Youth Forward scholarship 2016 – Next Generation

Name: Michael Knight-Allder
From: New York City, New York
Grade: 3.5
School: University of Hartford
Votes: 0

Michael Knight

For almost three years I unofficially volunteered at the after school/summer camp Daybreak. For about two hours I helped children with their homework and other duties usually given to an afterschool counselor. In my junior year of high school, I became an official volunteer and once again spent about two hours or more every other weekday helping out the kids. My duties there included assisting the children in homework and studying for tests, from time to time I would I have to teach them things their teachers never taught. My duties further included cleaning up, if I were still there and all
the children were gone, and keeping the peace whenever a conflict arose. I had many good times there, having attended Daybreak when I was younger. Those good times are what kept me volunteering officially and otherwise for five years.

With every good time comes its bad and there were most definitely the difficult times, such as, when and when not to discipline a child or how heavy their punishment should be. In regards to that I also had to worry about contact with the children because often fights would ensue and how I handled them mattered greatly. However, the most difficult part of the job, for me, was having at the very least fifteen children almost every day for two hours screaming in my ear. Luckily, for me, the stress didn’t outweigh the smiling faces of the children.

I believe seeing the children come in the door happy and energetic, ready to have some fun, and then seeing them leave slightly sad but still happy is the greatest part about working as a volunteer there.
Seeing that they’re so happy and ready to enjoy themselves then seeing them slightly sad to leave but still happy they had the opportunity to be there gives me an over joy feeling. It makes me believe that I have done something right for them because sadly many of the children grow up with a single parent, who is struggling to keep the roof over their heads. And by giving them a place where they don’t have to worry about that was a great feeling for me.

Being a volunteer for Daybreak was not only one of the best times of my life but one of the most educational. Being a volunteer after school counselor has not only taught me the struggles of being a teacher and the likes but more importantly it taught me that if you give kids a place where they can learn and have fun, no matter the age range, they will take that experience with them forever. I can
attest to that and so can the friends I met there when I attended Daybreak. Along with this, the position has also taught me discipline in the form of patience, helping me realize that if I can wait for a
child on a sugar rush to sit and do their homework I can out wait anyone.

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