Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Welcome to the Lexington Library Ladies Blog!!

Welcome! We're glad you have found us and hope that you take a little time to look through some of our posts and read about our experiences. This blog is a compilation of all of our adventures at the Lexington Village Branch Library this past semester. The Village Branch Library has a Homework Help Program for children of the community. This gives them an opportunity to come in and get one-on-one help from a volunteer for their assignments and reading. At the beginning of our assignment many of us were unaware how big of an impact volunteering here would have on each of us. Being able to contribute and see, first-hand, the difference we are making in children's lives has been beyond rewarding.

Hi! My name is Sara Dryden and I am a sophomore Human Nutrition major at UK. I have always had a passion for helping others and working with kids. Working with the Village Branch Library has been a wonderful experience for me. I am glad I got to form relationships with the kids here and will definitely be continuing my work in future semesters.

Hello! I am Sydney Sims and I am a Freshman at the University of Kentucky. I have thoroughly enjoyed working at the Homework Help Program at the Lexington Public Library. I have a new experiences every time I volunteer, which is what is so unique about this service learning organization. Volunteering is also something that helped me decide to minor in Spanish over the next few years. Be sure to read my posts to get more information!

Hi! I'm Jordan Kramer and I am a freshman Pre-Nursing major at the University of Kentucky. As you can probably tell from my photo, I love to read, and helping kids with their reading homework was one of my favorite things to do when volunteering at the Lexington Public Library. Helping a native Spanish speaker with his homework has inspired me to continue to improve my Spanish skills by taking Spanish for Medical Professionals next semester.

Hello, my name is Lizzy Cox and I am a freshman at the University of Kentucky. Over this past semester, I have had the opportunity to volunteer at the Lexington Public Library Village Branch. It has been great meeting the kids there, getting to know each of them, and helping them with their homework. Also, working with hispanic children has allowed me to practice speaking Spanish and I am now even more passionate about becoming a fluent Spanish speaker than I was before. It has been a great semester of volunteering! Read my blog to find out more!

Hi, I'm Carol Beth Madden. I am a freshman at the University of Kentucky, and I was assigned the Lexington Public Library for my Service Learning Organization. I really loved working with the children at the Village Branch because, as much as I was supposed to be the one helping them learn, every time I visited the library, they helped me learn so much more. I love working with children, because they bring so much light and happiness and innocence to the conversation. Working at the library was a wonderful fit for me and I most definitely plan to continue volunteering in the future!

Hi, I'm Katy Estes and I'm also a freshman at the University of Kentucky. I picked the Lexington Public Library for my first choice of service learning organization and was thrilled to be placed in it. I loved helping the children in the Village Branch community. For the past year and a half I have discovered the difficulties and benefits of helping and mentoring younger children and I hope to dedicate more of my time with the youth of Lexington in improving their education. I love the Homework Help program at the public library and intend to go back next semester and continue volunteering.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Final Reflection - Katy

As the semester nears its end, so does our time at the Lexington Public Library, at least for the purpose of our CIS112 class. I enjoyed my time greatly and would like to continue tutoring there in the future.
I do believe that the homework help session that the public library offers for students is a great program for the community. Some students really just need a 1-on-1 explanation or help on homework and they are able to get that here.
I wish the library as well as each of the students that I have met a very successful year/ path in education!

Blog Post 6 - Final Video Reflection

Please visit the link to my final video reflection about the Lexington Public Library. 

One of my favorite things about volunteering at the Lexington Public Library was working with the children. They are so sweet and never fail to make you feel special and loved. I would definitely love to continue volunteering there.

My Time at the Library

I really enjoyed my time at the library. Not only all of the fun times, but also, the challenges the semester brought. Volunteering and seeing the difference you are making really gives you a new perspective on things.

Highlights of My Time at the Library

I have thoroughly enjoyed my time volunteering at the Library. Instead of a seeing it as a requirement or grade, I have grown to love going to the Library and working with the kids there. Watch my video above and you will find out why!

