Volunteering Around Claremont

Freshman year I started volunteering with LINC, a program through the Draper Center designed to help elementary school kids improve their reading skills.  I never imagined myself going into education or teaching, but the more I hear about issues with our education system and how so many kids are disadvantaged for various reasons, the more active I tend to want to become in these kinds of volunteering programs.  If anything, going abroad only strengthened my resolve to spend less time on myself this year and devote a bit more time to engaging with the surrounding community.  I know I can learn a lot from the people around me, outside of the Claremont bubble, and I have skills, time, patience, and enthusiasm to share with them in turn.

So, on Friday I had my first day this year with LINC, though the teacher wasn’t exactly expecting me to be there so I ended up mostly grading the short quiz the students took and helping them understand why you do capitalize “Claremont” but not “the” in a title (English can be so confusing!).  Then on Monday, I went to help with CLASP, an after-school homework help program.  I got to meet two adorable first grade boys and help them with subtraction by drawing 5 balloons and “popping” 3 of them to see how many were left (who says math can’t be fun?).  It’s pretty small things like this that make me feel incredibly happy and connected, even if it seems trivial.  Who knows?  Maybe to the kids this is just boring homework, or maybe they really benefit from the one-on-one attention.  I know there are lots of other ways I could be involved beyond the college and hopefully I will try to remember to engage outside the bubble as much as possible!