Today was a long day. For whatever reason, the hours at MOMs dragged on, and it felt like I was never going to leave. I enjoyed myself for the most part, but I would look up at the clock every once and a while, thinking a half hour had passed, and it would only have been ten minutes later. Just one of those days, I guess.
I worked pretty much exclusively with Sam today. Again, it’s kind of become the norm; he expects me to work with him, and I enjoy spending time with him, and we get along great. He had geography and spelling tests he was studying for, and so we went and got a puzzle of the USA and used that to quiz him. He kept getting stuck on a certain few, but together we came up with some clever ways for him to remember the names (Minnesota sort of looks like an “M” on its side, stuff like that). Today for whatever reason he was really wrapped up in drawing stick figures and ways for them to meet untimely deaths. He’s not a violent boy and I wasn’t worried by his drawings (I did the same thing, but with spy gadgets), but they were a distraction. We worked again this week on completing one whole assignment before moving on to the next, and it seemed to help.
When I was younger one of the things I loved to do was write in codes. Today I wrote a message for Sam to decode, and he thought it was the coolest thing ever! It was actually really funny. I taught him how to decode it, and he said he’d try and write a message to give me next week. It’s fun to see these relationships growing. I really enjoy just hanging out with Sam!
Looking back on the goals I set at the beginning of the year, I really am seeing them fulfilled more and more with each passing week. I haven’t forgotten or skipped a Thursday yet, so that’s good. I really am developing solid relationships with the kids here at MOMs—some deeper than others, but that’s to be expected. I’m caring about them outside just the few hours I spend with them every week, and it feels like to some of them, I’ve become more than just a tutor. We’re becoming friends, and it’s lots of fun.
After interacting with the MOMs program for eight weeks now, I have gained a much deeper appreciation of the need for volunteers here in just the Muncie community. MOMs is just one organization that focuses on just one age group. I have no doubt that nursing homes, community service programs, and other after school programs all have the same need. After seeing the impact that simple interaction (which involves truly listening to the child) can have on a relationship, and on a child’s outlook on life, the need for mentors specifically has been really highlighted in my mind. I’ve decided that I am going to continue with MOMs next semester, and it really wasn’t a tough decision. These kids need mentors, people who care about them and want to invest in their lives in whatever way they can.
I really appreciate the people I work with. We’re able to talk about the different kids we interact with, and it’s been cool to see MOMs as a whole in that way, instead of just my 4th– and 5th–grade corner. There’s a few different majors represented as well, so it’s been fun to see where everyone’s coming from and what unique perspectives each person brings to the table. Hopefully I’ll be able to see them next semester as well. Along that thread of perspectives, I’ve really benefitted on a purely practical standpoint from my time volunteering at MOMs. I’ve had the chance to apply almost all the things I’ve learned in class. I’ve had to intentionally use the listening skills, and working with all the different kinds of kids has been great preparation for what my career in child counseling might look like. It’s been exciting and fun, and it makes me look forward to what a career could look like for me.