My name is Lily Buthod and I’m a sophomore at AU. I’m a Psychology major with a Spanish minor. This semester I took Child Psychology as a part my major requirements and because I have always loved children and been interested in how they develop. Once I learned that I could add a CSLP credit by volunteering at a site relevant to my Child Psych class, I was excited at the opportunity. After doing some research, I heard about Bright Beginnings, Inc., a preschool for homeless children from as young as 3 months to as old as 4 years old. Bright Beginnings provides a space for these homeless children to develop so they are ready to enter the public school system. After reading this, I realized that Bright Beginnings, Inc. (BBI) had so many of my passions as a part of their mission statement. I wanted to be a part of such a great community.
When I reached out to BBI, their volunteer coordinator told me they were in need of Classroom Teaching Assistants. I was easily able to see myself doing this! I was excited for a hands-on approach to learning more about children and to build relationships with both the children and the other teachers. While volunteering, I did a range of tasks: I would do small tasks like classroom decorating so that the teachers could spend more time teaching, I would play with the kids, and at times I would hold and feed infants.
Before volunteering, I expected to truly enjoy my time at Bright Beginnings, learn more about child development, connect with the other teachers there, and see if working with kids is something I would be interested in doing in the future. After finishing my time at BBI, I can say with confidence that all of my expectations were met. I enjoyed the fact that both teachers and kids remembered me week after week. I so enjoyed seeing the physical, cognitive, and emotional differences between kids just a year or so apart. I adored holding and soothing infants who are so excited to play with someone new. I even liked tapping into my creative side and making door decorations for the classrooms!
I was surprised at how natural it felt to interact with children. While I have babysat and nannied over the years, I have never had to worry about watching fifteen or so kids at once. I was also pleasantly surprised at how easy making connections with the teachers and children was. I was so excited to have a hands-on experience to learn more about child development. I saw so many concepts through these children, such as physical milestones (like walking and using a spoon to eat) and emotional milestones (like expressing one’s feelings).
I am so grateful for my semester at Bright Beginnings, Inc. I was able to learn so much while working for a cause that is so important to me. I was also able to see that my major in Psychology is truly something I want to do and that working with children is something I am very interested in. I will miss everyone I met at BBI, but hopefully I’ll be able to come back soon!