8th Street Community Church E.S.P.M.
I volunteered at a six week summer program in West Philadelphia called E.P.S.M. (Eighth Street Peace Makers) during my junior and senior year of high school. Its purpose was to teach neighborhood children in academics during the summer and promote non-violence within the community.
My duties were to instruct approximately 30 students from grade 3-10 Math and English, and supervise weekly field trips.
Initially I thought it would be quite difficult; the culture and age differences of the community in the city made creating a relationship with the students seem like a daunting task. To my surprise, the students immediately embraced me and took me in without prejudice.
Although I thought I would be teaching the students, by the end of my six weeks, it was the students that taught me. I learned patience in the most difficult situations, and to have an open mind for other people’s opinions. I learned the challenges of how to be respected as leader, loved as a friend, and how to openly communicate with people in all stages of life. I still keep in contact with the director, and I would encourage anyone who has a love for children and the city to volunteer in this great opportunity!
Here is a snippet of what we did during the program: E.S.P.M.
Emmanuel Presbyterian Church VBS
Throughout my high school years, I volunteered my summers at a VBS (Vacation Bible School) located in West Philadelphia. With over 80 students participating from K-8th grade, it was a very demanding job that required high energy.
During the week of June, I would arrive at the site at 8 in the morning, and leave around 10:00-11:00 at night. For the three years I have volunteered, I took on two different roles: Dinner chef and bible memory verse teacher.
Both roles brought entirely different and unique challenges: learning how to manage my time for each class, seeing what worked and what didn’t, and connecting with students in different environments.
Volunteering at Emmanuel VBS helped give me a big picture perspective in my work and why it is important that I do the best I can. This skill set helped me perform with a perspective of how each person’s duties positively or negatively affects the goal of a project, class, or company’s goals.