Participando en la Comunidad

Absorbing the options of EngageDC on the handout provided in class, I flipped back and forth through the pages over and over again.  This was a whole semester-long commitment to volunteer somewhere; I wanted to choose wisely so that I would not regret my decision.  I did not want to be a tutor.  I have been an active tutor for kids whose first language is Spanish through my high school’s chapter of the National Spanish Honors Society, and tutoring just is not my style.  When I go in with the goal of tutoring, I usually end up having given the student a life lesson instead of helping him or her with a necessary homework assignment.  This may have been useless academically to the student, but they appreciated how I was able to connect with them on a deeper-than-homework level.  It also showed me that I have the capacity and talent to bond one-on-one with students.  Seeing “Social Media Intern” made me think I would be able to form close relationships with students from different backgrounds than myself but actually accomplish my assignments.  Upon seeing that it was through the Latin American Youth Center, I got excited because I would be able to out my language skills to use.

The position there that I kept getting drawn to was “Social Media Intern”.  I love to work with photography-honestly, if I was not majoring in International Affairs, I would be studying photojournalism-, so I finally stopped flipping through the pages and noted that the hours were very limited.  However, being that the organization was the Latin American Youth Center, I thought to myself, “Eh. Still apply for this one.  They might work with you more since you can speak Spanish fluently.”  After meeting with the site operations manager, this turned out to be accurate.  Unfortunately, I will not be the Social Media Intern because my schedule was too difficult to function with that position.  Nevertheless, something better was in store for me, and they needed me more somewhere else when I happened to be free. I get to go on Friday afternoons to the music classes and simply be a translator for the music teachers. This may sound very boring to the average Joe, but I want to become a certified translator to make extra money in university, and this could help legitimize that aspiration.  Also, I will be the only bilingual volunteer there, so I can be the bridge of trust between the students and the teacher, and that makes me feel like I am truly an important part of the process.

The element from the LAYC’s website that kept my interest the most was the picture on the home page.  It features five students of minority backgrounds.  Knowing that I will be working with students of different origins than myself motivates me more because I know I will be able to learn just as much from them as they will from me.  These students also looked genuinely happy with themselves, and currently, I am at a point in my life where I am dedicating my thought process to optimism and happiness only, so being surrounded by their peace of mind would really benefit me as well.  I think what this service learning project will bring to me is a more profound understanding of my mantra, “Unidad En Diversidad”.





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