Youth Forward Scholarship Winter 2018 – Volunteering for the CIA

Name: Fafa Nutor
From: Worthington, OH
Grade: fafanutor@gmail.com
School: Thomas Worthington High School
Votes: 0

Volunteering for
the CIA

Fafa Nutor

My favorite volunteering experience has been with the CIA. And not
the CIA that you’re thinking of: CIA stands for Characters in
Action. This group teaches local elementary school kids character
traits and social media responsibility through funny and engaging
skits. I wanted to participate because I know that these foundational
lessons will affect these students for the rest of their lives. When
I was younger, my elementary school teachers taught me good character
traits, and that has empowered me to be the person that I am today.
My group spends two hours per week for two months every year,
visiting schools and performing for students. My specific job was to
act in the skits and debrief the students about the character traits
demonstrated in the skit. As an active participant in my theatre
program I do not suffer from intense stage fright, nevertheless, I
still get nervous before each performance. I really want the skits
that the other volunteers and I act in to resonate with the students,
and anyone who has interacted with little kids know that they are not
the easiest to please. What really helps me overcome this fear of
failure is my camaraderie with the other volunteers. Performing in
front of six to eleven-year-olds can be nerve wracking, but the
volunteers and I encourage ourselves and affirm each other. The
support that they we have for each other helps me to perform to the
best of my ability.

I remember once that the group showed a skit where my character was
accepted into a group of friends at lunch, even though my food came
from a different culture. After the skit, one of the students came up
to me and said that she ate that type of food too. We started talking
about our culture before she had to go back to class. I was rewarded
in the feeling that I provided representation for some of the
children. In the community we work in there is not a large population
of African students, and I know firsthand that it easy to feel like
an outcast. I felt happy that I could represent my culture and help
someone feel less alone. This experience and other experiences
volunteering has shown me that stepping outside of one’s comfort
zone to help others is rewarding. I interpret the phrase
“forward-looking” as preparing for the future. The lessons that
CIA teaches are a good foundation for the kids and will help them
become adults with integrity. In the distant future, I hope this
program would have helped the students form good character traits.
The seed we have planted in these kids will give them the tools to
positively change the world. Even though I do not plan to work with
children in the future, I know that everyone needs to be reminded
that kindness and good morals matter.

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