My name is Alexis Shulman and I am currently an undeclared major but I am in the College of Arts and Sciences at American University. I am connecting my CSLP hours to my Elementary 1 Spanish class. I am completing my hours at the Latino Student Fund, where I serve as a tutor to a seventh grader on Saturdays and during the week I help out in the office organizing reading books and imputing data from the students into the computers. Typically, when I work with my student I help her with her homework, such as a history project about the Day of the Dead or with her math homework. This is her final year in the program so she does not need as much help as some of the other kids. I also give her weekly spelling tests, all of which she scores 100 percent on. When I joined CSLP, I was looking to give back to the DC community, although I have not been here very long.
I feel that I am making a difference at the Latino Student Fund because of how I have watched my student grow. She has improved a lot since I’ve been volunteering at Latino Student Fund. I enjoy teaching her things like math on one weekend and then seeing her come back the next weekend and tell me how she did on a math test that she had during the week. I was surprised at how much I would actually enjoy doing my volunteer hours. I assumed that I would just be doing them to earn an extra credit for my class but I had no idea how much I would enjoy going every week.
I see connections to my Spanish class because many of the students have parents that have immigrated here from Spanish speaking countries and therefore, speak Spanish at home. Many of these students have parents that sit and wait for the tutoring to be over. Other parents pick their children up directly after. These parents all will speak Spanish to their child and to the director. It is helpful to hear Spanish and be exposed to it every week. I feel that this greatly improves my learning process because, as with every language, it helps to hear it used conversationally and to then be able to learn words because of context clues.
My biggest learning take away is that I feel that I have gained experience working with children and I have gained a better understanding of the Spanish language. Working with my seventh grader has taught me a lot about patience and understanding. I feel that I understand now how to work with children and how to help them gain all the knowledge that they possibly can. Also, hearing the kids speak Spanish with my director and with their parents has helped me gain a better understanding of conversational Spanish and how to use it. I really appreciate the opportunities that the Latino Student Fund has provided me with.