Commitment to Service
Marleca – MEC Summer Corps Member
As a previous AmeriCorps member, I understand the value of service. I, now, understand the value of being committed to a mission. This is particularly powerful in times where the challenges presented through service seem unbearable. It is the commitment to service and the people we serve that grounds me and gives me the strength to move forward. My service term thus far has reminded me of all the issues that plague a child’s ability to succeed. We work with kids that live within high stress environments, with parents that are struggling to make ends meet. We work with kids that come to the program with the same clothing that they had on the day prior. We work with kids that struggle with spelling and mathematics. And some days, I leave my service site feeling defeated. I feel defeated that I can’t work with each child individually to understand what their unique academic and social needs are– and work to provide solutions. My heart breaks that I have encountered 2nd graders that cannot add. I am disheartened knowing that many of the MEC summer program students will return to school during the academic year and likely struggle to excel in their academic coursework.
But I also rest in knowing that we are working with kids that have been able to experience more of the world through our program. Some students have been able to do tie-dye for the very first time and eat delicious treats that we have created from scratch. They have done yoga and mindfulness with a Kalamazoo Public Schools teacher. Though I am saddened by some of the realities, I am actively trying to enter their worlds and understand their reality. I am working to build relationships with students and provide a summer experience that will far outlast the program.