At the beginning of the semester I has no idea what to expect from this class. I had read the syllabus and felt semi confident that I had it in the bag, until the first day of class and the talk of “service learning” came into play. I was excited and nervous at the same time, I wasn’t use to having that much freedom in a college course. We formed our groups quickly and I was on the ball to emailing Rosemary from the Peter Paul Development Center. http://rampages.us/allenen/79-2/
Not all of our group members could meet with Rosemary at the same time, but little did we know that was the least of our worries. We decided to meet in two groups rather than drag our feet waiting for everyone to somehow come up with the same availability. After the meeting I was amped to start making a difference in the community so my group members and I started brain storming ideas. We first thought of foods around the world, an activity where each member picks a country and brings a certain foreign food for the kids to taste. The idea sounded great until we started over thinking it and couldn’t get all of our group members on board. Then the distribution center came into the picture, a few group members volunteered there and we all collaborated in making recipes cards. http://rampages.us/allenen/food-distribution/
During this time, everything started to become more frustrating. We were pitching various ideas out to see what Rosemary would want us to do. We knew she didn’t want us taking pictures of the kids nor did she want us helping out on the social media side so when every other group was working on their great social media ideas, we were at a sense lost for words. I don’t really understand how an organization wouldn’t want to promote the good that they are doing for their community or even take pictures of how happy the kids are to be there. I believe that all of this would help lift that community and maybe bring them out of the rut they are suffering through. It would show other people outside of that community that Church Hill has students that are trying to advance and make a better life for themselves by going to this development center straight after 8 hours of regular schooling. Needless to say, our group was starting to loss hope and determination in trying to help this organization being that Rosemary acted as if we were a bother when we contacted her through emails. But being such strong individuals that we all are, all of my group members continued to pitch ideas especially around Halloween. We sent Rosemary an email asking her if we could do something for the kids for Halloween such as make pumpkin rice krispy treats or paint pumpkins with them. She completely looked pass the rice krispy treat idea and jumped on the pumpkin idea which was great, but then alerted us that we needed to get around 80 pumpkins. http://rampages.us/allenen/halloween-frustrations/
Who would have even expected anyone much less college students to buy 80 pumpkins?! I know we have probably ran this in the ground, but it was something that upset each and every one of us. Why couldn’t we work with one grade level or even bring one big pumpkin in and let each kid paint on it then set it outside of Peter Paul to show everyone’s collaborated art work? These are just things that confused me and made me think twice about the ideas that I had to pitch. At this point, we already had Rosemary expecting us to do something for Halloween so Keondra and I went to Peter Paul on Halloween day and volunteered some time. http://rampages.us/allenen/halloween-party-at-peter-paul/
We had no idea what we were going to do, but we felt obligated at that point. Rosemary quickly assigned us to the coloring pages table and told us to wait until the kid arrived. We waited for about 30 minutes then the students started rolling in to have pizza that Peter Paul bought for them. So we waited a little longer, then the kids were assigned groups and rotated from table to table. It was a fun experience to say the least, but didn’t have much to do with Halloween which was a little disappointing.
The kids I came into contact with were extremely nice, but in the back of my head I remember Rosemary telling us not to get too attached with any of them, in which I found myself doing. I do not understand how anyone can work with any living being and not form some sort of attachment to them. That makes me think that Rosemary doesn’t communicate or interact much with the kids. All of the teachers who were there seemed to be attached to at least one other kid, so I kind of feel like Rosemary didn’t trust us from the start which is no way to conduct an organization that people can volunteer at. I never felt a decent connection with Rosemary like I had expected from the start which could have been why things did not pan out as we all had hoped. Towards the end of the semester as we were doing our makes, no one felt comfortable enough sending Rosemary any of our creations even though we had some interesting ones. Along with my food desert make that is a detailed description of how people in Church Hill can get to Farm Fresh if they do not have a vehicle. http://rampages.us/allenen/food-desert/
I even made a video of a healthy and simple recipe idea that the kids could make at home with bananas as long as they weren’t allergic to peanut butter. http://youtu.be/3ohCZCfLKqI
All in all, I wasn’t too happy with the way everything panned out at Peter Paul. I would have hoped to be more interactive and actually make some sort of difference in that community or even in one child’s life. Even though my service learning didn’t go as planned, I am very fortunate to have worked with 5 amazing group members who were just about as determined as I am, if not more to make some sort of difference. They all offered so much to our group as a whole and contributed great ideas that I would have never thought of. It is crazy how close you become with people by working in groups and how much knowledge you obtain from each member. Walking away from this class, I can feel more confident working with people who are complete strangers one minute and close friends the next. I have a much better understanding of the real world work force and is prepared for whatever the future may bring!