Youth Forward Scholarship Winter 2016 – What Teaching Children Has Taught Me

Name: Danielle Angert
From: Valparaiso, Indiana
Grade: 11
School: Valparaiso High School
Votes: 0

What Teaching
Children Has Taught Me

As a volunteer counselor for a preschool summer camp, I spend a lot of
my time teaching kids how to perform simple tasks that prepare them
for kindergarten: cutting, pasting, writing, and most importantly,
how to behave independently. The other volunteers and I spend 4 hours
a day, for 4 days a week, for 4 weeks a summer, with children between
the ages of 3 and 6. I had never before thought about the need to
learn basic tasks before; in my memory, I have always been able to do
cut, paste, write, and function alone. But, as a result of
volunteering for the past three summers, I have come to appreciate
all of the people who helped me develop the skills I take for granted
today.

While most of the children who attend this camp are of a middle upper class
family and possess average ability, each year there are some students
less fortunate. It is very easy for the children to realize their
differences when juxtaposed with students of higher socioeconomic
status and therefore better abilities. The more privileged kids have
resources to help them improve while the others do not, and this
harmfully affects the children’s confidence before they have even
started elementary school. I take it upon myself to help the
underprivileged children develop these basic skills, for I am
grateful that someone was there to do the same for me. With proper
education, everyone has the ability to accomplish whatever she or he
desires. But even growing up in a country such as America, known for
freedom and opportunity, not every person is able to receive adequate
education.  


It is truly the greatest pleasure when, at the end of the summer, I remark on the
improvements that the campers have made. Children who originally
cried every morning because they did not want to leave their parents
cry because they do not want camp to end. There are many kids who did
not know how to hold a pair of scissors, let alone use them to cut.
But, the look on the boys and girls faces when they successfully cut
out an image we use for a craft is worth every second I spent
teaching them. Parent approach me, call me by my first name, and tell
me how my simple actions have completely changed their children into
a confident student ready to enter kindergarten. I relish witnessing
the positive influence that my simple actions have had on the lives
of children, and I hope to never stop volunteering.


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