance is not reality. “How am I supposed to just come up with department events?!” was a question that crashed around in my mind as I became more nervous by the day that I would drop the torch.
But like many things in life, the anticipation is more terrifying than the actual doing. As department meetings progressed and my Program Coordinators started getting comfortable with each other, ideas started bouncing around more quickly. And since Halloween is such a prime time for cool events, I’m sure you can guess what naturally progressed: Halloween parties!
One of my PC’s, Sara Kelly (HomeSafe), nearly singlehandedly orchestrated a Halloween Party that attracted a crowd of volunteers and HomeSafe clients. HomeSafe is a permanent housing solution for women and their children fleeing domestic violence. Over the course of the evening, the kids were able to make fun crafts and go trick-or-treating in the Loyola RLC. This is one of the department’s most popular events, and with good reason. Kids are kids no matter their experiences, and they deserve to have memories where the day is all about them having fun.
It was a busy week for the Housing Security department because the department’s first (!!!) San Jose Family Shelter Halloween Party occurred the following day. I could not have pulled this off without the help of business fraternity Alpha Kappa Psi’s Omega Pledge Class. And, of course, I must give enormous accolades to their service chair Andrew Elliott (freshman), without whom this event would not have come to pass. This event was really special to me personally because it signifies the beginning of what I am sure will be a fruitful relationship between SCCAP and AKPsi. One of my goals as a Department Coordinator is to cultivate the untapped potential connections that I know are lying dormant between SCCAP and Greek Life.
- Amanda Schiavone
DC of Housing Security
Picture below is of the Omega Pledge Class of Alpha Kappa Psi after cleaning up the San Jose Family Shelter Halloween Event.
Papel picado, an altar, delicious food, and great company --what a wonderful way to bring week 6 to an end! Workers’ Connection took a break from its usual Saturday program at the Day Worker Center of Mountain View to celebrate an early Día de los Muertos. Participants in the program were kindly greeted at the door with besos and abrazos from María (the most wonderful and dedicated woman who runs the Center) and Marco (the Center’s backbone with the best and brightest smile). A warm welcome like this is nothing out of the ordinary at the Center --those who have been can attest! We then began decorating the Center by learning and eventually mastering (lol jk) how to make papel picado --a traditional Mexican folk art made from tissue paper commonly seen during el Día de los Muertos. As the Center’s attendees started showing up, we all began working together to create and string together the papel picado while also setting up the altar. A photo of a loved one who has passed was placed on the altar as per tradition, and throughout the upcoming week the workers who attend the Center will be adding pictures of their loved ones as well. Once we finished decorating, we came together to enjoy some delicious food --some of it traditional like pan de muerto and pan dulce and some of it not-so-traditional aka Little Caesars pizza.
Hearts happy and stomachs full, we shared stories and cultural traditions. One man from Venezuela highlighted the diversity of cultural traditions within his own family, explaining to us how on his mother’s side people honor deceased loved ones very traditionally via funerals, prayers, and the custom of andando de luto (wearing black for a specific amount of time in honor of the deceased). Conversely, his father’s side of the family would celebrate the loved one’s life by gathering together, drinking, and reminiscing. Another women from Puebla, México told us of traditions intrinsic to where she is from. When someone passes, the rest of the family stays up all night as people from the town visit the home and gift them food. Within 20 or 30 minutes of someone’s passing, another person will carry the news to the church which will then ring the bell in order to signify to God that this soul is ready to enter into heaven.
This is the first time in the Center’s 20 years that there has been a Día de los Muertos celebration, and we were very honored to be a part of it! Just like we had been discussing, tradition is so important to maintain and care for, and now we have started our own little tradition here at the Center.
Siguiendo nuestras tradiciones preparándonos para honrar a nuestros fieles difuntos en comunidad. Continuing our traditions to honor our deceased loved ones as a community.
This experience exemplifies Workers’ Connection’s mission of “learning about the lives, struggles, hopes, and respective cultures of those at the Day Workers Center of Mountain View”. This program has provided me and others the opportunity to be part of a beautiful community within which we can learn and grow while forming meaningful relationships. If you want to join us next time or would simply like more information on what we do, please contact me!
-Besos y abrazos,
Kimy Grandi Soriano
Worker's Connection Program Coordinator
Workers’ Connection regulars Bella Rios and Chris Alvarado having a great time making papel picado!
Michele Canny hanging some angelitos on the altar
Two regulars at the Day Worker Center organizing the cempasuchiles (marigolds) for the altar. These flowers are traditional to el Día de los Muertos.
Pictures of the altar as it was coming together.
Deep in conversation at the Center while enjoying some comida sabrosa!
Group photo of all the wonderful people at the celebration this past Sunday.
(Photos courtesy of Google Images, Bella Rios, María Marroquin, and the Day Worker Center of Mountain View Facebook page)