Name: Caitlin Espina Gutierrez
From: Stockton, California
School: Middle College High School
I have never sparked a sincere passion for any of the core subjects of our educational system, such as math or English. However, from
volunteering at San Joaquin Delta College’s Child Development Center, I have realized my love of working with kids. I went there as much as three times a week for about an hour to two for a whole semester. I was assigned Room 2, which was filled with about fifteen little kids. My job was basically to assist the three teachers in that room to the best of my abilities. Sometimes it would be by setting up food or washing tables, but many times, it was just by playing the kids and being a good role model for them.
Obviously, this experience had its ups and down, given it is a room of three-to-four-year-olds. Sometimes the kids will call each other
names or not listen when I tell them to stop when causing a discrepancy. I have learned just to be proactive and assertive in handling situations like this. It is important to remember that they are young kids still learning to behave. On the other hand, bad behavior as they get older can stem from a lack of discipline in their childhood. I always point out when someone goes out of line, I also try to explain the reasoning behind it. For instance, one day, little Miss Miranda called Leah’s finger-painting “ugly.” I told Miranda to apologize to Leah, not just because she was being mean or insensitive, but because many times the little kids are not aware yet that their actions affect more than just themselves sometimes.
On the flipside, disciplining bad behavior also means promoting positivity and kindness, which is one of the best parts of volunteering there. Whether they are aware of it or not, these kids look up to me as a role model. I, being in there sometimes three days a week, must set an example for them. If that means being as polite, courteous, sincere, loving, and kind as much as I can for them, then so be it. Whether big or small, I could hope for is that I have made a positive impact on these kids’ lives.