Friday, November 27, 2015

The (Not So) Grand Finale

It's been fun volunteering at the LexPubLib, but it had its challenges as well.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Rewarding Work - Katy

During my last visit to the library, I was able to spend 2 hours of my Thursday evening helping students with their homework. Some weeks, there are way more tutors than students and I sit around for periods of time, waiting for a student to seek my help. However, this week I did not sit alone for long. I was able to help 3 students with their homework and listen to another kid read me a story. For some reason, I had the best experience at the library this past week. Though the continuing struggles that I have mentioned before were still prevalent (i.e. literacy gap, language barriers), I found that the kids genuinely wanted help and wanted to do homework. One of the little girls that I helped, she was in 4th grade, was very excited to meet someone from "the University" as she called it. She had many questions for me like: where do you live? what do you eat? where are your classes? She also found many breaks in between assignments to tell me about her own life. It turns out that she loves her family and she ends up being responsible for several of her younger siblings and cousins. As I listened to her tell me about her school and friends and family, I realized that a lot of these kids enjoy Homework Help at the public library so much because they can talk and socialize to older kids. I remember at that age wanting desperately to talk to older kids. I looked up to them. In a way, I think that these kids look up to me as well (though not far because many of them are nearly my height). In fact, the sweetest thing happened towards the end of my 2 hours at the library last Thursday: Just as I was getting ready to leave, two little girls came around to all of the tutors handing out cards with candy taped to them. Mine read "You are so cool!" Although they were given to every tutor there and they were obviously done last minute, I couldn't overlook the sincerity and sweetness in that notion. I felt, once again, that these kids that we are helping look up to us and enjoy spending time with us, even if it is just to do homework.
Card and candy that I was given by two students at the public library.
Although I don't think I would ever be able to go into education for a career, I do think that I have enough patience and understanding capabilities to work with children in some sense. I do like children and I see such a reward in helping them. My mom continues to tell me that she thinks I'll switch my major to education because she is also a teacher and so was my grandmother. Teaching students is "in my blood" as they both claim. I guess we'll have to wait and see.
Education v. Business

Oh the Places You'll Go By: Dr. Seuss

Oh the Places You'll Go

Oh, the Places You'll Go! By: Dr. Seuss, A very popular children's book.
         My time volunteering at the Lexington Public Library is coming to an end. I have loved volunteering during these past weeks and appreciate the opportunity I had to interact and positively influence the lives of young kids in the community. I believe that reading is something that really opens the world of learning. I came across a quote by Tomie dePaola:

“Reading is important, because if you can read, you can learn anything about everything and everything about anything.”

        Reading really is the doorway to some many new experiences. Reading brings you knowledge and enjoyment that can later take you onto higher education and career success. I was talking to the little boy I was helping this past Thursday and I asked him if he liked reading books before bedtime. He told me that he needed to learn to read really well so that he could go to the moon. Turns out he wants to be an astronaut and be the first boy to visit all the planets. Even at his young age he understood how important reading was to accomplish his goals and dreams. He knew he had to be able to read to do well in school and to learn what he must know to be an astronaut.
         In order to remedy the issue of illiteracy we face in our country we must get everyone to understand how important reading is, just as this boy understood. For a while it will take others going out of their way in order to help others spread it through every community and family. But eventually it will become something that is automatically passed down in every family unit, as it should be.

         I remember reading this Dr. Seuss book as a young child. I didn’t fully understand all the symbolism and deep meaning of each word. I just thought it was a story. Now, as I look back I recognize hoe it’s really a story we can all relate to. A story about our limitless potentials and journey through life. I hope that these kids reach their full potential and go to many wonderful places not only in books but also in life.  

Speaking Spanish is Fun

         During my most recent trip to volunteer at the Lexington Public Library, I got to work with a young boy who knew very little English. I did not begin working with him in the customary way in which I would refer to the list of students waiting for help. Instead, his sister, who I had previously helped with homework and even played a few games with, came to me and asked if I could help her little brother. She asked me to help because she knew that I would be able to communicate with him since I had also spoken to her in Spanish before. For homework, the young boy had been assigned a packet of worksheets that varied in subject matter. For example, one page featured addition problems, and the next was a review of important vocabulary words. Also, all the instructions were in Spanish. Doing the homework in Spanish was fun for me but proved to be a challenge as well. At times, the young boy seemed to be confused by the content of the homework even when I was speaking to him in Spanish. Finally, we did manage to finish the entire packet. The completion of his homework was very rewarding to me because I was able to teach the child something in a language that is not my first.

