Considering the fact that I’m a Public Health major also pursing a Political Science minor, I would have never imagined I would be doing volunteer work with middle school students on the opposite side of Washington, DC. I’m working with an awesome non-profit organization known as Horton’s Kids! As stated on their website, HortonsKids.org, their mission is to “empower at-risk children in grades K through 12 and prepare them for college, career, and life through educational opportunities and comprehensive programs tailored to their needs.” I get to work with awesome kids from all different grades and help them with their homework, which is especially convenient for them because all of the kids live within the area of the organization. As a volunteer, it is nice to interact with the kids on a personal level and learn more about them, but at the same time help them get through their homework and succeed outside of the classroom!
Going into this experience my expectations were to be tutoring kids and making sure that they are doing well in school. My expectations were relatively simple, and for that they were surpassed immensely. Not only have I been able to help kids with their homework, reading, and other school work, but I am able to learn about how their schooling experience is so much more different than mine was back home in Pennsylvania. I have been able to learn a lot about the different kids I have been working, but I am especially thankful for what they have taught me and what I can reflect upon now in my past.
My social justice writing class has taught me a lot about what to expect while working with students from a failing public school system. First off, the kids are wonderful and it is a downright shame that there are so many problems in the D.C. Public Schools, so none of it is their fault, yet it affects their futures greatly. You don’t understand what is happening until you actually meet the students who are going through it. Compared to the schooling I went through, it is drastically different, which is a terrible thought and reality because every student in this country should be able to have access to a superb education. I can now connect faces to problems that we hear about in class, which makes it so much more real.
We need to be the change in our country in order for things to get better, and being able to volunteer at Horton’s Kids may seem like a grassroots effort, and I love every minute of it! My biggest learning take-away is that things are different depending on the environment you are raised in, and now due to income inequality, educational disparity is a growing issue in our country. All in all, I love working with the kids at Horton’s Kids and I cant wait to go back next week!