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

Blog Post 5 - Let's Read

Link to Video Blog

Working with these wonderful kids is a life changing experience. For more information on other programs the Lexington Public Library has to offer, visit their Events and Classes Webpage.

Monday, November 9, 2015

TED Talk Reflection Video

For more information on Lisa Bu's speech, visit

TED Talk Analysis

I watched a TED Talk entitled “The Fight Against Sex Slavery”, which is one of nine talks included in a playlist called “The Pursuit of Justice”. The talk was given by a forty year old woman from India named Sunitha Krishnan. She presented this talk in November of 2009 in Mysore, India to a TEDIndia audience. I was drawn to a video on this topic because I previously attended a conference that focused on stopping sex trafficking and giving help to its victims.
 Sunitha Krishnan starts out by telling the stories of three very young girls, their ages ranging from three to five years old, who had each been sold into sex trafficking and later rescued. When they were found, they were all HIV positive, and by the time that this talk was given, all three of them had passed away due to this. As a visual aid, Krishnan includes a photo of each of the children. This appeals to the emotion of the audience because it allows them to actually put a name and face with the tragic stories, which makes them more real.

three young girls that were sold into sex trafficking

Later, Krishnan tells her own story. When she was just fourteen years old, she was attacked and raped by eight men. For years after she was raped, she was isolated and treated differently because she was a victim. This experience filled her with anger and gave her a passion for helping other survivors of sex trafficking. As of 2009, she had rescued over 3,200 women and children from sex trafficking. Her personal contact with sex trafficking and her involvement in saving others like her shows the audience that she is a very credible source and has vast knowledge of the topic she is speaking about.
Not only does Sunitha Krishnan work to rescue victims of sex trafficking, but she aids them in assimilating back into normal society as well. The rescues women are trained to be welders, carpenters, security guards, and many others. Many of them work in major construction companies. Visual aids are used again to show the women working in these jobs. This part of the process is very important to Krishnan because it was the isolation after she was attacked that affected her the most. She does not want these girls to have the same experience, but, rather, to flourish in their new skills and be treated normally by the rest of society.
rescued women working for a construction company

           Throughout her entire presentation, Sunitha Krishnan maintains eye contact with the audience and remains confident in her words and gestures. Her tone of voice is soothing, yet powerful. She uses volume, tone, and timing to create different moments in the speech or to emphasize certain parts of it. Also, she employs natural, but stern hand gestures. She points, extends her arms, and holds out her hands. Over all, through the utilization of all of these aspects of her speech, Sunitha Krishnan is able to convey her message very passionately and in a way that compels the audience to listen, to think, and to act.
Sunitha Krishnan speaking passionately