I had a wonderful time volunteering at Texas Tech’s International Cultural Center.
There is an office there dedicated to creating educational programs and community outreaches for the community. Due to my background in elementary education and working internationally, I fit right in.
The ladies there put together a winter program every year, this one was focusing on “festivals of light” around the world.
“Holidays around the World: A Celebration of Light… Every culture speaks a language of light, each with its own traditions and meanings. This program examines the history and cultural significance of light festivals around the world. Students will create holiday crafts related to these festivals for various countries.” http://www.depts.ttu.edu/international/intlopr/k-12geo/index.php
We started by ushering kids from local schools into the auditorium where they got to listen to someone play bagpipes! The students ranged from 1st -5th grade. Many parent volunteers and of course teachers were there to assist as well.
My main goal was to help wherever I could. I did some material preparation and organizing. During the program, the students learned about the culture, language, and a celebration from Germany, India, Mexico, and Scotland. Then the students created a related craft, which I also assisted with.
After each class rotated to the different presentations, we said farewell and immediately prepared for the next group of kids. The best part was that everyone was engaged with the lessons, including me! I actually learned quite a bit!
Each presentation was very interesting and well organized, so I had an enjoyable time helping out in any way I could. It was a rewarding experience because although the teachers were prepared, I was told very little before showing up. It is in my nature to want to know what’s going to happen before it does, but it was a good exercise in being flexible and going with the flow. Once I realized what needed to be done, it felt great to be able to fill those needs.
The K-12 community outreach department always does such a nice job, and I look forward to volunteering for more programs in the future!