My name is Quincy Stein and I am a Sophomore at AU. I did a lot of community service work with children in high school and entering this year of college I knew I wanted to get back to that, so I signed up to be a part of DC Reads. DC Reads is a group that places college students with elementary and middle school students in the area who are behind grade level on reading. I chose to tutor at CentroNía in Columbia Heights which has a population of primarily bilingual students. Because I was already taking Spanish to fulfill my language requirement for my SIS major I decided to link DC Reads and my Spanish class with the CSLP program.
Though I have taken Spanish through high school, and have an interest in becoming fluent, Spanish has always been an incredibly difficult subject for me. I was terrified going into my Intermediate Spanish class this semester, and so the prospect of volunteering in Spanish was daunting. Despite this original hesitation, I am very glad I decided to go through with it. I have always loved teaching and giving back so going to CentroNía twice a week was the highlight of my semester. Yes, the language barrier was sometimes a problem, and it was uncomfortable to use my Spanish, but I made it work. I had an opportunity to practice the concepts I learned during the day, and having that extra space to practice my Spanish and gain confidence and helped me in class. In my Spanish class beyond working on grammar and vocabulary, we learned about politics, culture, immigration and some of the issues that face Latin American countries and the Hispanic population within the U.S. Though my work with my students mainly focused on reading and their homework, it felt reassuring during this frustrating time in politics to feel like I was making a difference, even if it was just a small one.
Overall, being a part of the CSLP program gave me an energy I brought back to my class, helped me improve my Spanish, and gave me joy every time I went to tutor. I am happy with my decision to link volunteer service and my academics because I think it gave me a fresh perspective on tutoring and on my role as a student myself.