The funding for my Americorps position with Mano en Mano comes from a Goodwill program called Great Strides Rural Education Corps. The program places volunteers in rural communities in order to mentor students to encourage academic engagement. I met Suzen Polk-Hoffses through Comienza en Casa and quickly found out that she had a large kindergarten class this year.
After talking, we decided that it would be a wonderful opportunity for the class to have an AmeriCorps member helping out on a regular basis. As a result, I have spent the last four weeks getting to know the class and their idiosyncrasies. The class has participated in some wonderful activities, including a visit from Folklore Farm to learn about bees and make bee houses for the school garden! The class was so excited to learn about the different types of bees and how bees help pollinate flowers which in turn creates a food.
We also explored pumpkins and what they are made of, which isn’t possible without cleaning some pumpkins. The kids, then, ate the roasted pumpkin seeds for snack then next day! Along with those activities, Mrs. Hoffses and I have been reading bilingual books for the class. The children are loving hearing the books in Spanish and English. Several of them even told me that I should only speak Spanish so they can hear it more often. The time I spend in the classroom is supposed to benefit them, but it has been a positive experience for me because of their constant smiles and eagerness to learn. I am thrilled to help out and learn from these children for the rest of the school year.