Monday, October 15, 2012

ALMas: The Journey So Far

And lastly, please let me fill you in on what I've been able to determine as of now with regards to ALMas and its direction:

The organization, tentatively called ALMas ("Ayudandoles Lograr Mas") would gather bilingual Spanish-speakers on campus to provide pre-school ELL students (or students the school describes as academically at risk given their familial, language, and income background) of hispanic/latino descent with extra academic enrichment with a focus on reading comprehension, literacy development, and access to academically and educationally rich environments of college mentors.  The program would most likely take place within a HeadStart program attached to a public school.

I've also had the honor and pleasure to meet with Molly Thayer, Director of Literacy for the Uchicago's Urban Education Institute (UEI), and she gave me the UEI's commitment to train students/volunteers participating in my club to administer and teach according to the UEI’s comprehensive STEP education evaluation for students in prek-3rd grade--so that members and I can now move forward crafting an actual curriculum and materials list and exercises for the pilot-program.  Of course, we are still in the planning stages of the program with curriculum development at the forefront of our efforts right now.

And just as exciting, I just spoke with Lucy Hall, UChicago's Jumpstart Program Coordinator, and she's agreed to share with me Jumpstart's curriculum and lesson plans, as well as committed to train the core group of my volunteers on how to work within a pre-school environment with children, how to administer a structured lesson plan, and provided acces to DePaul University's Jumpstart that works with ELL students of Latino descent.

Slowly, things are coming together to provide an environment for young DLL latino students to grow intellectually, socially, and academically through literacy development and mentorship.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Time and Learning

If there are only a few things I've learned in the short twenty years of life I've lived, it's these:

1.  Even when you find out what you want to do in life, it's still hard to get your ass off the bed and actually do what you know you've been made to do.

But I'm doing it, damn it.  Met with Shaz Rasul, Program Director of Neighborhood Schools Program, and Lucy Hall, Program Coordinator of Jumpstart here at UChicago.

I think I just landed an ALMas-Jumpstart partnership for curriculum, volunteer training, and pre-k children mentoring experience.  BOOM.

2.  Inspiring others to follow you takes commitment and work.  You have to give back to your helpers.  You gotta make sure you value them!

3.  In the end, you can choose your friends and you have to love your family and friends.  Why waste time with those that don't make your life happier?  Talk to those closest to you; open up; be stupid, be funny, be sad, be mad--be complete.

4.  This is just for me, really.  With respect to women, I honestly don't know much in this arena.  And I've definitely screwed the pooch many many times.  But in any potential or beginning relationship, if you treated the other person well, I think you can expect at least a hi or something from that person when you pass by them.  I mean, it's courtesy.  It at least lets you know that you did something right--or else it just feels like you really make someone uncomfortable.  And that doesn't feel to good at all.

5.  I don't know.  Help kids.  Honestly, if that's the biggest thing I've learned, it's that.  Help kids.  Why?  Because they need it.  Now more than ever.

6.  Study hard.  I know I've been.  I'm in the library a lot.  One or two days, I'll be a little less on my game.  But I'm on it right now.  And it feels good to know I'm not wasting these last few precious years running around chasing frivolous things.

7.  Love unconditionally.  Be merciful.  Because you never know when you'll need mercy.