Posted by Ryan Higgins on Tuesday, March 19, 2013
So as I posted before leaving, I spent my Spring Break on an Alternative Spring Break trip called Jungle Gym that went to Kansas City, MO. There, we worked with the Niles Home for Children, a home and school for kids who have emotional trauma and psychological or behavioral disorders. We slept on the floor of a church (Shout out to St. Mary’s!) and did a lot of group bonding. It was awesome.
At Niles, I was assigned to work in the First-Third Grade classroom. There were nine boys (the school was majority-male) who had tons of energy and very little interest in focusing on math or reading (especially reading). We spent the first part of the day eating breakfast with the kids, and then had an opening lesson before gym. While I am terrible at basketball (and just about every sport), I was actually able to hold my own against kids who were half my height. It was a thrilling experience to be honest.
The rest of the day was broken up into time for independent work on math, independent work on reading, lunch, and iPad time. The kids showed me how to smash fruit and run through temples, and my random iPad game skills have never been so strong. The best part about the school day was that we all got to sit and work with students individually, helping to monitor their progress and explain new concepts to them. I thought it was so fun and found it to be great practice for next year when I’m teaching math for a living (scary thought).
Other than this fantastic service experience, my group got to explore Kansas City a little bit. We ate at a fantastic barbeque place, walked around Country Club Plaza, played in the snow, and spent a lot of time at Starbucks to fuel our basketball games. ASB is especially awesome because you are in a group of 10-12 people who you (hopefully) have never met. This just meant that at the end of our 8 days together, my group was incredibly close. We keepscheduling reunions and abusing the GroupMe. I’m so bummed that this is my last ASB experience, but it’s definitely one of the best things I ever did at Vandy.
Posted in Alternative Spring Break, College Life, Extracurriculars, Service, Spring Break, Student Life and tagged: Alternative Spring Break, ASB, choosing Vanderbilt, Jungle Gym, Niles Home for Children, Vanderbilt Alternative Spring Break
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