this is from last semester, but i realized i never posted it. here’s my last log entry from MOMs!
Today was an odd day at MOMs. Things seemed really jumbled up, partly because the semester is coming to a close and partly because the kids were in rare form. I believe they’d had a party the day before, so snacks were a mishmash of all kinds of food—the tutors got some of it too, which was nice. Sam had to leave early today because Emily, he told us, had been bullied lately on the bus, and today it was just too much for her; she just had to go home. It was kind of disorienting, because (I suppose much like a kid not realizing his or her teacher lives outside the classroom) it was the first time something outside their time at MOMs had been so dramatically brought into focus. It made me wonder if I’d been more intentional about getting to know Emily, if I might have known about the bullying. It made me stop and think. One of my main concerns for becoming a social worker is that the emotional toll might be too much; that I might collapse under the constant worry for my clients or my desire to get more involved in their lives. I’m not saying I think this would absolutely happen, but it’s certainly something I wouldn’t put past myself. Something I’ve really appreciated from class is the practical advice for making sure you don’t bring your work home with you—have a solid social life outside work, be confident that you’re doing your best, etc. It’s not just that I’ll be using skills I’ve learned to work with other people… I’ll be using them with myself too!
A bunch of Ball State students apparently needed more volunteer hours, so we had about three tutors for every child, and it was kind of frustrating and crowded. Since Sam and Emily were gone too, I felt kind of useless. I eventually tagged along with another tutor who was working with Jaylen on his history homework. This consisted, of course, of Jaylen getting completely distracted and the two of us tutors corralling him back to his desk. There wasn’t much of a sense of urgency, but we finally ended up helping him finish all of it. Again, it’s so cool to see how Jaylen sort of all of a sudden realizes that he is in fact capable of completing his work and gets proud of himself.
After that we just followed the kids to the garden and left halfway through so we could catch the bus on the way back. A busy, interesting, typical day at MOMs. I can’t believe I only have one week left of the semester. I have decided to officially keep doing it—at this point I’ve just grown really attached to these kids, and if for some reason it turns out I won’t have the time, it’ll be something I can easily switch around.
Looking back on my experience as a whole, I’ve been truly impressed with the amount of stuff I’ve been able to apply from class specifically to my time at MOMs. I think mainly the listening skills came in handy, making sure to always be attentive and let the kids know you care. Also I really improved, I thought, with my patience. Hanging out around a bunch of rambunctious kids will do that. I’ve been able to see the need for volunteers here in Muncie (one of the reasons I’m staying), how children so benefit from one-on-one attention, and by themselves teachers cannot always provide that. I’ve made new friends—both fellow tutors and fun kids—and I managed not to miss a single Thursday.
It’s been a great semester. I can’t wait for what’s up ahead.
last semester i was positive that i’d be volunteering there again this semester. but i hate to say it… i don’t know if i’ll have time. this semester is extremely busy. extremely. and i really want to be there, but i don’t know if it would be responsible, especially since i’m already in college mentors.
i hate decisions like this.
i’m thinking it will probably look like i still volunteer, just not on a regular basis. maybe every other week. that would be great. that’s what i’m hoping. what i need to remember is that God’s hand is sovereign over even this little issue in my own life. He knows what needs to be done.
but i still hate decisions like this.