            From working with this little boy and many other Hispanic children at the library, I have realized that I want speaking Spanish to be a major part of my career and something I get to use everyday. As a result, I have decided to double major, one of the majors being Spanish. Prior to volunteering at the library, I had no idea what I wanted to major in or what type of career I would like to have. That is still partially true, as I have not yet decided on the other major that will accompany Spanish, but at least this is a good step in the right direction. I am happy to say that my time at the library has caused me to love speaking Spanish even more than I already did!
a translator working in a court room 

Here is an article that discusses the benefits of being bilingual in many different career fields

The Struggle

This past week was not my favorite session of volunteering, but it did remind me that not every kid has the same attitude about school as others. Many of the kids that I help like school, and know most of what they are doing, but need some supervision to get their work done. However, this boy was different, and was very easily distracted. His mom told me that I should follow him when he goes to pick out a book, or else he won't come back. At the beginning, I kind of brushed that advice off, but I ended up needing it as the kid had disappeared and I had to look for him. I found him playing with the Legos in the children's book section. He was much more interested in building a tower than reading a book and finishing his homework.
Way more fun than homework!
While I understood that, and secretly agreed with him, I knew that I had a job to do. So, I talked to him about the kinds of books he liked to read. He was unwilling to tell me, so I asked him questions instead. Do you like animal books? No? What about adventure books? Not getting a good response from that, I then asked what kind of book he read recently and if he liked it. Finally! A response! He wanted to read a Halloween book. So, I found one off of the shelf and he agreed to read it to me. He refused to go back to the homework help room. I decided that I needed to pick my battles wisely, and I thought that getting him to read the book was more important than reading it in the right place. Therefore, we read it at a table in the children's area, and he brought his tower with him to the table. Once we were settled, he read it without complaining too much.
The Halloween book that he read to me. 
This week was stressful for me, because I have very little experience working with kids, and when I do they are generally cooperative. However, I learned that it is easier to focus on the ultimate goal for the day. I also know that it is important for kids to make their own choices. Being able to choose what kind of book he wanted to read let him know that I was not trying to bore him, but get him more interested in reading. After this, I think I will be better able to handle distracted kids if this issue comes up again next week.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Always Impacting Others

Volunteering at the Library has become somewhat of a routine in terms of planning rides and preparing to complete all of my required hours. However, every time I go, I am reminded that my experience is more than just a requirement for class. No two experiences are alike, which I highly appreciate.
I volunteered at the Library yesterday and had a more stressful experience than usual. I helped a little 7 year old girl with reading, spelling, and math homework. When I first examined the work she needed to complete, I thought it would take 15 minutes at the most, however, she was so talkative and easily distracted that I worked with her for almost the full two hours I was there. She refused to listen when I attempted to bring her attention back to her worksheets. I became frustrated as she would constantly get out of her chair and walk around the room looking for entertainment.
Figure 1: Various books we read beside her math worksheets

I soon started to count down the minutes until I could go home when she hugged my arm and said, “I like you. You are going to be my fourth sister.” I snapped out of my negative attitude and saw how even though the little girl was taking a toll on my patience, I was impacting her life just by helping her with homework and talking to her. I enjoy seeing how children are able to build relationships so easily because of their innocence and openness.

Soon after the little girl told me that, another young girl bashfully walked up to me and handed me a piece of paper. It was a little note that said “You are so nice” with a piece of candy taped to it. I had never helped that girl before, but she had made notes for all of the helpers that were present yesterday. My heart was lifted as I witnessed this small but beautiful act of kindness. My experience yesterday truly made me realize how people can impact others lives without knowing it, like Drew Dudley said in his TED Talk mentioned in my last blog post. I, along with all other students, have the power to be role models, especially for children because they are always watching and absorbing what we do and say.
Figure 2: The note from the little girl with a jolly rancher